TRIPLE THREAT Jones, Hines and Chevy Ready for Midwestern Season-Opening USAC Sprint Series Tripleheader INDIANAPOLIS (April 15, 2008) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Levi Jones and Tracy Hines are poised to kick off their USAC ...
Jones, Hines and Chevy Ready for Midwestern Season-Opening USAC Sprint Series Tripleheader
INDIANAPOLIS (April 15, 2008) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Levi Jones and Tracy Hines are poised to kick off their USAC National Sprint Car Series championship run this weekend as they'll take to both the dirt and the pavement in three Indiana events. Friday and Saturday, the TSR duo will make back-to-back appearances at Gas City (Ind.) I-69 Speedway. Sunday, Jones and Hines will make their USAC Sprint Series appearance of the season on the high banks of Winchester (Ind.) Speedway.
Jones and the No. 20 TSR/Chevy/Bass Pro Shops team will open defense of their 2007 USAC Sprint Series championship with this weekend's tripleheader. The two-time champion will look to earn his first USAC Racing Series victory on Gas City I-69 Speedway's quarter-mile bullring on Friday and Saturday. Jones has posted five second-place finishes and nine top-five finishes at the facility in USAC Sprint Series competition. In his last USAC event at the track, on July 14, 2007, Jones took the checkered flag in second place.
Hines will make his first appearance at Gas City since Aug. 18, 2006, when he finished third in an unsanctioned Sprint car event. The two-time USAC champion has earned one Sprint Series victory at the track, as well as three top-five and four top-10 finishes. Hines' USAC Sprint Series win at Gas City came on April 30, 2004. This weekend's two-day race at Gas City will mark the first time Hines has competed at the facility behind the wheel of the No. 21 TSR/Chevy/Bass Pro Shops entry.
On Sunday, TSR will move on to Winchester Speedway for the Rich Vogler Classic. Hines has found his way to victory lane four times at the legendary half-mile facility. He also has 11 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes at the track. His last appearance there, on April 22, 2007, Hines drove to a fourth-place finish. His teammate, Jones, followed him to the checkered flag in the eighth position. Jones' best finish at Winchester came on Oct. 16, 2005, when he finished fourth. He also has two top-five and three top-10 finishes at the track.
Gates at Gas City will open to the public on Friday and Saturday for the USAC Sprint Series doubleheader at 4 p.m. EDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., with racing beginning at 7:30 p.m. For more information, the track can be reached at 765-674-6135. The official Web site of Gas City I-69 Speedway is www.gascityi69speedway.com.
Gates will open at 9:30 a.m. EDT for Sunday's Rich Vogler Classic event at Winchester Speedway. Qualifying is set to begin at 12:15 p.m. with racing at 2 p.m. The official Web site of Winchester Speedway is www.winchesterspeedway.com. For more information, the track office can be reached at 765-584-9701.
Levi Jones, driver of the No. 20 TSR/Chevy/Maxim -- USAC National Sprint Car Series (dirt) and the No. 20 TSR/Chevy/BEAST (pavement)
Having finished second at Gas City I-69 Speedway five times in past USAC Sprint Series races, do you think this weekend will see you finally take the checkered in first?
"I definitely think Friday's and Saturday's races could be the ones where we finally get over the hump at Gas City. I've won there before in non-sanctioned events and I would really like to get my first USAC Sprint Series victory there this weekend. I told the guys on the way home from North Carolina on Sunday that I want to win one or both races this weekend to make up for all the times I've come in second at Gas City."
With all of the recent rain in Indiana, do you have any expectations about the racing surface?
"They put new dirt on the track last season and I think the track will be really good for both nights this weekend. We know it will be heavy, but that's not a bad way to have a track. It might be heavy, but it will definitely be racy for both Friday and Saturday. I'm looking forward to our first race of the year at Gas City."
You posted a top-10 finish at Winchester Speedway last year. What will TSR need to do in order to be fast there on Sunday?
"Tracy (Hines, teammate) and I were both just too tight at Winchester last spring. We know that we need to qualify in the top-six and come out of our heat races to start up front. This is our second year with the Chevy engines that Paul Kistler builds for us and we've really fine-tuned some things and figured out how to be really fast. If we qualify well and start near the front, I have no doubt that we'll have a good chance to get Chevy and Bass Pro Shops a victory at Winchester."
Tracy Hines, driver of the No. 21 TSR/Chevrolet/Maxim -- USAC National Sprint Car Series (dirt) and the No. 20 TSR/Chevy/BEAST (pavement)
Having lost the season-opening USAC Sprint Series event to Mother Nature, are you looking forward to getting back on the dirt after two weekends of pavement racing?
"I am ready to get back on the dirt, especially in the Sprint car. After we ran the Silver Crown car at Manzanita (Speedway) in February, I was ready to start racing dirt Sprint cars again. I got back into a dirt-racing mentality and I'm ready to get back into a Sprint car rhythm this weekend."
Does having a doubleheader at the same track help the TSR from one event to the next?
"I don't know that having two nights at Gas City is really going to help us from Friday to Saturday. It doesn't really help or hurt the team. We'll most likely have two very different race tracks this weekend. This early in the season, the tracks are almost too nice. They're too tacky and heavy. When a track is like that, the driver doesn't really come into play as much as it seems everyone is fast on a heavy track. We'd like it to be a little slicked off so we can try to out-handle other cars and get ahead of the game that way."
This Sunday's event at Winchester Speedway will be TSR's first pavement USAC Sprint Series event of the season. How has TSR prepared for this?
"The TSR team has been working very hard in recent weeks to prepare for our first Sprint car races. We're going to test this week at Winchester, as well, and that's always a good way to go into an event. You learn something every time you compete on a track and we'll definitely have a good starting point for this Sunday's race. Last year, we tested at the track, as well. We learned that, with the right combination, Levi (Jones, teammate) and I could be just as fast on tires that had some laps on them as we were on new tires. I think that we're going to have a good shot at putting Chevy and Bass Pro Shops in the winner's circle in all three races this weekend."
For complete results from this weekend's USAC Racing Series events, log on to www.usacracing.com. For information regarding TSR, Chevy or Bass Pro Shops, please visit www.tonystewartracing.com, www.chevy.com or www.basspro.com.