LeVan, a native of Statesville, N.C., considers Tri-County one of his two home tracks on the tour and his career best finish came at his other home track of Hickory earlier this year when he finished seventh. At the Banjo Matthews Memorial 150, he was running fourth when his car overheated.
“Hickory should’ve been really good for us, but it turned into a not so good night,” said LeVan. “I drove my way up to fourth without radios because they went out at the very start of the race, and then the car started overheating. I was pretty upset, but the good news is we were in the top five when it happened. I just hope that we can put it all together at Tri-County.”
One of the hottest rookies on the tour recently has been 13-year old Garrett Jones. Jones graduated from limited late models to the UARA-STARS Late Model Series this year and has caught fire with his crew chief, Roger Johnson. Jones ran in the top ten all race at Hickory and had a top three car two races ago at Anderson before a flat tire derailed his efforts. He also qualified on the outside pole at Anderson, a career best effort for his Chevrolet.
“You wouldn’t think it to look at him, but this kid is one heck of a wheelman,” said Roger Johnson, the crew chief on the No. 88 of Garrett Jones. “We’ve been working together for a while, and he gives great feedback and really helps us to get the car dialed in to what he wants. He’s starting to learn how these races play out, his endurance is increasing, and he should be a very real threat to win these races sometime soon. It would be cool if we ended up winning Tri-County. We’re certainly going to try to get the win. It’s a driver’s racetrack.”
Tri-County has a history of producing first-time winners in UARA-STARS competition. Recent first-time winners at the facility include Matt Kurzejewski (under crew chief Roger Johnson), R.A. Brown, and former series champion Brennan Poole (under crew chief David King). With the majority of the field in Friday night’s race winless in UARA-STARS competition, the odds favor another first-time winner at the Hudson, NC, facility.
Series veterans who will be looking for another win at Tri-County include Ronnie Bassett Jr., Garrett Campbell and Travis Swaim. Swaim and Campbell won the two most recent races at the facility while Bassett won the only UARA event at the track in 2011.