TSR, Jones, Hines opening weekend preview

TONY STEWART RACING'S USAC DUO Prepares for Midwestern Debut Jones, Hines and Chevy Ready for Midwestern Season-Opening USAC Sprint and Midget Series Action INDIANAPOLIS (April 3, 2008) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Levi Jones and Tracy Hines...

TONY STEWART RACING'S USAC DUO Prepares for Midwestern Debut

Jones, Hines and Chevy Ready for Midwestern Season-Opening USAC Sprint and Midget Series Action

INDIANAPOLIS (April 3, 2008) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Levi Jones and Tracy Hines are poised to make their first appearance at the legendary Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Saturday as the USAC National Sprint Car Series officially kicks off the 2008 racing season. Both Jones and Hines will look to put their names in the record books as the first series winner at Tony Stewart's half-mile dirt track.

Jones and the No. 20 TSR/Chevy/Bass Pro Shops team will open defense of their 2007 USAC Sprint Series championship this weekend. The two-time USAC series champion earned one of the biggest victories of his career on the high banks of Eldora on Sept. 24, 2005, when he won the Sprint Series portion of the USAC 4-Crown Nationals. In his last appearance at the facility on Sept. 22, 2007, Jones drove to a 14th-place finish in the American Revolution Weekend USAC 4-Crown Nationals Sprint feature.

Hines will make his first appearance at Eldora since battling back from an off-road motorcycle accident in late April of 2007. The five-time USAC Sprint Series feature winner set quick time in qualifying during his last appearance at the track on April 28, 2007. He drove to a ninth-place finish in the feature event, which would be his last race at the facility for the season. Saturday's event will also mark Hines' first appearance in a USAC Sprint Series entry since rejoining TSR.

On Sunday, TSR will compete at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway for the first Midwestern USAC National Midget Car Series event of the year. Hines, currently ranked fourth in the series championship standings, will seek his first series win since 2006 in Sunday's 50-lap feature. Jones suffered a DNF in his last appearance at the facility on Sept. 15, 2007, when he lost an ignition box early in the race.

TSR and Jones will also participate in several pre-event appearances on Friday and Saturday. Jones, along with the TSR team transporter and show car, will start the weekend at Ron Garrett Chevrolet in Greenville, Ohio. Following an autograph session and live radio remote with 97.5 WTGR from 5--7 p.m. EDT, Jones will join USAC Racing's Rob Klepper and other USAC drivers for an appearance at Tail Gators Bar and Grill in Greenville. Klepper will host an interactive interview session with race fans and drivers from 7--9 p.m. Jones and other USAC Racing teams will then participate in and open house, cookout and meet-and-greet Saturday morning at Advance Auto Parts in Greenville. That event is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Levi Jones, driver of the No. 20TSR/Chevy/Maxim -- USAC National Sprint Car Series, and the No. 20 TSR/Chevy/Spike -- USAC National Midget Car Series

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, 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."

What's the key to being able to pass at Anderson Speedway?

"At Anderson, you just can't get your car too tight. You have to be able to turn in the center and get back on the gas before the guy behind you does. You hopefully can get a nose under them and beat them to the straightaway. Anderson is a tight place, but with patience and experience you can move forward. I won my first pavement race there last year in the Sprint car and I'd like to be able to put Chevy and Bass Pro Shops back in the winner's circle on Sunday."

Tracy Hines, driver of the No. 21 TSR/Chevrolet/Maxim -- USAC National Sprint Car Series, and the No. 21/TSR/Chevy/Spike -- USAC National Midget Car Series

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."

What types of challenges does a race team face at a track like Anderson Speedway?

"I like racing at Anderson Speedway but I don't like that it's a really hard place to pass. You can have the fastest car on the race track, start sixth and finish sixth with nothing really to do but hit someone in the back of their car for the entire race. It's typically a one-groove race track. But, with that being said, it presents the same challenges to everyone at the same time. We'll try to qualify in a good position and come out of our heat race to start up front. We'll see how the day plays out."

-credit: tsr

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Tracy Hines , Levi Jones