Tony Stewart Racing Salem preview

Chasing the Championship Tony Stewart Racing's Jones, Stenhouse, Jr., Hit the Pavement in USAC Title Chases INDIANAPOLIS (August 1, 2007) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Levi Jones and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. quickly put themselves in contention to...

Chasing the Championship
Tony Stewart Racing's Jones, Stenhouse, Jr., Hit the Pavement in USAC Title Chases

INDIANAPOLIS (August 1, 2007) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Levi Jones and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. quickly put themselves in contention to win both the USAC National Sprint and Midget Series Championships with standout performances in recent weeks. The TSR team has steadily been gaining momentum with its pavement racing program since the season began, and with a doubleheader on tap for this weekend, Jones will have another shot to extend his USAC Sprint Series points lead while Stenhouse will resume his chase for the USAC Midget Series title.

TSR will kick off the busy weekend at Salem (Ind.) Speedway on Saturday. The No. 20 and 21 TSR/Chevrolet/BEAST teams will compete in the 48th Annual Cardinal Contracting Joe James/Pat O'Conner Memorial event. The event, which features a 30-lap USAC Midget and 50-lap USAC Sprint race, will mark the first of the final eight races in the 2007 sprint series schedule.

Jones is no stranger to running in the front at Salem Speedway, as he set quick time at the facility on Aug. 12, 2006, in USAC Sprint Series competition. He went on to finish fourth in the 50-lap feature event. In last year's doubleheader, Jones finished 10th in the USAC Midget Series feature.

Jones and the No. 20 team lead the USAC Sprint Series championship heading into this weekend's event with 1,166 points. Jones has also scored four Sprint Car victories thus far in 2007, making him one of two series' four-time winners this year. He also has a pavement win to his credit, as he won the USAC Sprint Series feature at Anderson Speedway on May 23. Jones is ranked fifth in the USAC Midget Series standings with 475 points.

This weekend's race will mark Stenhouse's first appearance at Salem Speedway. Stenhouse has one Sprint Car victory this season, having claimed the checkered flag at Big Diamond (Pa.) Raceway on June 7. He also has three Midget Car victories to his credit and is ranked fifth in the USAC Sprint Car Series standings with 824 points. Stenhouse is ranked third in the USAC Midget Series standings with 531 points.

TSR will have another odd in its favor as they head to Salem's half-mile, high-banked oval on Saturday. Tracy Hines, who was injured in an off-road motorcycle accident on April 30, has rejoined the team as a pavement set-up consultant while he continues his recovery. Hines will continue to work with TSR until his recovery is complete and he is able to return to the driver's seat. On August 13, Hines will undergo a second surgery on his right knee to remove scar tissue and continue to repair the nerves. He will resume daily therapy following the surgery.

Levi Jones, driver of the No. 20 TSR/Chevrolet/BEAST

You've found speed and success at Salem in the past. Are you looking forward to this weekend's race?

"I am very comfortable in the sprint car around Salem Speedway. Setting quick time last year was a big confidence booster and we're looking forward to getting another shot at a win there on Saturday. I'm also looking forward to getting back in the midget. I'd really like to get my first win in that series at a historical track like Salem. It's a really fast track that's all about momentum. Our pavement program has really moved forward and it's great to have Tracy back to work with us. Hopefully our efforts will end up with Chevy and Bass Pro Shops in the winner's circle.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., driver of the No. 21 TSR/Chevrolet/BEAST

Salem Speedway will mark another 'first' in your career. Are you ready to tackle the historical half-mile?

"I've really enjoyed having an opportunity to race at so many new tracks this year and going to Salem Speedway is no exception. I like the bigger tracks and I think that we're going to have two great cars to race this weekend. Everyone at the shop has really been working hard to push our pavement program forward and working with Tracy has definitely taught me a lot. It would be pretty cool to get my first pavement win in either series at Salem on Saturday. We're hoping to make it a Chevy/Bass Pro Shops sweep."

-credit: tsr

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About this article
Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Tracy Hines , Levi Jones