A Snapshot Of 2018 Sprint Car Champions

Drivers from a wide array of backgrounds claimed championships across the winged sprint car world in 2018. A handful were first-time title winners, while some were repeat titlists and others added to multi-title legacies that they have created. A glance at some of these champions from various series follows as a cap is put on the 2018 season, with the 2019 campaign just around the corner.

All Star Circuit of Champions- Aaron Reutzel

From the drop of the first green flag of the season, Aaron Reutzel showed that he would be a title contender in his first season on the road with the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions. When the final checkered flag of the season, the Texan had racked up a series-best nine wins. Reutzel parlayed 30 top-10 finishes in 41 races, with 21 of those being top-five finishes into the All Stars title.

American Sprint Car Series (ASCS) National Tour- Sam Hafertepe Jr.

Sam Hafertepe Jr. added to his stellar stats in ASCS competition in 2018, claiming his third straight championship. By doing so, the native of Sunnyvale, TX, joined an elite group of drivers who have won three or more ASCS title in a row: Gary Wright, the late Jason Johnson and Terry Gray. Hafertepe led the series with seventh wins, along with 24 top-10 finishes of which 19 were top-five showings.

Empire Super Sprints (ESS)- Steve Poirier

Steve Poirier continued to add to his legacy with the ESS in 2018, claiming his eighth series title, which tied him with Mike Woodring for the most in series history. Poirier, who originally wasn’t going to run the full-time schedule in 2018, claimed nine overall wins, eight in point-paying events and one in a non-points event on asphalt. The veteran from Canada led the series in top-10 and top-five finishes as he edged out Jason Barney for the title by just 25 points.

Great Lakes Super Sprints (GLSS)- Dustin Daggett

Dustin Daggett turned in another solid season on his way to claiming the GLSS title. The veteran driver won a series-best six races and finished among the top-10 in all 14 events, with 13 of those being top-five showings. Daggett and his fellow GLSS competitors raced in Michigan, Indiana and Ontario over the course of the 2018 campaign.

Interstate Racing Association (IRA)- Jake Blackhurst

Jake Blackhurst was another driver who originally was not going to follow a series full-time in 2018, but after taking the IRA point lead early in the season, the Illinois native decided to chase points. That choice paid off as Blackhurst edged out Scotty Thiel by just seven markers to claim his first IRA title in his first year on the road with the series. Blackhurt won four races, coupled with the consistency of 17 top-10 finishes in 22 races to clinch the title.

King of the West- Kyle Hirst

Kyle Hirst embarked on an ambitious schedule in 2018, which saw him chase points in a couple of series on the West Coast, for the famed Roth Motorsports team, based out of the Fresno area. On his way to claiming the King of the West crown, Hirst led the series with five wins, along with topping the leaderboard in laps led and fast time awards. The championship was the fourth with the series for the second-generation driver.

Midwest Open Wheel Association (MOWA)- Jacob Patton

Jacob Patton was another of the first-time title winners in 2018, taking the top spot with the MOWA Series. The Illinois native was one of just two drivers with the series to qualify for each and every main event over the course of the 2018 campaign. Patton won his first MOWA race earlier in the season at Macon Speedway in his home state, which also marked his first-ever sprint car win. The young driver used consistency over the course of the 16-race season to secure the title over veteran driver Mike Terry.

National Championship Racing Association (NCRA)- Jeremy Campbell

Jeremy Campbell was steady all season on the NCRA tour to pick up his second straight and fourth overall championship. In 10 races, the veteran driver had a pair of wins to go along with eight top-10 finishes, with six of those being top-five performances. Campbell also claimed his eighth championship at 81 Speedway in Kansas.

Northern Outlaw Sprint Association (NOSA)- Wade Nygaard

Wade Nygaard reached double digits title with NOSA in 2018, claiming his 10thchampionship with the North Dakota-based series. The veteran driver won a series-best eight races en route to claiming the crown. Nygaard, who has been racing for nearly 30 years, also crossed the 270-win plateau for his career, during the 2018 season.

Patriot Sprint Tour (PST)- Chuck Hebing

Chuck Hebing continued to his legacy in 2018, earning his third Patriot Sprint Tour championship. He also claimed the PST Canadian min-series title. Hebing led the series with six wins en route to the title. The veteran driver had an average finish of fifth over the course of the 17-race season.

