Series news 2009-02-04

Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series Update -- Will the Trend Continue? TULSA, Okla. (February 4, 2009) -- It's a trend that Jesse Hockett can only hope continues. If it does, it will bode quite well for the Warsaw, MO, racer that has his sights...

Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series Update -- Will the Trend Continue?

TULSA, Okla. (February 4, 2009) -- It's a trend that Jesse Hockett can only hope continues. If it does, it will bode quite well for the Warsaw, MO, racer that has his sights set on the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters championship in 2009.

Over each of the past two years, the driver that has won East Bay Raceway Park's Ronald Laney Memorial has gone on to capture the ASCS National championship.

Gary Wright became the first "King of the 360's" repeat winner in 2007, launching his drive towards a fourth consecutive series crown. Then, last year, Jason Johnson kicked off his initial ASCS championship campaign with a $10,000 score at East Bay.

After ignition box issues slowed his Friday night drive, "The Rocket" rallied from four rows deep on Saturday night en route to a $13,000 score at East Bay that included the $10,000 posted winner's share from the track along with a $2,500 bonus from Mark Laney and another $500 from CnB Mushroom Farms.

And, it puts Hockett in a position to continue the trend started over the past two seasons by the likes of ASCS aces Gary Wright and Jason Johnson.

The biggest difference is that wins by Wright and Johnson came against the full contingent of National championship contenders, while Hockett's came against a field of Regional Rebels.

A loaded field of ASCS Rebels, that is, with at least a half-dozen Lucas Oil ASCS National title contenders mixed in among the 48 drivers that took part in the two-night event after Thursday's opener fell victim to rain.

Either way, Hockett's first outing aboard the newly-combined RMS-powered Tom Buch/VKCC Motorsports No. 13 JEI team served as notice that he'll be a force to contend with in his return to the ASCS ranks on a full-time basis for the first time since his third-place finish in 2006 points.

Hot Hand: Hockett's hot hand dates back to November 1 of last year, with his five feature wins since that time worth an impressive total of $31,500.

Hockett closed out last season with a wingless win in Perris Auto Speedway's Oval Nationals, a $12,500 triumph that ranked as his most lucrative at the time. He followed a week later with a sweep of the Discount Tire Co. ASCS Canyon Region Western World Championships, worth another $6,000.

After mixing in his second consecutive Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals championship main event start amongst a field of 281 competitors to open the 2009 season, Hockett went the winged route for a $13,000 score to top his Oval earnings.

Tuning Up: Another handful of projected Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series title contenders took in the weekend's action at East Bay, including Gary Wright, Travis Rilat, Danny Wood, Tony Bruce, Jr., and Derek Hagar.

Teaming with Garry Lee Maier in the Lubbock Wrecker Service entries for 2009, Wright finished a close second to Friday night winner Danny Martin, Jr., before making a late exit while running third in Saturday's finale.

Wood overcame Friday engine problems to charge through Saturday's feature field. A late spin while dicing for third position with Jason Sides is all that could limit Wood to a seventh-place finish in his first weekend of ASCS action aboard the H&H No. 94.

Tony Bruce, Jr., was a top-five runner on both nights, while Rilat exited early in Saturday's main after a charge from deep in the field to finish fifth on Friday night. Hagar made the feature cut both nights, finishing 13th and then 11th.

Parent Update: Twenty-year-old Quebec shoe Michael Parent was forced to scratch from Saturday night's main event after suffering burns in an unusual fire on the cool down lap after the checkered flag had flown upon the night's second of five heat races. After a fuel line broke, Parent received second and third degree burns to his neck, a hand and legs.

Passing Points 2009: Tested successfully with the Micro Sprint ranks at the Tulsa Shootout to kick off the New Year, a newly-designed passing points system has been met with great approval at both the Chili Bowl and this past weekend's East Bay Winter Nationals opener. In place for all ASCS events this year, the new system places a greater reward on positions gained along with a penalty imposed upon positions lost. The end result, a greater emphasis on each and every position gained or lost in heat race competition, is just another facet of the improved on-track racing action that fans will enjoy at ASCS events in 2009.

Indiana Fireworks: With a pending sale that would change the name of Chandler Motor Speedway to Presleyland Motorsports Park, event promoter Reno Fontana is busy prepping for the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series event set for July 3-4 atop the 3/8-mile dirt oval in Chandler, IN. The $15,000 winner's share on July 4 matches the top single-night prize of the year. Only I-30 Speedway's Short Track Nationals in October offers up $15,000 to win as well.

Kansas Cash: Southwest Kansas will be the place to be over Memorial Day weekend, as racer/promoter Tony Bruce, Jr., offers up $10,000 to win and $5,000 for runner-up honors on the May 24 conclusion of the Steve King Memorial at the Jetmore Motorplex. A parade in town will precede the Saturday night, May 23, preliminary event.

New Stops: The first of several new venues for the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters in 2009 will be Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, IL, on May 1, with the series first visit to Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, TN, on the following weekend (May 8-9). Other new venues include Presleyland Motorsports Park (July 3-4), Grays Harbor Raceway Park (July 17-18) and Cottage Grove Speedway (July 24-25).

Back from 2008: A number that will likely double in 2009, eleven drivers took in all or most of last year's ASCS National circuit.

Eight of those return for the full Lucas Oil Sprint Car series campaign in 2009, including defending champion Jason Johnson, four-time series champion Gary Wright, 2003 champion Travis Rilat, 1992 champion Garry Lee Maier, Eric Baldaccini, Nick Smith, Kenneth Walker and Kathryne Minter.

Two of the other entries return with new pilots, including Danny Wood aboard the H&H No. 94 machine and Brady Bacon aboard the Tel-Star car driven by Gary Taylor last year.

Back on the Trail: Also expected to vie for the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series crown in 2009 are the likes of three-time series champion Tim Crawley, Shane Stewart, Tony Bruce, Jr., Jesse Hockett, 16-year-old Trey Robb and veteran shoe Rickey Hood.

Rookie Contenders: A slew of rookie contenders includes the likes of Arkansas' Ricky Logan, Washington's Seth Bergman, Ohio's Darren Long, Colorado's Chad Corken, Arizona's Ben Gregg and Oklahoma's Matt Covington. Other possible rookie contenders, though unconfirmed, include Brian Brown, Jack Dover, Josh Fisher and Derek Hagar.

Lights, Camera...: The season opens up with the first pair of at least ten events that will be televised on the VERSUS network. Both nights of Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car action at the 36th Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals in Mesquite, TX, are slated for your viewing pleasure.

Sprint Car Racing at its best, the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters is currently slated for 32 nights of competition at 15 different tracks throughout the nation. Drivers contending for the 2009 series title will be vying for a share of the $250,000 points fund, which will be distributed at season's end among the top 15 drivers in points. The champion will collect a hefty $60,000.

-credit: ascs

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Series Sprint
Drivers Brian Brown , Jason Sides , Shane Stewart , Travis Rilat , Josh Fisher , Jesse Hockett , Derek Hagar , Nick Smith , Gary Taylor , Ben Gregg , Jason Johnson