IN THIS WEEK’S “BUBBY ARMY SPRINT NATIONALS”
The USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series returns to its foundation this week as Ocala (Fla.) Speedway hosts the second annual “Bubba Army Sprint Nationals” Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Bob Sweikert, the 1955 Indianapolis 500 Champion, won the first USAC Sprint race ever held, at Southland Speedway in West Palm Beach, Fla. on February 5, 1956, but in the ensuing 55 years the USAC Sprints returned to the Sunshine State only eight times!
Last year’s two victories by Damion Gardner at East Bay Raceway were the first since Dave Steele’s win at Orlando’s Speed World in 2005. Chuck Weyant and Pat O’Connor took 1956 wins at Jacksonville Speedway and Miami’s Medley Speedway respectively, while Larry Dickson swept a pair of 1970 races at Miami’s Hollywood Speedway. Rich Vogler was the 1987 winner on the dirt at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.
This week’s races mark only the third appearance for USAC’s Sprint cars on Florida dirt. Separate complete events are slated Thursday, Friday and Saturday and a special concert by rock band Society Red augments Saturday’s program.
Defending AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Champion Levi Jones leads a strong contingent of drivers representing states from New York to California and Michigan to Oklahoma.
Jones will face a strong challenge from last year’s East Bay dynamo Gardner, while the projected field of entries also includes USAC Triple Crown Champs Dave Darland and Jerry Coons Jr., 2010 USAC National Drivers Champion Bryan Clauson, three-time USAC Silver Crown Champ Bud Kaeding, Indiana Sprint Week Champ Jon Stanbrough, 2010 USAC Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Justin Grant and former USAC Champs Tracy Hines and Bobby East.
The Ocala races are USAC’s first at the 3/8-mile dirt oval and open the first all-dirt USAC National Sprint Championship Series in 24 years.