SWS: Two Las Vegans hope to win Tour event

LAS VEGAS - In 1999, Las Vegas' Kurt Busch charged from deep in the field to win the annual StarNursery.com 250 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This Saturday night, local drivers Chuck Trickle and Michael Ayers hope to make it...

LAS VEGAS - In 1999, Las Vegas' Kurt Busch charged from deep in the field to win the annual StarNursery.com 250 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This Saturday night, local drivers Chuck Trickle and Michael Ayers hope to make it two straight for Las Vegans when the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series makes its first stop ever at the newly-configured Bullring at LVMS. But the task facing Ayers and Trickle is much steeper than Busch's from a year ago. Busch went on to win the season championship on the Southwest Tour and posted six feature wins. Ayers hasn't raced on the Southwest Tour since 1989, and this will be Trickle's first Tour start ever. "I really think one of us can win," said Ayers, who will be driving a car owned by Steve Rzesnowiecky of Las Vegas. "Even though I haven't raced the tour in more than 10 years, I am very comfortable with the track. I think the fact that I have raced here this year should give me an advantage." Trickle will be racing with a heavy heart this weekend. He will be driving the car once raced on the Southwest Tour by his late son Chris. Chris Trickle, who in 1996 won his only career Southwest Tour event at the old Las Vegas Speedway Park, died in 1998 as a victim of a drive-by shooting one year earlier. "Chris raced this car on Feb. 2, 1997, and it was the last race he ever ran," Trickle said. "This is the same car we used to carry his casket to the funeral. This is just a special one-time deal and I'm doing it for Chris." Both Trickle and Ayers face two major challenges heading into Saturday night's event. With no provisional spots available to them, they both need to qualify for one of the first 24 spots based on their time or hope to finish in the top two in a special qualifying race. "I like our chances of getting in the race," Ayers said. "We've tested here and our lap times are very good. I think familiarity with the track will help." Once in the field, they both will have to be ready for green-flag pit stops.

"I don't think that will be a problem," Trickle said. "I have the same guys that used to pit Chris' car when he ran the Tour. I think we may have one of the cars to beat."

Local drivers Dick Cobb, who is the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Sunbelt Region champion, and Steve Anderson were planning on running Saturday's event but have decided not to compete.

The StarNursery.com 250 Presented by Desert Orthopaedic Centers is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Saturday. In addition to the Southwest Tour event, there will be an MSRA Pro 4 Late Model event and a fireworks show. Gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying scheduled for 5 p.m. Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and military and children 6-12 are $10. Race fans can receive $5 off the admission price by picking up a coupon at the T-Bird Lounge on Eastern Ave. or by visiting one of the three City Stop Convenience Stores.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Kurt Busch