Sunshine Speeds In Oval Nationals Drills

Tyler Courtney captured the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series title. (Adam Mollenkopf Photo)

PERRIS, Calif. — The top drivers in the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car points recorded the top-two lap times in Wednesday night’s practice session at Perris Auto Speedway in preparation for the 23rd annual Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by All Coast Construction Thursday through Saturday.

Tyler Courtney, who trails Kevin Thomas Jr. in the standings by just two points, topped the charts with a lap of 16.419 seconds around the half-mile dirt oval aboard his Clauson Marshall Newman Racing/NOS Energy Drink – Priority Aviation/Spike/Rider Chevy.

Thomas was second fastest at 16.435, while Justin Grant, Jason McDougal and Brady Bacon rounded out the top five among the 27 cars who took to the track.

Third in the national standings, reigning champ Chris Windom, did not partake in the practice session. He’s 50 points out of the series lead coming into these final three races of the 2018 season.

Meanwhile, a tight USAC/CRA Sprint Car point race will also be decided this week with Damion Gardner holding a nine-point lead over Brody Roa. Gardner is aiming for his sixth-straight series crown and seventh overall, while Roa is gunning for his first. Neither driver participated in Wednesday’s session.

A car count in the mid-40s is expected for the Oval Nationals, which has a purse of over $131,000 and a payout of $25,000 to Saturday night’s feature winner.

On Thursday and Friday, the pits open at noon, front gates open at 4pm, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and cars on track at 5:30pm.  On Saturday, the pits open at noon, front gates open at 3pm, autograph session from 3-4pm, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and cars on track at 5:15pm.