THE number of Americans planning raids on next month’s Lucas Oil Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic is rising fast.
Premier Speedway general manager David Mills yesterday announced the number of US drivers had jumped from seven to 10 as entries swell beyond 60 for the first three-night Classic.
Six-time winner Danny Smith, from Danville, Indiana, is returning in pursuit of a record-equalling seventh Classic. Joining him will be two-time World of Outlaws champion Jason Meyers and young gun Kyle Hirst.
Mills said Smith had secured a deal to drive for Sydney-based car owner Barry Lewis, who had reserved the ride for three-time Classic champ Brooke Tatnell.
But Tatnell, after being drafted into the Krikke Motorsports team for World Series Sprintcars, will remain with the Bunbury outfit for the Classic.
Meyers made no secret of his desire to win the Classic when he made a big assault on it in 2011. He won the Saturday night A main, the Australia-America Challenge Cup, and looked a winning chance with a dozen laps remaining when he and countryman Joey Saldana tangled while dicing for second. Meyers rolled and his dream was over.
But he returns with the Steve Caunt team again in pursuit of his first Classic.
Mills said 1993 winner Garry Brazier and his son Jordyn had also entered, along with V8 Supercar driver Paul Morris. Morris, who made his maiden Classic appearance this year, made his debut at the Knoxville Nationals in the Australian off-season.
Mills said the constant stream of entries confirmed expectations of a record field for the January 24-26 event.
This year a record 98 drivers, including 17 Americans, chased more than $200,000 on offer at the Classic.
The big field prompted organisers to expand the two-night event into a three-night show.