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Jan Howard Set to Defend Home Turf in O'Reilly ASCS Double at MMP TULSA, Okla. (April 19, 2004) -- Hailing from nearby Byhalia, MS, Jan Howard knows the way to victory lane at Memphis Motorsports Park. With championship hopes at stake on the ...

Jan Howard Set to Defend Home Turf in O'Reilly ASCS Double at MMP

TULSA, Okla. (April 19, 2004) -- Hailing from nearby Byhalia, MS, Jan Howard knows the way to victory lane at Memphis Motorsports Park. With championship hopes at stake on the 2004 O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and United Trailers, Howard seeks a return trip to MMP's victory lane as the series is set for a double at the quarter-mile clay oval this Friday and Saturday night.

After earning Brodix ASCS National Rookie of the Year honors in 1999 and a fourth place finish in points a year later, Howard has been a part-time ASCS competitor over the past three years. Howard, who scored a pair of ASCS National victories at MMP in 2002, returns to full-time ASCS traveler status in 2004 as he chases the championship.

Howard's 2004 campaign got off to a rough start at the ASCS Gulf South Region opener on March 13 with a grinding frontstretch crash. "The whole car was junk. Engine, chassis, every piece on the car.JEverything except the wing slider, it looked like it had just come out of the box, everything else was junked though," Howard says of the wild ride.

Howard wasted little time regrouping though, finishing seventh in the O'Reilly ASCS National Tour opener at Delta Bowl Speedway on March 27. After several weeks off, Howard and the rest of the ASCS championship contenders are ready to return to action this weekend.

Howard isn't the only Memphis-area shoe set to contend for this year's championship, as A.G. Rains of West Memphis, AR, is prepared to make his first full run at the championship. "That's the plan at this point," Rains commented at the ASCS opener. "As long as the money holds out, we're gonna be at all of them."

Howard and Rains are joined by a salty bunch of competitors, the combination of which could make for the most wide-open championship battle in series history.

Hooks, TX, ace Gary Wright kicked off the season with his 77th career ASCS triumph and will seek to add to that this weekend. Defending series champion Travis Rilat of Forney, TX, will be in action, as will other title contenders Zach Chappell (Talala, OK), Garry Lee Maier (Cimarron, KS), Toby Brown (Carthage, MO), Cody Branchcomb (Sapulpa, OK), Jimmy Taylor (Oklahoma City, OK), Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (Sunnyvale, TX), Chuck Swenson (Watertown, SD) and Natalie Sather (Fargo, ND).

The ASCS guns will face plenty of stiff competition, including three-time ASCS National champion Tim Crawley, who has scored four feature triumphs in weekly competition this year, and 2003 Brodix ASCS Rookie of the Year Darren Stewart, who finished fourth in 2003 ASCS National points.

Other top contenders expected to be on hand this weekend include Memphis veteran hotshoes Mike Ward and Eddie Gallagher, along with Dale and Josh Howard, Bryce Vowan, Raymond Stull, Marshall Skinner and 2003 National 360 Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Memphis Motorsports Park is located off Fite Road between Hwy 51 and Raleigh-Millington, north of the I-240 and Austin Peay Highway interchange. For more information, contact the track at 901-358-7223.

The 2004 O'Reilly ASCS National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and United Trailers currently consists of 39 nights of racing at 20 different tracks throughout Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

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

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Series Sprint
Drivers Darren Stewart , Cody Branchcomb , Travis Rilat , Tim Crawley