A FEW EXPECTED BANDITS...
The Fourth Annual O'Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour N' Topless Midwest Swing ignites in just a few more days, with Monday night's event in Missouri the first of six consecutive nights of wingless 410-ci Sprint Car racing action.
Well over $100,000 will be distributed to the nation's top wingless shoes over the course of the week, with a $10,000 point fund doled out to the week's top point earners.
A number of drivers have announced intentions to take in all or part of this year's O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing.
Following is a partial list of some of the drivers expected to be in action over the next week. The list is not all-inclusive and is subject to change.
2b Dave Darland (Lincoln, IN) – A TNT winner last year at I-80 Speedway, Darland tends to step up his game in the money races, as evidenced by a $30,000 score on Tuesday night. Dave has yet to vanquish Lakeside foes though.
5* Gary Taylor (Snohomish, WA) – A nomadic sort now residing in Sapulpa, OK, after several years in Colorado tries to add a TNT title to past championship hardware earned in Sprint Cars (ASCS Rocky Mountain Region) and Midgets (RMMRA). With three ASCS Sooner Region feature wins to his credit and ranked fourth in points despite missing one race, "GT" added his initial pair of ASCoT National wins during the recent Toyota Tundra ASCS Speedweek.
10 Darren Hagen (Riverside, CA) – Hagen is billed as the World's Fastest Sprint Car driver after a lap of 146 mph at Iowa Speedway last year. Hagen moves into the seat of the familiar Trucker's No. 10 for TNT.
10T Thomas Meseraull (Fresno, CA) – The West Coast gasser teams with Hagen in the second Trucker's car. The 2004 BCRA Midget champion is currently ranked second in MSCS points.
11 Hunter Schuerenberg (Sikeston, MO) – "Hundred Percent" has racked up six wins in the Hoosier State this year including an Indiana Sprint Week triumph at Haubstadt's Tri-State Speedway.
14 Coleman Gulick (Binghamton, NY) – The 15-year-old New York native has relocated to Indiana to pursue Wingless Sprint Car racing. He got a look at State Fair Speedway and Creek County Speedway last year with a wing during ASCS Speedweek.
15 R.J. Johnson (Phoenix, AZ) – Currently fifth in ASCS Canyon Region points, R.J. picked of an ASCS Canyon Region win at Manzanita on April 26.
17 Chris Windom (Canton, IL) – The 17-year-old was a TNT winner at South Coffeyville, OK, last year.
21 Cory Kruseman (Ventura, CA) – The two-time Chili Bowl champion fields a three-car team for TNT action. "The Kruser" has won ten or more features for nine consecutive years.
21s Charles Davis, Jr. (Buckeye, AZ) – Currently second in ASCS Canyon Region points with five feature wins, "Chargin'" Charles has competed in all three previous TNT swings aboard Mark Swanson's distinctive No. 21s entry.
32 Casey Shuman (Tempe, AZ) – Casey teams with Arizona car owner Rex Foster for TNT this time around. "Lil' Shu" has won six features this year in four different cars with three of the wins coming aboard Foster's entry including two in ASCS Canyon Region action. Casey is the current point leader at Indiana's Gas City I-69 Speedway
41k Henry Clarke (Villa Park, CA) – The rookie shoe pilots a second Kruseman entry.
55 Tony Everhart (El Cajon, CA) – Battle-tested in Sprint Bandits action, Everhart makes the haul from the Left Coast for more Tour 'N Topless action.
71 Damion Gardner (Concord, CA) – The reigning Chili Bowl champion and 2005 USAC/CRA champ tries TNT for the second year in a row. "The Demon" has picked off four wins in local Indiana action this year.
71k Austin Mero (Kingsburg, CA) – The 2007 Ventura Raceway Junior Ford Focus champion is now under the topless tutelage of Cory Kruseman.
75 Jesse Hockett (Warsaw, MO) – The 2006 TNT Midwest Swing champion and two-time Lakeside Wingless Classic winner makes another run at TNT glory. "The Rocket" has seven winged wins to his credit this season.
76 Mike Leslie (Litchfield Park, AZ) – Currently ranked eighth in ASCS Canyon Region points, Leslie hits the TNT trail for the second time.
81 Robert Ballou (Rocklin, CA) – The reigning TNT co-champion, Ballou posted his first career non-wing win in 2006 TNT action at I-80 Speedway and a year later topped the final three legs of 2007 TNT, including the $10,000 to win Ron Shuman Classic at Lakeside. Robert has posted three feature wins thus far in 2008.
92 Daron Clayton (Sikeston, MO) – Recently landing back in the seat of the family-owned No. 92 entry, "The Modern Day Cowboy" still has TNT festivities penciled in on his schedule.
97 Bret Mellenberndt (Sioux Falls, SD) – Ready for his third TNT tour, Bret has picked off three recent wins at Rapid Speedway in Rock Rapids, IA.
Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, OK) – The driver of the Kasey Kahne Racing Mopar entry in USAC Sprint Car and Midget action takes the wheel of a second Tel-Star Communications entry for the 2008 edition of Sprint Bandits TNT.
Don’t miss round one, Monday August 11th at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks, the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO. For more information including how to score FREE pit passes log on to LucasOilSpeedway.com or call (417) 282-5984.
(Courtesy of Lonnie Wheatley)