GAME ON... Round Three: Tony Stewart Racing vs. Mother Nature TSR's USAC Contingent Hopes Mother Nature Comes Up Short In the Weekend's Battle for Racing Action INDIANAPOLIS (April. 10, 2007) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) USAC team has...
Round Three: Tony Stewart Racing vs. Mother Nature
TSR's USAC Contingent Hopes Mother Nature Comes Up Short In the Weekend's Battle for Racing Action
INDIANAPOLIS (April. 10, 2007) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) USAC team has come up a bit empty-handed in recent weeks, but for once, it's not worried about the impact it will have on their championship chase. It's true that all of the USAC drivers have fallen a bit behind this year. For a change, it's not to another competitor. Instead, it's Mother Nature.
After a rainout at Eldora Speedway on March 31, testing in Iowa the beginning of last week and driving to southern Texas only to lose out to rain once again on April 7, TSR drivers Levi Jones and Tracy Hines are hoping that the natural waterworks that have been following them will get lost somewhere between Indiana's Twin Cities Raceway Park and Anderson Speedway.
Levi Jones, driver of the No. 20 TSR/Chevrolet/Maxim, enters this weekend's USAC National Sprint Car Series doubleheader battling it out in a third round of his own. Jones has scored two consecutive fourth-place finishes in the series' last two appearances at Twin Cities Raceway Park, leaving him hungry for a trip to victory lane.
Jones' track record at Anderson Speedway has also been impressive as he's earned two top-five finishes and two top-10s in five appearances at the facility. Jones' consistency on both dirt and pavement has earned him the reputation of being a versatile driver. The 24-year-old would like nothing more than to kick off his tenure as the driver of the No. 20 machine with a victory this weekend.
Tracy Hines, driver of the No. 21 TSR/Chevrolet/Maxim, is also looking to score a victory at Twin Cities Raceway Park. In his last appearance at the facility on July 14, 2005, he fell just short of capturing a victory and instead came home with a second-place finish. With two years to ponder the outcome of that event, Hines will look to make his first appearance in the No. 21 entry one for the record books.
Entering his first full season of USAC National Sprint Car Series competition in more than three years, Hines will also seek to repeat his May 25, 2005, trip to victory lane at Anderson Speedway this Sunday. In addition to that triumph, Hines also posted a sixth-place finish in the historic Little 500 on May 27, 2006.
This weekend's USAC National Sprint Car Series doubleheader will kick off with a 30-lap feature event at the 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval of Twin Cities Raceway Park in North Vernon, Ind., on Saturday. Pit gates will open to competitors at 3 p.m. EDT with grandstands opening to the public at 4 p.m. The 2005 series feature was won by Cory Kruseman. In 2006, Mat Neely won the series' only appearance at the facility. Race fans can purchase tickets the day of the event or by calling 812-358-3849. The official Website of Twin Cities Raceway Park is www.twincitiesracing.net.
For Sunday's Eighth Annual Glen Niebel Classic at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway, gates open to the public at 11:15 a.m. EDT. Racing is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. A 100-lap USAC National Sprint Car Series feature will conclude the event. The last series' contest at Anderson was won by Bryan Tyler on May 27, 2006. Race fans can purchase tickets at the gate on Sunday or by calling 765-642-0206. For more information regarding Anderson Speedway, log on to www.andersonspeedway.com.
Quotes from Levi Jones, driver of the No. 20 TSR/Chevrolet/Maxim -- USAC National Sprint Car Series Dirt Car
No. 20 TSR/Chevrolet/BEAST -- USAC National Sprint Car Series Pavement Car:
With two consecutive fourth-place finishes at Twin Cities Raceway Park, are you ready to put the No. 20 in Victory Lane for the first time this weekend?
"Finishing in the top-five is nice, but it's not a substitute for winning. We've been so close the past couple of times. It's just a matter of finishing the deal this weekend. I really enjoy competing at Twin Cities. It's a fast race track and it gives us a lot of room to race. With this being the first USAC National Sprint Car Series event of the season, there's nothing we'd like more than to put the No. 20 in Victory Lane for Chevrolet and TSR. I know that I'm going to have a lot of eyes on me as I start the season in the No. 20. No one can put more pressure on me than I do myself. I plan to run every race as hard as I can and hopefully the results will be there at the end of the season."
In five appearances at Anderson Speedway in the USAC National Sprint Car Series, you've collected two top-five and two top-10 finishes. With two full seasons of pavement sprint car racing to your credit, is it safe to assume you're getting more comfortable?
"Definitely. I had run pavement with the 2B team before joining TSR and had some success, especially at Anderson. But there is nothing that builds confidence other than getting more laps whether it's on pavement or dirt. I've learned to adjust to how the car handles on pavement over the past few years, and I'm really looking forward to working with Jay (Drake, team manager), Bubby (Jones, crew chief) and
Tracy (Hines, teammate). I think that they're going to be able to help me develop my pavement skills even further. It's a great feeling knowing that I'll have those resources on my side this year."
With the cancellations and rainouts, does it feel like it's been a long time since you've driven a sprint car?
"It really does. The midget testing in Iowa and Texas last week helped to get us back in the flow, but I've missed driving the sprint car in the past few weeks. It's not something you ever forget how to do, so I don't think we'll have any trouble getting back into the flow this weekend. I just hope the weather holds and we're able to get one or both of the races in. The downtime is the worst part of the sport, especially when it's due to weather."
Quotes from Tracy Hines, driver of the No. 21 TSR/Chevrolet/Maxim -- USAC National Sprint Car Series Dirt Car
No. 21 TSR/Chevrolet/BEAST -- USAC National Sprint Car Series Pavement Car:
With a year off from competing at Twin Cities Raceway Park, are you looking forward to returning to the facility this weekend?
"I really enjoy competing at Twin Cities. It's like a mini-Eldora. Heading back there this Saturday is going to be a lot of fun. It's got similar banking to Eldora Speedway. The racing groove is oftentimes against the wall, as it is at Eldora. It's a really fast race track and that makes for great racing for us, the competitors, and the fans. I'm also going in with the attitude that I really want to win this event. You always want to win, but this one would be pretty special. You don't like to have memories of finishing second at any track and I'd love to get our first win of the season for TSR, Chevrolet and Bass Pro Shops on Saturday."
After several years of competing in the NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, this will be your first full-time run in the USAC National Sprint Car Series since 2003. Are you looking forward to competing for the title again this year?
"I really am happy to be back in the USAC National Sprint Car Series. It's going to be a really good season. I'd have to say this will be the most prepared I've ever been for the start of a sprint car season. The TSR team has worked really hard in the past few months and we're as prepared as any or most of the teams I've ever driven for. I think that Levi and I are going to be contenders to win a lot of races this year and I think we're going to start off the season on a good note this weekend."
You've won at Anderson Speedway in the past. Is it a hard track to plan a strategy for?
"Traditionally, passing at Anderson Speedway is difficult to do. I've won by passing on the outside, but there are very few instances where you can do so. The first race of the year is usually a follow-the-leader type of race. The cooler track temperatures and atmosphere don't allow the track to take a lot of rubber. The races at the end of May usually present more opportunities to pass. The track is racier and it takes a lot more rubber. For the April race, you just need to make sure you've got the car set-up as best as possible. The forecasted temperatures for this weekend will play into the event a lot and we're going to have to make adjustments to counter that."