ASCoT: South Dakota events preview

Jason Johnson's ASCS Perfection in South Dakota On the Line Next Week! TULSA, Okla. (June 18, 2008) -- The state of South Dakota is a long way from Jason Johnson's Eunice, Louisiana home. In fact, it's roughly 1,100 miles from Eunice to the...

Jason Johnson's ASCS Perfection in South Dakota On the Line Next Week!

TULSA, Okla. (June 18, 2008) -- The state of South Dakota is a long way from Jason Johnson's Eunice, Louisiana home. In fact, it's roughly 1,100 miles from Eunice to the Sioux Falls vicinity to be somewhat more precise.

No matter though, as "The Ragin' Cajun" has felt right at home in American Sprint Car Series competition within South Dakota's borders over the past two years, racing to victory lane four times in as many tries.

That improbable streak is on the line next week with the final two legs of the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series Northern Swing at Hartford's I-90 Speedway on Tuesday night (June 24) and then Huron's Dakota State Fair Speedway on Saturday night (June 28).

The O'Reilly ASCoT National forces will by bolstered by the ASCS Northern Plains Regional contenders at both South Dakota events next week. ohnson's stretch of South Dakota domination aboard Lanny Row's Wesmar-powered The Shop Motorsports No. 41 Eagle began in June 2006 with a drive from six rows deep to top the ASCS Northern Plains Region at I-90 Speedway before besting an ASCS Midwest vs. Northern Plains showdown at Park Jefferson Speedway two nights later.

Then last year, as I-90 Speedway and Huron's Dakota State Fair Speedway hosted ASCoT National events for the first time, Johnson once again found South Dakota in June to his liking. Johnson made it two wins in as many tries at I-90 Speedway by taking the winner's hardware after apparent victor Sam Hafertepe, Jr., rolled across the scales below the minimum required weight. Johnson then put the wraps on the 2007 edition of the Northern Swing by fending off a feverish late-race bid from the unrelated Wayne Johnson at Dakota State Fair Speedway.

Continued dominance of South Dakota clay could bolster Johnson's $50,000 O'Reilly ASCoT championship hopes, as he enters the three-race Northern Swing 38 points in arrears to four-time and reigning series champion Gary Wright of Hooks, TX, and just a dozen points ahead of Oklahoma City's Wayne Johnson.

While Johnson is chasing a potential first title, Wright is bidding for an unprecedented fifth consecutive ASCS National title and Wayne Johnson shoots for a second crown after snaring National honors in 2000.

The number of past ASCS National champions bidding for another $50,000 title in 2008 is bumped to five with the inclusion of 2001 ace Zach Chappell (Talala, OK), 2003 champ Travis Rilat (Forney, TX) and 1992 kingpin Garry Lee Maier (Cimarron, KS). The trio of Chappell, Rilat and Maier are ranked fourth through sixth, respectively, entering the opening leg of the ASCoT Northern Swing this Friday night at Knoxville, IA, with the pair of South Dakota events to follow.

Other National contenders expected to take in all three legs of the ASCoT Northern Swing, including the pair of South Dakota events, are 2006 series Rookie of the Year Nick Smith (Broken Arrow, OK), leading 2008 Rookie of the Year contender Eric Baldaccini (Keller, TX), Kenneth Walker (Sapulpa, OK), 17-year-old Kathryne Minter (Bedford, TX), Chris Tarrant (Greenville, TX), 18-year-old Jack Dover (Springfield, NE), 20-year-old Donnie Ray Crawford (Broken Arrow, OK) and the Broken Arrow, OK, No. 97 entry with either Lake Ozark Speedway ASCoT winner Aaron Berryhill or past ASCS Sooner Region champion Sean McClelland at the wheel.

Reigning ASCS Northern Plains Region champion Lee Grosz of Harwood, ND, will try to defend his home territory along with a number of other top Northern Plains Regional contenders.

The Series: O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour (ASCoT)

When & Where:
Tuesday night, June 24 -- I-90 Speedway at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday night, June 28 -- Dakota State Fair Speedway at 8:00 p.m.

Track Information:
I-90 Speedway (Hartford, SD) -- 3/8-mile, high-banked dirt oval located three miles west of Hartford on SR 38. For more information, contact the track at 605-528-6380.

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. For more information, contact the track at 605-352-4848.

The O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series is currently slated for 42 nights of racing action at 22 different tracks throughout a dozen different states, with more than $1,000,000 in purse money and point fund to be distributed during the 2008 season.

The nation's most prominent Sprint Car sanctioning body with a dozen different Regions throughout the United States in addition to the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series, the American Sprint Car Series' (ASCS) 17th year of activity will include approximately 250 nights of racing at more than 100 different race tracks throughout 28 different states and Canada.

Additional information regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.

-credit: ascs

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Series Sprint
Drivers Aaron Berryhill , Travis Rilat , Nick Smith , Wayne Johnson , Donnie Ray Crawford , Chris Tarrant , Jason Johnson , Sean McClelland