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Newly-configured ovals await USMTS drivers in I-20 Showdown

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Newly-configured ovals await USMTS drivers in I-20 Showdown


TYLER, Texas (March 23) -- The Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Championship powered by Swan Energy doesn’t begin for nearly five months, but as many as 36 drivers will have already locked themselves into the season-ending title chase following this weekend’s trio of events along the I-20 corridor.


On Thursday, March 24, the Rose Bowl Speedway in Winona, Texas, welcomes the open-wheel outlaws for the first time ever, and then on Friday the series returns to the Boothill Speedway in Greenwood, La., before wrapping up the weekend on Saturday at the Lonestar Speedway in Kilgore, Texas.


All three tracks have undergone extensive renovations over the past twelve months, all three events will carry a $2,000 top prize with a minimum of $200 to start the main event each night and all three shows will award points in the Southeast Region points race.


EXIT 571B: Thursday’s event at the Rose Bowl Speedway will be the first for the USMTS Modifieds at Robert Hardy’s resurrected red clay oval just outside of Tyler, and this might be the “wild card” for the Southeast Region drivers.


According to Kenny Wallace, “The USMTS is the NASCAR Sprint Series for dirt modifieds.” If that’s the case, then the Rose Bowl Speedway could very well be the series’ Darlington.


The ‘Dirt Track Too Tough to Tame’ will have to be tamed by someone if they want to stay up in the points standings.


Fans can expect dozens of renovations to the grandstand area while drivers will be racing on a fast surface that is 90 feet wide all the way around the high-banked 3/8-mile oval.


Gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 7. Factory Stocks, Southern Hot Stock Outlaws, Dirt Stocks and Cruisers will also be on the racing card.


The Rose Bowl Speedway is located off of I-20 at exit 571-B, then 0.3 mile north, then 1.0 mile east on FM 1252. For more information call 903-877-3414 or visit www.rosebowlspeedway.com online.


EXIT 3: The USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Championship powered by Swan Energy returns to the Boothill Speedway in Greenwood, La., on Friday after a one-year hiatus.


Two years year ago, a caution flag with five laps to go doomed Kelly Shryock as it erased a seven-second lead and allowed Jason Hughes to muscle his way to victory. Hughes also bagged the feature win in the series debut here in 2007, while Jack Sullivan won in April 2009 on the big 7/16-mile oval.


But that was then, and this is now.


If you liked Boothill Speedway before, wait until you see it now. Race fans and drivers alike will find a newly-refurbished facility under the leadership of Jim Burford with a racier, shorter but wider 1/3-mile oval this time around.


In 2010, Burford was forced to cancel the track’s USMTS event due to heavy rain and flooding in the Shreveport area, so this will be the first time on the new configuration for most of the USMTS road warriors. As such, Friday’s show offers a great advantage to the track’s fierce weekly regulars like Chris Henigan, Jamie Burford, Ronald Pilkington, Larry Clevenger, Dustin Hyde, Brett Washburn, Larry Fears, Randy Payne Jr., T.J. Evans, Billy Robinson and others.


Factory Stocks, Limited Modified and Beginners will also be in action. The first heat race is slated to hit the track at 8 p.m.


The Boothill Speedway is located west of Shreveport on I-20 to the Carthage-Morningsport Exit (exit 3), then 0.2 mile north, then east on McGee Rd. For more information call 318-840-7223 or check out www.boothillspeedway.org online.


EXIT 583: On Saturday, March 26, the Lonestar Speedway in Kilgore, Texas, will host the USMTS Modifieds for the second time, but once again it will be just like visiting a new facility and a completely different racetrack.


Several inches of rain in the days leading up to last year’s event made for a bumpy surface, but neither the track nor the pressure of battling the top dirt Modified drivers in America phased Johnny Scott as he earned his career-first victory in USMTS competition.


The 1/2-mile speed plant has now being transformed to include a wide, high-banked 1/4-mile track.


The gates will open at 4 p.m. and the green flag will fly at 7:30. Also taking to the dirt will be Limited Modifieds racing for $600 to win and Factory Stocks battling for a $300 top prize.


The Lonestar Speedway is a 1/2-mile high-banked dirt oval located just off of I-20 at Exit 583, then 0.5 mile north on SR 135, then 1.0 mile east on FM 1252, then 0.5 mile south. For more information call 903-986-9731 or check out www.lonestarspeedway.com.


With the incorporation of the USMTS Southern Series into the USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Tour powered by Swan Energy for 2011, this year’s slate is divided into six regions where drivers can compete for lucrative regional points funds and earn a chance to compete for the USMTS National Championship crown.


Each of the six regions are worth up to $2,500 for the highest points earner while the 2011 USMTS National Champion will earn $20,000.


All drivers ranked among the top-10 in points or with perfect attendance in the Southeast Region after Saturday’s event will earn a spot in the Hunt for the USMTS Casey’s General Stores National Championship powered by Swan Energy.


Currently 36 drivers are in contention to finish in the top-10 or have perfect attendance in the Southeast Region heading into this weekend’s tripleheader.



1. 12 Jason Hughes ... 463 (2 wins)

2. 19r Ryan Gustin ... 430 (2 wins)

3. 5w John O Whittington ... 405 (1 win)

4. 3 Kelly Shryock ... 363

5. 5T Randy Timms ... 350

6. 9 Shane Hebert ... 347

7. 88xxx Clyde Dunn Jr. ... 344

8. 18s Cody Smith ... 333

9. 23 Howard Willis ... 330

10. 95 Keith Foss ... 328

11. 20 Rodney Sanders ... 326

12. 22b Rick Beebe ... 325

13. 30 Chase Allen ... 318

14. 9 Jimmy Ray ... 316

15. 02 Tommy Weder Jr. ... 311

16. 4r Dereck Ramirez ... 301

17. 69 Lucas Schott ... 287

18. 707 P.J. Egbert ... 282

19. 1 T.J. Herndon ... 278

20. A1 Phil Dixon ... 276

21. 12c Corey Babbitt ... 273

22. 88xx Bobby Malchus ... 271

23. 1st Johnny Scott ... 259*

24. 156 Steve Pugh ... 257

25. 56 David Horner ... 254

26. 20r Bryan Rowland ... 252

27. 89 Steven Whiteaker Jr. ... 248

28. 87 John Webb ... 246

29. 51 Tracy Denby Jr. ... 238

29. 10 Aaron Jorden ... 238

31. 71h Philip Houston ... 232

32. 955 Robert Metz Jr. ... 230

33. 76 Jesse Manning ... 225

33. 7x Rory Jordan ... 225

33. 21 Troy Seidl ... 225

33. 76 Jeff Rowland ... 225


Note: All of the above drivers have competed in all five Southeast Region events so far. Johnny Scott has competed in just three of the five events, but is only 69 points out of the top-10 with three races to go this weekend.


The series will return to the Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, this November for the final three events in the Southeast Region after the completion of ‘The Hunt.’


To learn more about the United States Modified Touring Series, visit www.usmts.com online or call 515-832-7944. You can also follow the USMTS on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube.


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