Devil's Bowl: Winter Nationals preview

Devil's Bowl Hosts ASCS National Tour Opener this Weekend TULSA, Okla. (March 14, 2005) -- The O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores fires into action for the 2005 season with...

Devil's Bowl Hosts ASCS National Tour Opener this Weekend

TULSA, Okla. (March 14, 2005) -- The O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores fires into action for the 2005 season with the 32nd Annual Devil's Bowl Speedway Winter Nationals in Mesquite, TX, this Friday and Saturday night.

Defending series champion Gary Wright of Hooks, TX, leads what is expected to be a large contingent of cars from throughout the country into this weekend's Spring Nationals atop the famed high-banked, half-mile black clay Devil's Bowl oval.

Wright, who has posted a series best 90 career feature victories, claimed the '04 National title by 166 markers over Forney, TX, shoe Travis Rilat to become the fifth different ASCS National champion in as many years. Rilat, who edged Wright by a dozen points for the series championship in 2003, will be back to vie for his second title as well.

Other drivers expected to contend for the 2005 O'Reilly ASCS National Tour championship include Oklahoma drivers Darren Stewart and Jimmy Taylor, Missouri shoes Toby Brown and Eric Jobe, Memphis-area drivers A.G. Rains, Jan Howard and Lee Sowell, Kansan Tony Bruce, Jr., Texan Sam Hafertepe, Jr., and South Dakota's Natalie Sather.

Stewart enters the '05 season coming off two consecutive top-five ASCS National points rankings, while Brown notched a career best fourth in points in 2004. Taylor's persistence resulted in Most Improved Driver honors and a seventh-place ranking in '04, while Rains earned a sixth place ranking en route to Brodix Rookie of the Year honors.

Rains outlasted '04 rookie rivals Hafertepe and Sather, who finished tenth and eleventh in points, respectively. Howard, a former Rookie of the Year, rejoins the Tour on a full-time basis this season as '05 Rookie contenders should include Bruce, Jobe and Sowell.

Since the inception of the ASCS in 1992, thirty-four National Tour feature events have been contested at Devil's Bowl Speedway, the most held at one track. Wright leads the way with eleven Mesquite wins, with 2000 ASCS National Champion Wayne Johnson next on the list with three wins. Shane Carson, Mike Peters, Sammy Swindell, Terry Gray and Garry Lee Maier have each scored two wins apiece at Devil's Bowl Speedway, with single wins collected by Alan Payne, Mike Ward, Johnny Herrera, Edd French, Larry Neighbors, Travis Rilat, Jason Johnson, Kevin Ramey, Tim Crawley and Shane Carson.

Several streaks are on the line this weekend, as Toby Brown and 2001 series champion Zach Chappell both look to extend their string of consecutive events competed in. Brown, hailing from Carthage, MO, will reach the magical "200" consecutive mark this weekend, provided both nights of racing are completed. Chappell, from Talala, OK, is just one race behind at 197.

Chappell also carries a streak of 99 consecutive ASCS National Tour feature starts into the weekend, also an all-time series record.

Chappell will split his time between the ARCA stock car series and the ASCS National Tour this year, with Hafertepe slated to make four ARCA starts as well.J

Devil's Bowl Speedway is located six miles east of Dallas' I-635 on US 80, then three miles south on Lawson Road. Both nights of racing are set to get under way at 8:00 p.m. For more information, contact the track at 972-222-2421.

This weekend's 32nd Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals kicks off approximately 40 nights of racing in 2005 for the O'Reilly ASCS National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores at more than 21 different tracks throughout ten different states, including Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

In total, the 14th year of American Sprint Car Series racing action will include approximately 120 nights of racing at approximately 50 different race tracks throughout at least 15 different states in 2005. This total includes the National Tour along with the Gulf South, Sooner, Rocky Mountain, Midwest and Southern Regions.

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

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Darren Stewart , Sammy Swindell , Larry Neighbors , Travis Rilat , Wayne Johnson , Johnny Herrera , Kevin Ramey , Jason Johnson