Sprint Car Challenge Tour (SCCT)- Kyle Hirst

By claiming the Sprint Car Challenge Tour championship, Kyle Hirst accomplished the goal of claiming two touring series titles in the same year, coupled with the King of the West championship. In SCCT action, Hirst was victorious twice and racked up top-10 finishes in all but two races on the schedule, with a series-leading nine top-five finishes.

Sprints on Dirt (SOD)- Chad Blonde

Chad Blonde was crowned the SOD champion in 2018 on the strength of fourth wins, which led the series. Blonde started the season off with five straight podium finishes to put him in the points lead, which he would hold the rest of the season. Blonde drove for 1999 SOD champion, Sean Robinson, who also was the crew chief for the No. 5B.

United Racing Club (URC)- Josh Weller

Josh Weller claimed the URC championship in 2018, in a season that saw the series battle Mother Nature to the tune of 11 rainouts. Along the way, Weller picked up three wins, including on opening night at Carolina Speedway in North Carolina. The veteran driver led the series in every statistical category in his championship winning season.

United Sprint Car Series USCS- Jordon Mallett

For the second consecutive season, Jordon Mallett, claimed the USCS National title. The native of Greenbrier, AR, won a series-best nine races on his way to the title. Mallett also earned the Deep South Thunder, Mid-South Thunder and Southern Thunder regional titles that the USCS sanctions. Mallett showed great consistency all season, finishing among the top 10 in 42 of the 45 USCS races, with 29 of those being top-five showings.

World of Outlaws- Donny Schatz

Schatz claimed his 10thWorld of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series championship in 2018, on the strength of 22 A-Feature wins. The North Dakota native became just the second driver in series history to reach double-digit title, second only to 20-time series titlist winner, Steve Kinser. Schatz used great consistency en route to the championship, garnering a series-best 66 top-10 in 71 races, with 52 top-five performances.

Guardino Wins Ventura's Battle of the Beach #1

After trading the lead with Jake Swanson, Tristan Guardino (Fremont, CA) sailed to his first USAC West Coast Sprint Car victory of the year at Ventura Raceway. Racing the family owned #15T Dorso’s Automotive / Allied Auto Stores Maxim, Tristan’s earned $1,500 for his efforts.

Swanson Perseveres in Memphis 100 Win

It takes a master of a craft for an individual to adapt to anything thrown at them.

Swanson Debuts with Nolen at the Top in Memphis Practice

Kody Swanson used Friday’s practice session at Memphis International Raceway to get acquainted with his new ride in the Nolen Racing No. 20 for the 2019 season.

Master Sprint Wrench Jack French Passes

Prolific crew chief Jack French passed away Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at home following a lengthy illness.  He was 75 years old.

Gordon the Most Experienced in Memphis Field

Of all the drivers in this weekend’s USAC Silver Crown field, no driver has more starts than Eric Gordon at 130 coming into the March 22-23 season-opening “Memphis 100” at Memphis International Raceway.

Leary Heads to Memphis to Begin Triple Crown Pursuit

Thus far in 2019, C.J. Leary has already established himself as a prime contender in USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget and AMSOIL National Sprint Car competition with a bright showing in Ocala, Fla., scoring a pair of top-five runs in the midget and a victory in the sprint car.

Dyson Races Uncommon Road to Silver Crown

Chris Dyson’s road to becoming a regular on the USAC Silver Crown circuit is quite unique.  Born into road racing heritage as the son of Sports Car racer and owner Rob Dyson, Chris eventually found his way to the top, capturing a pair of American Le Mans Series titles - the LMP675 driver's title in 2003 and the LMP1 championship in 2011.

Ventura Hosts Battle at the Beach Saturday

After last Saturday’s battle at Bakersfield, the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars will clash with the Ventura Racing Association (VRA) this Saturday, March 23rd at Ventura Raceway.

Swanson Begins New Era at Memphis 100

After finishing off the most successful run between a driver and team in the history of the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series with DePalma Motorsports, Kody Swanson is preparing for this coming season nearly from scratch, with a new team, new cars, new engines and a new home with Nolen Racing, beginning with this weekend’s “Memphis 100” at Tennessee’s Memphis International Raceway on March 22-23.

10-Time USAC Sprint Winning Owner Hillin Passes

Bobby Hillin, whose Longhorn Racing team notched 10 USAC National Sprint Car victories with drivers Bruce Walkup, Jackie Howerton, Jan Opperman and Bubby Jones between 1975 and 1977, passed away last weekend.  He was 79 years old.