DOUBLE OR NOTHING Jones, Hines and Chevy Head to Bloomington, Eldora For USAC National Sprint Car Series Doubleheader INDIANAPOLIS (May 6, 2008) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Levi Jones and Tracy Hines will enter this weekend's USAC National ...
DOUBLE OR NOTHING
Jones, Hines and Chevy Head to Bloomington, Eldora For USAC National Sprint Car Series Doubleheader
INDIANAPOLIS (May 6, 2008) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Levi Jones and Tracy Hines will enter this weekend's USAC National Sprint Car Series doubleheader riding the momentum of a victory and top-five finish at Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway last Saturday. The duo will head to Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway on Friday, then Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, on Saturday.
Jones, who grabbed the lead in the USAC Sprint Series championship standings with his victory last weekend, will look to go two-for-two this weekend. The two-time series champion has yet to win at the quarter-mile Bloomington Speedway bullring and would like nothing more than to put the No. 20 TSR/Chevy/Maxim in the winner's circle Friday. Dave Darland won the series' last race at the track on July 20, 2007. Jones finished 11th.
At Eldora Speedway on Saturday, Jones will seek his second career USAC Sprint Series win at the half-mile facility. In his last appearance there, on Sept. 22, 2007, Jones finished 14th behind winner Robert Ballou.
Hines will make his first appearance at Bloomington this weekend since April 20, 2007, when he finished second in an unsanctioned Sprint car event. His fifth-place run at Brownstown last weekend vaulted him into third place in the series standings. Hines brings the experience of two USAC Sprint Series victories with him to Bloomington on Friday night as he tries to put his name in the record books for the third time in his career.
At Eldora, Hines will seek his sixth career USAC Sprint Series victory Saturday night at his team owner's facility. In his last event at the legendary track, on April 28, 2007, Hines earned a ninth-place finish.
Gates at Bloomington Speedway will open to the public for Friday's USAC Sprint Series event at 5:30 p.m. EDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., with racing beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at the gate. The official Web site of Bloomington Speedway is www.bloomingtonspeedway.com.
Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. EDT for Saturday's event at Eldora Speedway. Hot laps are set to begin at 6 p.m. with racing at 7:30 p.m. The official Web site of Eldora Speedway is www.eldoraspeedway.com. For tickets, or more information regarding the track, call 937-338-3815.
Levi Jones, driver of the No. 20 TSR/Chevy/Maxim -- USAC National Sprint Car Series
You've won several USAC National Sprint Car Series races in your career, but victory lane at Bloomington Speedway has eluded you. What would it mean to get your first victory at the track for Chevy and Tony Stewart Racing this Friday?
"It would be very cool to get my first win in the TSR No. 20 with Chevy on the side of the car. My crew chief, Rob Hart, is four-for-four at Brownstown Speedway, where we raced last Saturday night. Those are pretty good odds. He told me he's also got a pretty good record at Bloomington Speedway and that definitely can't hurt us as we head into that race on Friday. Coming off the win last weekend, our team is pretty excited and we're ready to go to Bloomington on Friday to see if we can keep things rolling."
With all of the rain and inclement weather the past two months, you've not had a lot of time on the track. Do you think the No. 20 TSR/Chevy/Maxim team has a handle on your dirt Sprint car program, or are you still working on improvement?
"You never really stop, or you shouldn't stop, trying to take things to the next level or to get ahead. When you get complacent, that's when you get beat. Rob (Hart, crew chief) and the guys have really worked hard to give me great cars to start the season off with. I know that we're going to continue to learn and apply that knowledge as we get further into the season. We also have really made some gains in our Midget programs. We tested again last week and I'm really excited about the things we learned during those two days. We're on a good note, now, and we're going to work to make sure things keep heading in that direction."
Levi Jones, driver of the No. 20 TSR/Chevy/Maxim (continued)
Having won already this season on a half-mile track, are you looking forward to racing at Eldora Speedway for the first time this season on Saturday?
"It's always exciting to go to Eldora. It's the start of the year and everyone has new cars and is ready to go. Eldora is a place where everyone wants to win. It's also a good track to start the season with, as you know right off the bat how good your cars are and how good your engine program is. We know that we've got great engines with the Chevy power and we feel like we've got good cars to start the year with. You've also got to pay attention to the track when you get to Eldora. It could be as smooth as our shop floor or as rough as a corn field, and you just never know how it's going to change over the course of the night. It's kind of a crapshoot and I think that helps to build on the excitement of racing at Eldora."
Tracy Hines, driver of the No. 21 TSR/Chevrolet/Maxim -- USAC National Sprint Car Series
While you were injured last season, you came to Bloomington Speedway to work with the Tony Stewart Racing team and drivers. Did watching the race give you a different perspective of the track and its characteristics?
"Watching a race from a different vantage point didn't really change my mindset regarding the approach to competing at Bloomington Speedway the way someone might think. I've got a lot of experience at the track. It's where I started my dirt Sprint car career several years ago. I've also won two races at Bloomington, and that experience helps quite a bit. In my last race at the track in April of 2007, we finished second. I think that the best approaches involve experience and I think we'll have a really good chance of putting Chevy and Bass Pro Shops in the winner's circle on Friday night."
At Bloomington Speedway, is there an ideal set-up for a race team to start out with?
"You learn when you've been racing as long as I have that you can never have a perfect set-up to start a dirt race with. The tracks change every time you compete on them. The preparation can be different, the weather definitely influences the conditions, and you're dealing with a different race track every night when you race on the dirt. The idea is to go in with a good baseline set-up, one that you can work from and adjust as you need to. As a team, we (TSR) have a good working knowledge of each track and I'm confident that we'll be able to make changes as we need to on Friday."
While you're still in therapy each day at St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis, you've proven you're physically up to the challenges of open-wheel racing. Are you looking forward to heading to Eldora Speedway on Saturday?
"I really think I'm ready for the challenges that Eldora can present to a driver. I'm physically in good shape -- probably the best shape I've been in for a long time -- and the guys at TSR have built us some really good race cars. Eldora is a high-banked, momentum race track. When the track slicks off, you can run right up at the top. It's all about momentum. Sometimes the car doesn't want to allow you to run up there, but you have to just drive it as smoothly as possible when that's where the track is. With this only being our third race of the year, I feel like we're going to be in great shape to kick our USAC Sprint Car season off with a win and to put Chevy and Bass Pro Shops in victory lane on Saturday."