The Long Road Tony Stewart Racing's Jones, Hines Prepare for USAC Sprint Series Showdown at Manzanita Speedway INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 5, 2008) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) USAC driving duo of Levi Jones and Tracy Hines is set to make its ...
The Long Road
Tony Stewart Racing's Jones, Hines Prepare for USAC Sprint Series Showdown at Manzanita Speedway
INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 5, 2008) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) USAC driving duo of Levi Jones and Tracy Hines is set to make its final push in USAC National Sprint Car Series competition this weekend at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix. The two-day Western World Championships at the half-mile facility will also serve as Jones' last run at the series title as he looks to wrap up his third national championship.
Kicking off the week will be Thursday's Copper World Classic featuring the USAC Midget Series at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) in nearby Avondale, Ariz. Jones finished 32nd at the one-mile facility on Nov. 8, 2007. Hines followed him to the line in 35th place. The TSR duo will also compete in the USAC K&N Silver Crown Series event at PIR on Thursday night. The 2008 season marks the first time since 2005 that TSR has taken part in the full USAC Silver Crown Series schedule. Hines' last appearance at PIR, on Jan. 30, 2005, resulted in a second-place finish in Silver Crown competition. Jones has only made one series start at PIR in his career. He was credited with an 18th-place finish on March 21, 2004.
On Friday and Saturday, TSR will return to the half-mile dirt oval of Manzanita Speedway. Jones is second in the USAC National Sprint Series championship standings heading into this weekend's finale, only 89 markers behind series leader Jerry Coons, Jr. Jones, who has won two USAC Sprint Series events this year, will look to put his name in the record books as a three-time series champion on Friday and Saturday. In his last appearance at the facility, on Nov. 10, 2007, Jones finished 23rd.
Hines will look to extend his lead in the Midget series championship at PIR on Thursday. Should he capture this year's championship, it would be his first national series title. He leads the series standings with 1,165 points. Jones and Hines have both won one USAC Midget Series feature this year, with TSR taking wins at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway and Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wis. Hines also stands fourth in the USAC Sprint Series championship standings with 1,102 points.
Thursday's USAC Midget event at PIR will feature a 25-lap race. The Silver Crown feature will be 100 miles in length. Gates will open at 10 a.m. PST with practice scheduled to begin at the same time. Qualifications for the USAC Midget Series will be held at 1:30 p.m., followed by Silver Crown practice at 3 p.m. Racing is slated to begin at 7 p.m. The official Web site of PIR is www.phoenixinternationalraceway.com.
For Friday and Saturday's events at Manzanita Speedway, pit gates will open at 11 a.m. PST daily. Grandstand gates will open at 5 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday. Racing is scheduled to begin each night at 7:30 p.m. For ticket information, please call 602-276-7575. The official Web site of Manzanita Speedway is www.manzanitaspeedway.us.
Levi Jones, driver of the No. 20 TSR/Chevy/Spike -- USAC National Midget Series, the No. 20 TSR/Chevy/Maxim -- USAC National Sprint Series, and the No. 10 TSR/Chevy/Beast -- USAC Silver Crown Series
With four races in three days scheduled for this week, as well as the USAC National Sprint Series title on the line, how do you prepare for such an active week of racing?
"You take it one day at a time. Obviously, with the Midget event at PIR on Thursday, we've been really focused on making sure the pavement car is ready to go. We're also looking forward to the final Silver Crown Series event at PIR that night, as well. It's been a long road to get to this point of the season and we're looking forward to ending the Silver Crown schedule on a good note.
"While you want to win every time you get on the track -- that's what we're there to do -- you also have to make sure you take care of the points. I've always been a believer that if you win and finish well throughout the season, the points will take care of themselves. But heading into this weekend, I'll have to rely on my experience to know how to help myself out as the nights come to play. We're heading into Manzanita with an 89-point deficit to cut into and I know that we're going to give it our best shot.
"With the boss (Tony Stewart, team owner) and a group of Chevy representatives in town for the NASCAR event at PIR this weekend, it would be great to not only put TSR in victory lane, but to be able to present them with the 2008 USAC Sprint Series title and hopefully a win a two."
Tracy Hines, driver of the No. 21 TSR/Chevy/Spike -- USAC National Midget Series, and the No. 21 TSR/Chevy/Maxim -- USAC National Sprint Series, and the No. 22 TSR/Chevy/Beast -- USAC Silver Crown Series
You are only two races away from winning your first USAC National Midget Series title. Will you be more focused on the bigger picture and winning the title, or finishing in the top-five in all three divisions?
"Thursday's USAC Midget Series race at PIR will definitely be on our list of priorities for the weekend. We got one of our Chevy Midget engines back today and the No. 21 team has put it in the car. Chevy's engineering staff has been working really hard to give us a great engine and I am looking forward to getting on the track with it on Thursday. It's shown that it will be a great piece and I know that it could be a huge benefit for us at the one-mile track.
"Heading into Manzanita on Friday and Saturday, we'll be looking to move forward as much as possible in the USAC Sprint Series standings. We're solidly in fourth place and I think that we could potentially move ahead another one or two positions if we're able to have two really good nights.
"If we can move into the top-five in the USAC Silver Crown Series standings with a strong run at PIR on Thursday, it would be a great way to end the season. Right now, we're just out of the top-five in the standings. If we stay out of trouble, qualify well and put ourselves in position to finish well each night, I think it's very feasible for us to finish in the top-five in both the USAC Sprint and Silver Crown Series final standings."
For complete results from this weekend's USAC National Midget & Sprint Series events, log on to www.usacracing.com. For information regarding Stewart, TSR or Chevy, log on to www.tonystewartracing.com or www.Chevy.com.