Tony Stewart Racing Captures 2010 USAC Sprint Car Series Owner Title
INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 18, 2010: Levi Jones came into the 2010 racing season as a man on a mission. He wanted to win his fourth career USAC National Sprint Car Series title – in an even-numbered year. Jones felt like the odds were literally stacked against him as his three previous titles had come in the odd-numbered years of 2005, 2007 and 2009.
Having already locked up the 2010 USAC Silver Crown Series title by mid-October, Jones went on to finally break his personal tradition on the USAC Sprint Car Series front and closed out the 2010 championship in Saturday’s 30-lap season finale at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. Perhaps the fact that this even-numbered year of 2010 contains the name of both his racecars – the No. 20 Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Sprint Car and the No. 10 Silver Crown machine for co-entrants TSR and Curb-Agajanian – should have been an omen.
“At the beginning of the season, we decided we were going to put the thought that we couldn’t win a title in an even-numbered year to rest,” Jones said. “Not only did we win one title, we won both of them. It was really cool to win both the USAC Sprint Car and Silver Crown Series championships in one year. It was an unbelievable year and I’m really proud of the entire Tony Stewart Racing team. It was definitely our year, and carrying the No. 20 and No. 10 to a championship in 2010 is awesome.”
Jones won the Sprint Car Series championship driving the No. 20 STP/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/Maxim in 39 events during the 2010 season, earning team partners STP, Chevy and Bass Pro Shops their third championship in non-winged Sprint Car racing’s premiere division. The title marked Jones’ fourth career title and tied him for the lead with Steve Butler on the USAC Sprint Car Series career championships list.
The championship marked the fifth USAC Sprint Car Series title for car owner Tony Stewart. TSR earned its first Sprint Car Series championship in 2003 with J.J. Yeley. Josh Wise won the 2006 title, while Jones earned the 2007 and 2009 series championships for TSR and followed it up with this year’s win. The championship is Stewart’s 10th in USAC, as he also has five Silver Crown titles, and his 13th overall as a car owner, with the other three championships coming in the rough-and-tumble World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.
“It feels great to win a fourth USAC Sprint Car Series championship,” said the 28-year-old Jones, who resides in Swansea, Ill. “I’ve said it before: I would’ve never dreamed, growing up, that I’d become a USAC champion, let alone become a five-time champion in two divisions. It’s a great feeling to know that I’ve tied Steve Butler for the most USAC Sprint Car Series championships. To have my name in that kind of company is awesome, and I’m already looking forward to 2011 to see if we can take over the top spot and win five Sprint Car titles.
“Every season, our goal is to win the championship and, this year, we were able to win our fourth championship. It takes a lot of commitment from the team and our partners. The people at STP/Armor All, Bass Pro Shops and Chevy give us an opportunity to compete for a championship each year and we sincerely appreciate their support. It’s really a team effort, and I can’t thank the TSR team (Jimmy Carr, John Sayne, Eric Prutzman, Michael Lewis, Brad Mariscotti and Kenny VanDam) enough. It was also great to have my mom and sister with me this weekend, and I especially want to thank our team owner, Tony Stewart, for giving me the opportunity to drive for his team. He supported our USAC efforts this season out of his own pocket and I’m really proud to be a part of his organization.”
Jones clinched the Sprint Car Series title Nov. 6 at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway in the final night of the Budweiser Oval Nationals event. He carried a 92-point advantage over his nearest challenger, Damion Gardner, to claim the championship. In the final race of the season Sunday night at Thunderbowl Raceway, Jones qualified eighth and won the fourth heat to transfer into the feature event. After starting third in the 30-lap feature, Jones drove to a second-place finish.
The 2010 season has been a stellar one for Jones and the STP/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy team. En route to earning eight USAC Sprint Car Series victories, Jones also picked up two USAC Silver Crown Series victories. Jones notched 24 top-five and 31 top-10 finishes in 39 USAC Sprint Car Series events this season.
Jones has driven for team owner Stewart since the 2006 season. The two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion was thrilled to have Jones and the STP/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy team capture its fourth series crown.
“To have Levi win a fourth USAC Sprint Series championship is a very proud moment for me,” Stewart said. “When he came to TSR, he was already a championship-caliber driver and, to have been able to watch him mature and grow into a five-time USAC champion is something that’s really special for me as a car owner.
“USAC racing is some of the most competitive racing in the country and it says a lot about the TSR organization. To have been able to win both the Sprint Car and Silver Crown titles in one year is definitely something to celebrate. I’m very proud of the TSR team and couldn’t have asked for a better end to the season.
“It’s also exciting to win a third USAC Sprint car championship with Armor All/STP, Bass Pro Shops, Curb Records and Chevy. Those brands have been a huge part of my racing career and I’m extremely proud to win another championship with them as partners on our open-wheel programs. We’re looking forward to continuing our relationship with them as we move forward.”
With the 2010 USAC racing season wrapped up, Jones will return to action with the USAC National Midget Car Series on Nov. 20 at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway. For more information, log on to www.venturaraceway.com.