NICK SCHWIEN â ¢Â Hays Daily News Jon Freeman pilots his 360 sprint car during a heat race last year at RPM Speedway in Hays. Freeman will be competing in the ASCS national tour event at Salina Speedway in August.
SALINA -- For Jon Freeman, a close race is down Interstate 135 at Park City's 81 Speedway, or down Interstate 70 to Hays' RPM Speedway.
With the exception of those two tracks, the 360 sprint car driver doesn't get a chance to compete close to his Salina home.
That is, until Aug. 16, when the winged warriors of the Lucas Oil ASCS national tour take to the dirt oval at Salina Speedway.
"I was pretty excited they were coming to town," Freeman said. "That brings an extra level of excitement when the national tour comes in."
Freeman usually competes in the NCRA 360 division, which has its home track in Park City. But now, Freeman will get an opportunity to race on his hometown track located just a few minutes away from his home.
"I get to race in front of my sponsors and friends that don't get to travel to Wichita or western Kansas, maybe talk them into going out here," Freeman said.
Track promoter Tommy Hendrickson said the Aug. 16 event will be the first time sprint cars have been in Salina in a while.
"They haven't been here in six years," said Hendrickson, who said the track averages 92 cars each Friday night for its regular classes of racing. "Hopefully it will be good."
The five-minute drive to the track for Freeman is something he's looking forward to.
"A lot of people say they shoot for Knoxville," Freeman said. "This race is what I'm shooting for because I get to run in front of a hometown crowd. ... There's a little extra pressure with that, though."
The race won't be the first time Freeman has competed against ASCS competition this year. He raced in the two-day Steve King Memorial at the Great American Dirt Track in Jetmore during Memorial Day weekend.
"I ran with the national guys at Jetmore, and those guys are tough," Freeman said. "It's a treat just to make the show with them anymore. Most of the time you go to a race, there's just a handful of guys that are really, really good. Not on the national tour, though."
A few of those national tour guys slated to compete in Salina include Brady Bacon, Matt Covington, Jack Dover, Johnny Herrera, Dustin Morgan and Aaron Reutzel.
Bacon won the second day of the Steve King Memorial in late May and is locked into the battle for the national points title.
The tour has many races throughout the country, more than many sprint car drivers have a chance to compete in around the area.
"The national guys run more up to this point in the season than I will all year," Freeman said.
Tickets for the special show are $20 for those 13 and older, with those 12 and younger free. Tickets can be purchased in advance by going to the speedway's website at www.salinaspeedway.com.
Mod lites and mini stocks will serve as the supporting classes for the night. Races are set to begin at 7:30 p.m.