AS 2010 SEASON OPENS IN TAMPA FEBRUARY 8-10
Levi Jones of Olney, Ill. hopes to add his name to a short list of drivers who have won four championships in a single USAC National racing series. The 2010 Amsoil USAC Sprint Car season opens February 8-10 with the “Bubba Army Sprint Nationals” at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla., a Tampa suburb.
The three-night racing program showcases USAC’s spectacular open-wheel competition on one of America’s most exciting short dirt ovals where wheelstands, bicycling and wheel-to-wheel competition are all part of the game, producing more passing in one night than many racing series provide in an entire season!
Jones earned his third USAC National Sprint car title last year and would become only the sixth driver to reach four titles in a single National series, joining A.J. Foyt (7 Championship Cars), Mel Kenyon (7 Midgets), Butch Hartman (5 Stock cars), Steve Butler (4 Sprints) and Rich Vogler (4 Midgets).
Jones will pilot the Bass Pro Shops/Chevy Tony Stewart Racing entry in the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night portions of East Bay’s 34th Winternationals, marking USAC’s first dirt-track Sprint races in the Sunshine state since Vogler’s victory at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa in 1987.
The 2005, 2007 and 2009 champion also finished second in the 2006 standings behind Josh Wise and his four wins last year brought his career total of USAC Sprint feature triumphs to 16. He also earned his second Indiana Sprint Week title last year, edging Bryan Clauson by a single point!
“It’s always nice to get out of Indiana in the winter time and enjoy the sunshine,” says Levi, who won a non-winged feature at East Bay three years ago. “It’s a racy track but it can change from one night to the next so you have to be at the top of your game to adjust to the conditions. I’m anxious to get back in the swing of things and it would be nice to get that fourth title.” He’ll be in a brand-new Maxim chassis to start the 2010 campaign.
Jones will face a formidable field in the three Florida events. Expected to compete are 2008 Sprint Champ Jerry Coons Jr., 2006 Champ Wise, 2002 Champ Tracy Hines and 1999 Champ Dave Darland. Hines won USAC’s last race in Florida, a Silver Crown event at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2007.
Other former USAC Sprint winners in Florida include Larry Dickson (two in 1970), and Bob Sweikert, Chuck Weyant and Pat O’Connor in USAC’s initial year, 1956. Sweikert’s win came in the first USAC Sprint race ever held, at Southland Speedway in West Palm Beach.