USCS Set For Atlanta Pavement Battle
HAMPTON, Ga. – All paved roads lead to Atlanta.
After four races, six months and twists at every turn, the United Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N’s five-race “Road to Atlanta” Asphalt Thunder pavement series will conclude Friday night on the quarter-mile “Thunder Ring” at Atlanta Motor Speedway with the second annual Wind Creek Casino/Hotel Wetumpka USCS Sprint Car Shootout.
Last year’s inaugural event, won by California pavement sprint car ace and two-time Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series champion JoJo Helberg, drew a record crowd in excess of 30,000 people for fifty action-packed laps under the lights and on the biggest stage ever for paved 360 sprint car racing. The race was well-received and no more the first one was over, there was already buzz about a second one.
Defending winner Helberg officially told the USCS he will not be able to make the trip down south this weekend for the second running of the USCS Sprint Car Shootout at Atlanta, meaning we will have a new winner on the quarter-mile Friday night.
Drivers already pre-entered for the big show include 10-time USCS national champion and four-time USCS Asphalt Thunder champion Terry Gray, current USCS Asphalt Thunder points leader Morgan Turpen and two-time Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series champion Troy DeCaire, meaning that the field will be stacked with a mix of the most talented dirt and pavement sprint car drivers in the country when the green flag drops.
If you want one driver to keep a close eye on for the weekend, look no further than Tampa, Florida’s Joey Aguilar. Aguilar swept the most recent two USCS pavement races at Anderson (S.C.) Motor Speedway in July, and has three career USCS asphalt wins to his name since his debut with the tour in 2010. While Aguilar doesn’t run full-time on the USCS circuit, he does run predominantly at Showtime Speedway and with the Tampa Bay Area Racing Association (TBARA) pavement sprint car series, and barring any mechanical failures, he should likely be in contention for the win at the finish.
For teammates Morgan Turpen and Terry Gray, Friday night’s Atlanta race carries with it much more than just a shot at a check – it carries with it crucial championship points that will determine the champion for the 2014 USCS “Road to Atlanta” Asphalt Thunder mini-series.
Going into Friday’s pavement finale, Turpen leads Gray by 16 points – eight finishing positions on the race track. With a total of 60 points (50 for the feature and 10 more for winning the Hoosier Speed Dash) up for grabs once both drivers pull into the track and receive their 100 show up points, it’s not over by any stretch, but Turpen still has to be on her game if she wants to become the first female champion in any USCS division.
The scenario is as complex as it is simple – both drivers will be in the dash, so their finishing positions there will impact how the gap shakes out for feature time – but if Gray wins the dash and Turpen were to finish sixth (which would result in Gray cutting the gap by five points, down to 11) and then Gray goes on to win the feature, Turpen can still finish sixth and claim the asphalt title by one point.
In short, no matter what Terry Gray does on Friday at Atlanta, if Morgan Turpen finishes sixth or better in the main event, she will claim the 2014 Road to Atlanta championship.