Courtney Takes Two Winter Dirt Games Wins

(Rich Forman photo)  

Lonnie Wheatley, INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (February 23, 2018) – It was a near perfect start to the 2018 USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car season for Tyler Courtney and the Clauson-Marshall-Newman Racing Priority Aviation No. 7bc Sprint Car team.

Only slowed by a cut tire in the opening leg of last weekend’s “Winter Dirt Games” at Bubba Raceway Park, “Sunshine” stormed to victory lane on both Friday and Saturday night atop the 3/8-mile clay oval in Ocala, FL, to escape the Sunshine State among the top three in series points.

“It’s good for everyone on the team,” the driver of the Rider-powered Driven2SaveLives Spike-chassis explains.  “It gives us a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season, it takes a lot of question marks out about whether this was the right move to make or not.”

There was little to question about the Schoenfeld Headers/Wilwood Brakes team in last weekend’s set of events.

“The only thing that could have been better would have been to win the opening night too,” Courtney comments.  “I didn’t get the greatest of qualifying laps and put us behind the eight ball.”

After winning his heat race, Courtney was still on the move in Thursday’s opening round of the “Winter Dirt Games” before a cut tire interrupted his charge.

“We had passed seven cars in the first ten laps, the car was definitely good,” Courtney explained after his run from the 17th starting position.

Courtney went on to salvage an eleventh-place finish in the opener before literally owning the rest of the weekend on Friday and Saturday.

He timed in third aboard the CSI Shocks/Walker Filtration entry on Friday before winning his heat race and then making an impressive slide past two rivals into the lead on the third round of the feature.  Courtney led the rest of the way in the 30-lapper for his first triumph of the young season after posting 15 wins last year.

“I knew I needed to get there,” Courtney explains.  “I was running that next groove up from where they were and it stuck.  I knew it was only a matter of time before they got there too.  So, I knew I needed to get by them and get going.”

After timing in eighth on Saturday night, Courtney won his third heat race of the weekend and landed on the pole of the 30-lap “Winter Dirt Games” finale.  He left little doubt from there, bursting into the lead at the outset and checking out on the field for a second win in as many nights.

“I think it handled even better tonight,” Courtney commented afterward.  “We were able to go pretty much anywhere I put it.”

It was the season opening weekend that “Sunshine” and the Clauson-Marshall-Newman Racing team was seeking.

“We made our mark, was just have to keep digging,” Courtney says. 

“I’m anxious to get to the next one at Lawrenceburg, I just wish it was sooner,” Courtney comments of the next race on the USAC National Sprint Car slate on March 31.  “That will give the guys plenty of time to go through everything and be sure we’re ready.”

The opening weekend’s wins also came aboard a car that featured a throwback look to a past Bryan Clauson entry.

“That was a cool throwback to a car that Bryan drove for Chuck (Eberhardt) and Fred (Zirzow),” Courtney explains.  “That meant a lot because Chuck and Fred were the first guys to take chance on me and put me in a car when nobody knew if could even race or not.”

“Sunshine” clearly carried the colors admirably.

After what will be a rare idle weekend, Courtney is back in action next Wednesday and Thursday with the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas for the Seventh Annual Sin City Showdown aboard Mike Phulps’ Metal Works No. 56 Sprint Car.

2018 Quick Stats:  5 races, 2 wins, 3 top-fives, 3 top-tens.

Up Next: USAC West Coast Sprint Cars at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on Wednesday and Thursday, February 28 and March 1.  For those unable to catch the action in person, it is available via PPV on www.dirtvision.com.

Keep Track:  Keep track of Tyler Courtney’s on-track action including schedule and results at www.tylercourtney.com.

If you would like Tyler Courtney Racing press releases e-mailed directly to you, send your e-mail address to Lonnie Wheatley at lonniewheatley@gmail.com.

Penning the recurring series of “The Wheatley Chronicles” articles on www.sprintcarmania.com, Lonnie Wheatley provides media, public relations and more for select tracks, drivers and events.  For more information, Wheatley may be contacted at lonniewheatley@gmail.com.


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