ASCS Northern Plains Speedweek Fires Off Saturday TULSA, Okla. (June 11, 2007) -- The inaugural American Sprint Car Series Northern Plains Speedweek kicks off this Saturday night as the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour ...
ASCS Northern Plains Speedweek Fires Off Saturday
TULSA, Okla. (June 11, 2007) -- The inaugural American Sprint Car Series Northern Plains Speedweek kicks off this Saturday night as the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series takes to the semi-banked, 0x00bd-mile Crawford County Speedway dirt oval in Denison, IA, on Saturday night.
Saturday's card at Crawford County Speedway marks the first of four stops on the ASCS Northern Plains Speedweek, with ensuing events at I-90 Speedway in Hartford, SD, on Tuesday, June 19, North Central Speedway in Brainerd, MN, on June 20, and then the finale at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, SD, on June 23.
All four tracks are new territory for the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series, as it will be the first time the series has visited any of the tracks.
The National forces will be joined by the ASCS Northern Plains Regional contenders at all four events, with the ASCS Midwest Regional forces also taking part in Saturday night's event at Crawford County Speedway.
The critical four-race set will have a significant bearing on the $50,000 National championship points race, which has only 63 points separating the top three drivers right now, as well as sort out both the Midwest and Northern Plains point chases.
Three-time and reigning series champion Gary Wright of Hooks, TX, who enters ASCS Northern Plains Speedweek with 112 career ASCS National Tour feature wins, had amassed a nearly 100-point advantage before missing a feature event at Pennsylvania's Susquehanna Speedway Park on May 24.
As a result, Wright, who has collected a series-best six wins this year, found his lead trimmed back to just 28 markers over 2000 ASCS National champion Wayne Johnson of Oklahoma City. Johnson, with a pair of National wins to his credit this season, enters this four-race set riding a stretch of five consecutive top-five feature finishes and a strong East Coast Tour.
The third major player in the championship points battle is "The Ragin' Cajun", Jason Johnson of Eunice, LA. With three wins thus far in 2007 after collecting nine National wins in 2006, Johnson is just 63 points out of the lead entering Saturday's card. Johnson had closed to within 41 markers of Wright before giving up some ground following a crash while dicing for the lead in the series most recent event at Virginia Motor Speedway on May 24.
Also ranked solidly among the top-five entering ASCS Northern Plains Speedweek are Travis Rilat of Forney, TX, and Darren Stewart of Bixby, OK. Rilat picked up a pair of wins during the East Coast Tour to stay within 117 points of Wright, while Stewart holds on to fifth following a spate of misfortune then included three consecutive DNF's to wrap up the Eastern Tour.
Also making the trip Northward will be battling Brodix Rookie of the Year trio that includes Foster Landon of Collinsville, OK, Andy Shouse of Oklahoma City, OK, and Chris Schmelzle of Victoria, BC, Canada.
The National Tour shoes will face plenty of tough competition on their journey to the North, led by reigning ASCS Northern Plains Region champion Chuck Swenson of Watertown, SD, who sets his sights on a first career National Tour triumph.
Other top ASCS Midwest shoes expected for Saturday night include Don Droud, Jr., Rick Ideus, Mike Chadd and defending champion Toby Chapman, with the week-long Northern Plains contingent including the likes of Wade Nygaard, Curt Lund, Lee Grosz, Dusty Ballenger, Eric Lutz, Gregg Bakker and Natalie Sather among others.
The Series:O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour (ASCoT)
When & Where:ASCS Northern Plains Speedweek:
Round 1 - Saturday night, June 16 -- Crawford County Speedway (Denison, IA)
Monday night, June 18 -- Kick-Off Party at parking lot of Oak Hotel in Sioux Falls, SD
Round 2 - Tuesday night, June 19 at 8:00 p.m. -- Interstate Auto Centers I-90 Speedway (Hartford, SD)
Round 3 - Wednesday night, June 20 -- North Central Speedway (Brainerd, MN)
Round 4 - Saturday night, June 23 -- Dakota State Fair Speedway (Huron, SD)
Crawford County Speedway (Denison, IA) -- 0x00bd-mile semi-banked dirt oval located 0.6 miles north of US 30 on US 59, then 0.6 miles northeast on SR 39. Track phone: 712-263-2033 or 712-677-9912.
Interstate Auto Centers I-90 Speedway (Hartford, SD) -- 3/8-mile high-banked dirt oval located three miles west of Hartford, SD, on SR 38. Track phone: 605-528-6380.
North Central Speedway (Brainerd, MN) -- 3/8-mile slightly banked dirt oval located six miles south of Brainerd on SR 371, then 0.5 miles north on BR 371. Track phone: 218-828-1545 or 218-330-9097.
Dakota State Fair Speedway (Huron, SD) -- 3/8-mile semi-banked dirt oval located just south of US 14 on the northwest edge of Huron. Track phone: 605-352-4848.
