Lucas Oil Sprint Cars in the Wild West!
by Stephanie Odom on March 7, 2011
King of California Kyle Larson celebrating his first ASCS Victory aboard Jason Johnson Racing and Finley Farms No. 41 at Giant Chevrolet Speedway. (Photo courtesy of Steve Curtis at RaceImages.net)
The ASCS National Tour invaded California for the first time not long ago and prolonged their visit to the West Coast for the 5th Annual Copper on Dirt at USA Raceway in Tucson, Arizona.
With California drivers Tim Kaeding and Kyle Larson defending their home court they left their competition with nothing more to enjoy than the California weather. Johnny Herrera scored a preliminary win for the Copper on Dirt with Shane Stewart bringing home the $6,000 on the final night of racing.
The first four races saw fifty-six drivers with sixteen checking in every night. The stage is set for the 20th season of ASCS racing with action resuming on March 25th for the Devil’s Bowl Spring Nationals in Mesquite, TX.
Way back in the 1930’s, drought and the ensuing “Dust Bowl” sent Okies westward to California in search of greener pastures and a brighter future.
Now, in 2011, it was snow and icy conditions that sent Okiesalong with Arkies, Kansans, Texans andmore back to California, this time in pursuit of some palatable weather along with the initial pair of Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National events in the Golden State.
Teams and fans weren’t disappointed, welcomed to California with ideal weather that spilled over to the following weekend in Tucson, although the wind whipped across the desert quite mightily on the final day of the Copper on Dirt.
From Tulare’s high-banked, paperclip Thunderbowl to the get-your-spurs-on, cowboy-up Kings Speedway in Hanford and then on to the sweeping, multi-grooveUSA Raceway in Tucson that was conducive to white-knuckle, feature slide-jobbing action, the 2011 tone has been set. And, all indications are, the 2011 Lucas Oil Sprint Car on-track action will be off the charts.
A total of 56 different drivers took in at least one of the opening four nights of Lucas Oil Sprint Car action, with 16 taking in all four. Those competing in all four opening events included Brady Bacon, Seth Bergman, Tony Bruce, Jr., Zach Chappell, Tim Crawley, Logan Forler, Andy Forsberg, Johnny Herrera, Mason Moore, Dustin Morgan, Aaron Reutzel, Trey Starks, Shane Stewart, Jeff Swindell, Gary Wright and Zach Zimmerly.
All but open-trailer proponent Forsberg, 14-year-old Starks (still busy with that pesky school stuff) and Zimmerlyplan on full Lucas Oil Sprint Car campaigns in 2011, with Moore’s Van Dyke No. 5h team on the fence as of Tucson. Also on hand for all four events was the JJR No. 41 that will have Jason Johnson back at the wheel beginning at Devil’s Bowl after capping off the World Series SprintCar title for Aussie car owner Alan Haynes.
The inaugural pair of Lucas Oil ASCS National events in California, February 9 at Tulare’s Thunderbowl Raceway and February 12 at Hanford’s Kings Speedway, both attracted 32 entries, a healthier number than many locals expected for the kickoff of the California conversion from open heads to the Brodix ASCS cylinder head. The number climbed to 38 the following weekend when the Lucas Oil Sprint Cars headlined USA Raceway’s Copper on Dirt for the first time on February 18-19.
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