LAS CRUCES, N.M. — It’s been more than six years since the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour has invaded New Mexico and more than 13 years since the series last visited Southern New Mexico Speedway.
That changes this weekend as the Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National Tour takes to the five-sixteenths-mile dirt oval for two full nights of racing this weekend.
Jason Johnson will try to tighten his grip on a possible second Lucas Oil ASCS National title while another champion, the legendary Steve Kinser, makes his first ASCS National start.
This weekend’s Southern New Mexico Speedway double, which includes $6,000 to the winner of Saturday night’s feature, kicks off a three-weekend swing through the Southwest that puts the wraps on the season for the Lucas Oil ASCS National series.
USA Raceway’s $15,000-to-win 43rd annual Western World Championships in Tucson follow Nov. 18-20, with the season concluding the following weekend with the Las Vegas Sprint Car Super Nationals Nov. 26-27 at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Vying for a second series championship after settling for runner-up honors to Shane Stewart last year, Johnson carries a 72-point lead into this weekend’s Southwest Swing opener.
Up to 64 points can be gained or lost between a first and 24th-place finish, so one miscue and 20-year-old Brady Bacon can be right back in the mix, with defending series champion Stewart holding out hope as well.
In addition to the battle for the series championship, a little history will be made tonight at Southern New Mexico Speedway. Tonight’s preliminary event will mark the 600th event in ASCS National history.
Several series contenders have topped previous landmark events, including Tim Crawley, Zach Chappell and Gary Wright.
After Lee Scrape defended his Florida turf to win the 100th feature in ASCS National history at Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 31, 1997, Tim Crawley won the 200th feature at Oklahoma’s Creek County Speedway July 25, 1999.
Chappell won the 300th feature in series history with a Jetmore (Kan.) Motorplex score May 25, 2002, while Wright topped both the 400th (Oklahoma City’s State Fair Speedway July 3, 2004) and 500th features (Little Rock’s I-30 Speedway July 14, 2007).