ASCoT: Mesquite preview

Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals on Tap for O'Reilly ASCoT This Weekend! TULSA, Okla. (March 10, 2008) -- All eyes shift towards the Lone Star state this weekend as the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series invades Mesquite, TX, for...

Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals on Tap for O'Reilly ASCoT This Weekend!

TULSA, Okla. (March 10, 2008) -- All eyes shift towards the Lone Star state this weekend as the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series invades Mesquite, TX, for two full nights of racing action with the 35th Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals this Friday and Saturday.

After kicking off the season just over a month ago at Tampa's East Bay Raceway Park, this weekend's event atop the storied 0x00bd-mile Devil's Bowl Speedway clay oval marks the continuance of the $50,000 ASCoT National championship chase.

And while it was Louisiana's Jason Johnson coming away with the $10,000 victory over a field of 56 entries at East Bay Raceway Park on February 2, it was four-time and reigning champion Gary Wright of Hooks, TX, escaping the three-night event with the slimmest of point leads.

Wright leads the way into this weekend's action at Devil's Bowl with a one-point advantage over Johnson, who swept the Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals last October.

Wright rides a wave of momentum into the event with 16 consecutive top-five finishes in ASCS National Tour action, dating back to July of 2007. Tied with the previous mark that he established in 2005, "The Texan" can set a new standard with a top-five finish in Friday night's preliminary feature, from which the top four will be locked into Saturday night's Spring Nationals championship main event.

Wright has claimed podium finishes in 15 of those 16 events, finishing outside the top three on just one occasion while collecting a half dozen wins, six runner-up finishes and three third-place finishes. Wright opened the 2008 season with a pair of second-place finishes and a third-place run at East Bay.

While Wright has collected 16 of his 119 career ASCS National Tour victories at Devil's Bowl Speedway, he has not claimed Spring Nationals victory honors since 1995 when he joined a prestigious list of event winners that includes the likes of Jan Opperman, Steve Kinser, Doug Wolfgang and Sammy Swindell among others.

Denied Spring Nationals honors, Wright did reach ASCoT victory lane at Devil's Bowl last year on a pair of occasions, including the Texas portion of the Red River Shootout in May and then a Sizzlin' Summer Speedweek score in July.

After consecutive runner-up point rankings in both 2006 and 2007, Jason Johnson looks to climb one position in 2008 after opening the season with the big East Bay win and then adding a recent Gulf South Region victory as well. After winning the Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals prelim in 2006, "The Ragin' Cajun" swept both nights of the Winter Nationals event last year.

The 2006 Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals champion, 2002 ASCS champ Travis Rilat of Forney, TX, continues his pursuit of another series crown after top-five runs in all three nights of East Bay action, with other past ASCS National champions Zach Chappell (Talala, OK), Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK) and Garry Lee Maier (Cimarron, KS) each in the 2008 title chase as well.

Others contending for 2008 championship honors include the rookie crop of Don Droud, Jr. (Lincoln, NE), Eric Baldaccini (Keller, TX), Kathryne Minter (Bedford, TX), Gary Taylor (Sapulpa, OK) and Kenneth Walker (Sapulpa, OK).

South Dakota's Jake Peters reigns as the defending Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals champion by fending off Jason Johnson just one night after Wayne Johnson topped the preliminary, with other recent Spring Nationals winners including Fort Worth's Kevin Ramey (2006) and Norman, Oklahoma's Danny Jennings (2005).

A host of other top contenders from throughout the nation will be on hand for the weekend's action as well, with approximately 50 entries expected to fill the pit area.

-credit: ascs

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Series Sprint
Drivers Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Danny Jennings , Wayne Johnson , Kevin Ramey , Gary Taylor , Jason Johnson