USCS: Pensacola season opener preview

O'Reilly USCS Competitors Ready For 2005 Pensacola Season Opener FAYETTEVILLE, GA - The O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series will open its ninth season at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL on March 18. The high-banked half-mile...

O'Reilly USCS Competitors Ready For 2005 Pensacola Season Opener

FAYETTEVILLE, GA - The O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series will open its ninth season at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL on March 18. The high-banked half-mile paved oval will provide a high-speed stage for the most powerful short track racing cars in the world.

The O'Reilly USCS made an appearance at Five Flags Speedway last year on June 25, but the event was postponed by rain just after time trials. The race was rescheduled for October 8, but damage from Hurricane Ivan forced cancellation of the event. The hurricane damage has been repaired, and the track is ready to go.

Anticipation is high for fast speeds by the O'Reilly USCS winged outlaw sprint cars that weigh 1,300 pounds and are powered by 700 horsepower fuel-injected alcohol-burning V-8 engines. Before the rains came last June, the 2000 O'Reilly USCS National Champion and 2003 Asphalt Thunder Champion Kenny Adams of Malabar, FL set a new track record at Five Flags.

Adams turned in a lap of 14.529 seconds for an average speed of 123.890 miles per hour during time trials. Adams was driving an innovative Shaw chassis powered by a Don Ott-built engine. Adams won six O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder events in 2004, and finished second to Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN in the Asphalt Thunder point standings.

Gray won two O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder events in 2004, and never finished outside of the top five in the ten pavement races. Veterans Gray and Adams may have took the lion's share of the O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder cash in 2004, but this season they can feel the coming of the SpeedMart "Young Guns."

The SpeedMart "Young Guns" are a group of talented drivers under the age of 25 that have made their presence know in O'Reilly USCS competition on both asphalt and dirt tracks.

The SpeedMart "Young Guns" will be led by 19-year-old Danny Martin Jr. of Sarasota, FL. Martin won five O'Reilly USCS events last season on dirt tracks, but a new race car has stepped up his asphalt program. Martin finished second to Gray last season in the O'Reilly USCS National point standings.

Joining Martin in the SpeedMart Young Guns club for 2005 will be the 2004 O'Reilly USCS Rookie of the Year, 17-year-old R.J. Johnson of Decatur, TN, who also has a new asphalt car for this season. Johnson finished fourth in the 2004 O'Reilly USCS National point standings. There are also two other SpeedMart Young Guns that will travel to Pensacola after top ten point efforts in 2004.

Finishing sixth in the 2004 National points chase was 20-year-old Tom Winegardner Jr. of Pierson, FL and 18-year-old Bryn Gohn of Malabar, FL took the ninth spot. Gohn is the stepson of Kenny Adams, and also served as his crew chief last season. Gohn made his driving debut last year at Five Flags Speedway and will run for the 2005 O'Reilly USCS Rookie of the Year Award.

Two more SpeedMart Young Guns that had success on the O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder Tour last season will travel to Florida from the Buckeye State. After visiting victory lane once last year in O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder competition, 21-year-old Doug Berryman of Freemont, OH will be joined by his 20-year-old teammate Joe Rebman of Mansfield, OH.

A 16-year-old driver with a familiar last name to sprint car racing fans will make his asphalt debut on March 18 at Five Flags Speedway. Kevin Swindell of Germantown, TN, the son of Sammy Swindell, will use the O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder Tour to get some valuable experience on pavement.

Brice Wrenn of Lexington, SC will also make his O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder debut at Five Flags Speedway on March 18. Wrenn ran all 26 series dirt event last season, and still finished fifth in the National points chase. By running both dirt and asphalt in 2005, Wrenn hopes to contend for the 2005 O'Reilly USCS National Championship where points are earned on both surfaces.

Other top contenders include Will Ragsdale of Easley, SC, who finished third in the 2004 O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder point standings, veterans Willie Stauffer of Orlando, FL, Doug Wimpee of Fairhope, AL, Brian Thomas of Auburn, GA, and 2000 O'Reilly USCS Rookie of the Year Michael Miller of Ocean Springs, MS.

Along with the O'Reilly USCS winged outlaw sprint cars, the Five Flags Speedway Spectator, Bomber, and Vintage Divisions will also be in action. For Five Flags Speedway ticket information call (850) 944-8400 or visit the track's web site at www.fiveflagsspeedway.com. Five Flags Speedway is located 1.5 miles south of I-10 at exit 7 on Pine Forest Road.

For more information about the O'Reilly USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour visit the series web site at www.uscsracing.com

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Series Sprint
Drivers Kevin Swindell , Sammy Swindell , Kenny Adams , Bryn Gohn , R.J. Johnson , Brian Thomas