The Drive for Five Tony Stewart Racing's Jones and Hines Take Aim at USAC Border Wars Title INDIANAPOLIS (April 24, 2007) -- With the USAC National Sprint and Midget Car Series seasons firmly underway, Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) is on full...
The Drive for Five
Tony Stewart Racing's Jones and Hines Take Aim at USAC Border Wars Title
INDIANAPOLIS (April 24, 2007) -- With the USAC National Sprint and Midget Car Series seasons firmly underway, Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) is on full point in its quest to earn the team's fifth straight national series title.
The team has won three USAC National Sprint Car Series championships, as well as a USAC National Midget Car Series title. J.J. Yeley earned the first USAC National Sprint Car Series title in 2003, and current team manager, Jay Drake, earned the second championship in 2004. Josh Wise earned TSR's first USAC National Midget Car Series title in 2005 and followed it up with the USAC National Sprint Car Series championship in 2006.
With veteran drivers Levi Jones and Tracy Hines at the wheel for TSR in 2007, the team has high hopes for a fifth consecutive title. But first, they're looking to earn the team's third USAC Border Wars championship.
Jones struck the first blow in the battle for the 2007 USAC National Sprint Car Series title winning in decisive fashion at Lawrenceburg Speedway on April 21. He'll be looking to add to his hardware collection in this weekend's USAC Border Wars doubleheader, as the 2005 series champion is no stranger to the winner's circle at Gas City (Ind.) I-69 Speedway or Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
Jones enters this weekend's USAC Border Wars competition ranked second in the USAC National Sprint Car Series Championship. He is only two points behind series leader Kevin Swindell.
Hines is a proverbial favorite as TSR heads to Gas City I-69 and Eldora this weekend, as he'll be seeking his fourth USAC Border Wars title. Having won the event in 1999, 2002 and 2003, Hines will look to put himself in the record books as one of two four-time USAC Border Wars Champions.
Hines enters this weekend's events currently ranked fourth in the USAC National Sprint Car Series Championship standings with 98 points, only 14 markers out of first place.
TSR team owner Stewart -- also a former USAC Border Wars champion -- won the title in 1995 en route to winning the elusive USAC "Triple Crown" -- where he became the first driver to win all three USAC National Series titles in the same season. Team manager Drake, who also has two event titles to his credit, won back-to-back USAC Border Wars titles for TSR in 2004 and 2005.
The USAC driver's meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. EST at Gas City I-69 on Friday, April 27. Hot laps and qualifying will follow the qualifying draw, which concludes at 6:30 p.m. EDT. Gas City I-69 Speedway is a 1/4-mile, semi-banked oval located off I-69 in Gas City, Ind. For more information regarding this Friday's USAC National Sprint Car Series event, log on to www.gascityi69speedway.com.
On Saturday, April 28, gates will open at Eldora at 3:30 p.m. EDT, with racing scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Eldora Speedway is a ½-mile, high-banked clay oval and is owned by Tony Stewart. For ticket prices or seating information, visit www.eldoraspeedway.com or call 937-338-3815.
Quotes from Levi Jones, driver of the No. 20 TSR/Chevrolet/Maxim
You haven't won a USAC Border Wars title thus far in your career. Do you think this year with TSR may be your best shot yet?
"This year is definitely going to be the best shot I've had at getting my first Border Wars title. I've run second at Gas City about four times -- enough that I'm ready to get a win there. Eldora is still one of the baddest places around, hands down. It's hard to find a race track that's as demanding as Eldora. We're going into the Border Wars event with the mindset that we don't just want to win the overall title we want to win both races. It's going to be a great weekend of racing and hopefully we'll have a repeat of last weekend with the Chevrolet team in victory lane."
You're racing at Gas City I-69 and Eldora Speedway this weekend. Do you prefer one track over the other?
"I like both tracks because they're so different. The fact that we get to run these races back-to-back makes it even more of an accomplishment to win the border wars title. Gas City is a tight, little bullring while Eldora is big, fast and sweeping. This weekend is the kind that really pushes you as a driver. Bubby Jones (No. 20 crew chief), Jay Drake (team manager), Bobby Barth (No. 21 crew chief) and the entire TSR team have worked hard to get us ready for a weekend like this and I think we're going to be in contention for both wins."
Quotes from Tracy Hines, driver of the No. 21 TSR/Chevrolet/Maxim
You've not seen Eldora Speedway since the new clay was added. Will the reconfiguration alter the way you and the team approach Saturday's race?
"Eldora has always been a good place for racing. We've not changed anything in preparation for this weekend's race, but I think that it may affect the race's tone. I've not seen the track since they added the clay, so I can't make any assumptions without taking a look at it myself. I normally run the high side at Eldora. It's been the fastest way around in the past. From what I've been told, we may have to alter our lines in order to get the most out of the track. I hope that we're able to run anywhere we want as we've been able to in the past. I'm looking forward to our first trip to Eldora this year."
It's been over three years since you've competed in a full USAC Border Wars event. Are you confident that you'll have a good chance to win your fourth title and tie the current record?
"The last time I competed in both legs of the Border Wars event was 2003. I had a good start on the 2004 event, as I won the race at Gas City. But Eldora was rained out and due to a NASCAR schedule conflict I couldn't come back and run the second part of the two-race series. I am very pleased with how prepared the TSR team is for this year's event. I really think that we're going to have a great shot at getting Chevrolet in victory lane this weekend. It would also be a really nice addition to my resume if I could win a fourth Border Wars title and tie Brian [Tyler] for the record. Hopefully, we'll have a little luck fall our way this weekend and we'll be able to come away with a win and the title."
For complete results from this weekend's USAC National Sprint Car Series doubleheader, log on to www.usacracing.com. For information regarding Stewart, TSR or Chevrolet, log on to www.tonystewart.com or www.chevrolet.com.