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By Bryan Hulbert - Canadian Dylan Westbrook will contest the ASCS National Tour again this season. - SERENA DALHAMER PHOTO

2022 ASCS Preview

For 30 years, the American Sprint Car Series was owned by Emmett Hahn, who founded the series in 1992. Through the years, the tour saw immense growth and has seen some of today’s best sprint car racing talent use the series as a proving ground.

That’s how the series was designed, as a place for teams to enter and learn how to race, budget a team and progress through the ranks, while also providing a stable place for teams to race. In many ways it has become the Blue-Collar National Tour.

Enter the final weeks of last season, a new owner was announced. Wanting for some time to take a step back and focus more on the Tulsa Shootout and the Chili Bowl Nationals, Hahn sold the American Sprint Car Series. The person chosen as ASCS’s new steward was Drumright, Oklahoma’s Terry Mattox.

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Blake Hahn at Devil’s Bowl Speedway earlier this season. – SERENA DALHAMER PHOTO

Who is Terry Mattox?

For a lot of people, this was a name that had not been heard much outside the micro sprint scene. The founder of the National Open Wheel 600 Series in 2013, Mattox has grown the series to encompass a national tour, as well as 10 regional and weekly racing series.

During that time, Mattox also worked for the American Sprint Car Series. Starting in 2012, as the ASCS Sooner Region Director, Mattox worked into several roles within the ASCS office. Taking over as the ASCS National Schedule Coordinator in 2015, nearly every show run by the National Tour was booked by Mattox from there on out.

“I didn’t have ownership of the American Sprint Car Series on my mind at the time. At some point, I did want to take over directing the series when Matt [Ward] wanted to step back,” Mattox said. “As far as ownership, that option had crossed my mind before, more as a might, maybe, what if scenario, but I kind of shelved it in light of everything else I had going on, and figure it was something down the road I could build up to.”

“During 2021, Kerry Gorby and I had partnered in the purchase of the Oil Capital Racing Series (OCRS) and we were looking at a couple other things for the 2022 season, but a lot changed when I got that call from Emmett,” Mattox added. “To be honest, I was very speechless at first, but the more I thought about it, I couldn’t pass up the chance to own a series that had given me a chance, but one that I absolutely love.”

Making the announcement in October, several questions popped up. Mainly, what was going to change?

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Seth Bergman will be among the contenders for the ASCS National Tour title. – SERENA DALHAMER PHOTO

“Nothing crazy,” Mattox said. “I didn’t want to make a lot of changes going that were going to be overwhelming. Racing costs money, at every level, and the fewer changes we make, the better. There were things already in motion when I took over, like the aluminum block option, that we carried through and finalized, and I truly believe will be good for the overall health of the sport.

“I’ve seen a lot of small issues that saw teams forced to buy new blocks, so by giving them an option you can actually repair, it made sense to keep it going.”

In terms of what changed, Mattox focused mainly on travel and format.

“We had been toying around with different format ideas and how we could combine them and make it where teams could qualify, still use the heat races to advance and have everything work together so your qualifying rewards you, but doesn’t set everything,” Mattox explained. “In doing so, we combined aspect of the All Stars, ASCS and Knoxville, and just started bouncing the idea off different teams. Using their feedback to tweak the format and after seeing it work with NOW600, I’m very much looking forward to it on the ASCS side of things.”

While a lot of focus is being made on Mattox and what he plans to do, the other question that many have had is who will be racing under the ASCS banner? There will be a lot of new talent, as well as several teams remaining with the series.

First and foremost, the champ is back. Finally earning a National Tour title, Blake Hahn will continue to follow the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series in his own DriveWFX.com/Lucas Oil No. 52. Going into the season, Hahn had made 264 feature starts, 16 wins, 85 top-five finishes and 166 top-10 results.

Earning his first National Tour victory last year, Canada’s Dylan Westbrook was quick all year, but needed the luck to go with it. Still, in his second full year, the season ended with two victories, 16 podium appearances, 20 top-five efforts and 25 top-10 finishes. Behind the wheel of the Hills Racing Team No. 47x again, Westbrook has taken a few weeks in Georgia and Florida to shake the car down and test the offseason changes.

Third in tour standings, Matt Covington is back for his ninth consecutive full-time season. A picture of consistency, with 2021 being his best, that will be further enhanced with Mathew Howard returning to help crew the No. 95 sprint car.

A racer in his own right, Howard has been hands on getting ready for the campaign, with the team refining, more than making major changes. With four victories last year, Covington is 11th all-time in feature appearances with 311 starts, to go with 14 wins, 97 top-five finishes and 186 top-10 runs.

Washington’s Seth Bergman began last season racing full time with the series, but crashes and a shortage of parts, forced Bergman and the Corridor Electric No. 23 team to pick and choose races through the second half of the season.

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