O'Reilly ASCoT Crawford County Speedway History:
The series joins forces with the ASCS Midwest and Northern Plains Regions as the First Annual Northern Plains Speedweek fires off with the series first stop at Crawford County Speedway. The lightning-fast Denison oval marks the fourth of eleven new tracks for the series in 2007 and the first track in the state of Iowa other than Knoxville to host the ASCS National Tour.
The Regional shoes got a pair of looks at Crawford County Speedway in 2006, with Missouri's Brian Brown victorious on June 16 and then North Dakota's Wade Nygaard nabbing victory honors on July 21.
Crawford County Speedway O'Reilly ASCoT Race-by-race Winners: None -- first event.
O'Reilly ASCoT I-90 Speedway History:
The ASCS National Tour invades South Dakota for just the second time in series history and the first time since Daryn Pittman collected his second career ASCS National Tour win at Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City on August 8, 1998.
Promoter Lyle Howey will kick things off on a festive note with a Kick-Off Party the night before at the Oaks Hotel in nearby Sioux Falls.
Louisiana's Jason Johnson and Canada's Chris Schmelzle are the only National Tour contenders that have had a previous look at I-90 Speedway.JJohnson scored a dramatic Regional win at I-90 last June with Schmelzle posting a fifth-place Northern Plains run in August. The rest of the National Tour contenders will be getting their first look at I-90.
Meanwhile, the Regional racers have had several looks at the Speedway.JDusty Zomer zoomed to a Midwest Region score at I-90 in 2005, while last year Chuck Swenson marched toward the Northern Plains Region title with a July victory and Bryan Dobesh won in August following Johnson's June score.
I-90 Speedway O'Reilly ASCoT Race-by-race Winners: None -- first event.
O'Reilly ASCoT North Central Speedway History:
The third consecutive new stop and fifth in the last six events for the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series marks the first time the National forces have invaded Minnesota, which becomes the 22nd different state to host the National Tour.
New territory for most, the ASCS Northern Plains reps could have the upper hand after three outings at North Central Speedway last year.JChuck Swenson was a July 1 winner before Curt Lund and Dustin Lindquist split Mighty Axe Nationals honors over Labor Day weekend.
North Central Speedway O'Reilly ASCoT Race-by-Race Winners: None -- first event.
O'Reilly ASCoT Dakota State Fair Speedway:
It's back to South Dakota to put the wraps on the First Annual Northern Plains Speedweek with the fourth consecutive new venue for the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour.
Typically hosting one or two Sprint specials each year, defending ASCS Northern Plains Region champ Chuck Swenson won at Dakota State Fair Speedway in 2005 while current ASCS Midwest Region point leader Don Droud, Jr., posted a Huron win in 1999.
Dakota State Fair Speedway O'Reilly ASCoT Race-by-Race Winners: None -- first event.
Current O'Reilly ASCoT Points (After 16 of 45 Nights):
Top Fifteen: 1. Gary Wright (Hooks, TX) 1,968, 2. Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK) 1,940, 3. Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA) 1,905, 4. Travis Rilat (Forney, TX) 1,851, 5. Darren Stewart (Bixby, OK) 1,781, 6. Foster Landon (Collinsville, OK) 1,658, 7. Andy Shouse (Oklahoma City, OK) 1,559, 8. Chris Schmelzle (Victoria, BC) 1,318, 9. Johnny Miller (Burleson, TX) 1,047, 10. Nick Smith (Broken Arrow, OK) 832, 11. Garry Lee Maier (Cimarron, KS) 766, 12. Kenneth Walker (Sapulpa, OK) 758, 13. Danny Jennings (Norman, OK) 756, 14. Kevin Ramey (Forth Worth, TX) 713, 15. (tie) Gavin Punch (Collinsville, OK) and Eric Baldaccini (Keller, TX) 670.
2007 O'Reilly ASCoT Feature Winners:
Gary Wright 6, Jason Johnson 3, Wayne Johnson 2, Travis Rilat 2, Chuck Hebing 1, Terry McCarl 1, Jake Peters 1.
O'Reilly ASCoT -- A Look Ahead:
June 30 Lucas Oil Speedway (Wheatland, MO)
July 3 Missouri State Fair Speedway (Sedalia, MO)
July 4 Double X Speedway (California, MO)
July 7 Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
*July 13 Tri-State Speedway (Pocola, OK)
*July 14 I-30 Speedway (Little Rock, AR)
*July 16 Creek County Speedway (Sapulpa, OK)
*July 19 Devil's Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)
*July 20 State Fair Speedway (Oklahoma City, OK)
*July 21 Lawton Speedway (Lawton, OK)
* - Denotes 15th Annual ASCS Sizzlin' Summer Speedweek events
The O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series is currently slated for 44 nights of racing action at 23 different tracks throughout 15 different states, with more than $1,000,000 in purse money and point fund to be distributed during the 2007 season.
The 2007 season marks the 16th year of sanctioning Sprint Car racing for the American Sprint Car Series. With 13 different Regions in addition to the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series, ASCS will sanction approximately 240 nights of racing at more than 100 different race tracks throughout at least 30 different states and Canada.Additional information regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.