By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Speedway, Indiana (February 5, 2024)………It’s time to go racing in 2024 with the largest contingent of USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship full-time competitors in the 69-year history of the series.
The field of 15 full-time drivers and teams is stacked, packed and ready to hit the road for this coming year’s 54-race slate which begins with seven February dates in Florida at Ocala Speedway on February 9-10, Volusia Speedway Park on February 12-13 and another visit to Ocala Speedway on Feb. 15-16-17.
Here’s the full list of the 15 USAC National Sprint Car full-timers for 2024!
C.J. LEARY | BGE-DOUGHERTY MOTORSPORTS #15x
It’s back to the 15x for C.J. Leary for the 2024 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship season.
In 2023, the Greenfield, Indiana racer notched his first full season under the BGE-Dougherty Motorsports banner, giving the team its best ever USAC points finish and continued to cement the team as one of the pre-eminent favorites entering 2024.
Leary has finished inside the top-10 of USAC National Sprint Car points in 10 consecutive years, and for the last five seasons, he’s come home fifth or better in the standings each year.
He’s currently on a string of eight straight years with a feature victory, including three in 2023 at Bloomington, Eldora and Kokomo, and also wrapped up the Bubby Jones Master of Goin’ Faster title Presented by Spire Sports + Entertainment.
The 2019 USAC National Sprint Car champ is hungry to build upon the foundation of success that was laid a year ago and aims to continue his stride into the new year of 2024.
KEVIN THOMAS JR. | ROCK STEADY RACING #3R
It’s the most excited he’s been for the start of a race season in a long time. Those are ear-catching words for a driver like Kevin Thomas Jr., who stands as one of the most successful USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship drivers of his era.
The Cullman, Alabama wheelman has teamed up with Rock Steady Racing as they plan an assault on the USAC National Sprint Car season in 2024.
Thomas, the owner of 39 series wins, ranks 11th all-time in that regard while Rock Steady, led by car owner Hank Byram, has raked in 25 victories, most notably over the past decade with driver Kyle Cummins who has moved on to Petty Performance Racing team for 2024.
Thomas already got a bit of a head start with his new team last September at Gas City, and despite early mechanical obstacles, KTJ recovered to win his heat and ran as high as fourth in the feature before slotting into seventh at the finish line.
With both KTJ and Rock Steady hankering for a first USAC title run and something to prove, this new combo is poised to make some noise in the new year.
JAKE SWANSON | 2B RACING #2B
Jake Swanson hit his stride in 2023 as he piloted the Team AZ Racing ride to a career-high four points-paying wins and a career best fifth place finish in the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship standings.
But that was then, and this is now. After five seasons with Team Arizona, Swanson has a new address for 2024 after being tabbed as the new driver of Scott Benic’s 2B Racing DRC/Claxton, which was occupied a year ago by Logan Seavey.
It’s one chapter closing and another opening with 2B Racing, which ranks 12th all-time in series wins with 33 and captured the 2005 USAC National Sprint Car title with Levi Jones at the wheel.
Swanson, who owns and operates a thriving racing shock business, during the week, got a couple beneficial runs with 2B in local Indiana competition, providing them a bit of a head start entering 2024.
Last year, Swanson hit the ground running by winning in his first sprint car start of the year. This time around, he aims to do the same on a team with a storied championship past with an eye on a championship future.
KYLE CUMMINS | PETTY PERFORMANCE RACING #3P
For more than a decade, Kyle Cummins and Rock Steady Racing were constant counterparts, racking up numerous wins in the Midwest while also cementing themselves among the premier pairings in the sport.
But David Bowie once told us about ch-ch-ch-changes! And that’s exactly what’s in store for the Princeton, Indiana driver during the 2024 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship campaign.
The brand-new Petty Performance Racing team was created by Arizona’s Jerry Petty who has transitioned from team sponsor and event sponsor into a team owner who will now field Cummins in pursuit of a USAC title in the coming year.
This formation comes on the heels of Cummins equaling his career best with four USAC National Sprint Car feature victories and a sixth-place finish in series points for 2023.
At press time, Cummins’ USAC National Sprint Car win total stands at 18, all of which have come with Rock Steady. For Cummins, it’s a new opportunity. It’s a new challenge. And among the plethora of musical chairs this offseason, this is among the most intriguing ones to watch, pairing a veteran driver with a brand-new team and the racing world to conquer.
JUSTIN GRANT | TOPP MOTORSPORTS #4
Tres. Drei. Trois. Pardon my French. But no matter how you say it – 3 is a magic number for Justin Grant in 2024.
Grant has won the past two series driving titles, and this year, he’ll push toward positioning himself among the top hierarchy of history which so few have reached by winning 3 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championships in a row.
Parnelli Jones scored three consecutive from 1960 to 62. Steve Butler notched three-straight between 1986 and 88. Robbie Stanley was crowned each year between 1991 and 93 and Levi Jones was the most recent to do the deed in 2009, 10 and 11.
Last year, Grant became the 10th driver to amass 400 career starts, and with 45 victories, another similar performance in 2024 will place him among the top-three all time in that category.
Grant enters year seven with TOPP Motorsports, who also will be eying three-in-a-row as an entrant champ, something only Damon Fortune, Tony Stewart Racing and Curb-Agajanian have done.
Grant and TOPP are on the mountaintop. They were the hunted a year ago. They’ll be the hunted in 2024. But as they’ll tell you, “Catch us if you can!”
MATT WESTFALL | RAY MARSHALL MOTORSPORTS #33m
A true renaissance man of motorsports, Matt Westfall has truly just about done it all in his racing career, and he’s done it with proficiency!
Over the years, his driving accomplishments have come in the form of championships in midgets and sprint cars and even modifieds and late models!
But his 2023 triumph at Arkansas’ Texarkana 67 Speedway might have one-upped them all with it being his first USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car National Championship feature victory in more than 17 seasons!
Westfall’s 2022 performance saw him post career highs in all categories of USAC Sprint Car competition. In 2023, he equaled or exceeded his previous year’s exploits across the board.
The Buckeye racer is back on the USAC Sprint Car scene full-time again in 2024 with Ray Marshall Motorsports’ yellow number 33m as they pine to build upon what they’ve laid the groundwork for throughout these past several years.
Even at the age of 47, Westfall is proving himself to the racing world time and time again. And as time has proven, you have to admit he’s getting better. Getting better all the time.
BRADY BACON | DYNAMICS, INC. #69
Brady Bacon is on the brink of something special during the 2024 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship season.
The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma native is back on the drive for five once more after finishing as the runner-up to Justin Grant in each of the past two seasons in 2022 and 2023 after Bacon himself captured two-in-a-row in 2020 and 2021.
No era of USAC Sprint Car racing has offered such a tug-of-war at the top of the championship fight since the era of the Larry and Gary Show between 1968 and 1971 when Dickson and Bettenhausen swapped a pair of titles across a four-year span.
In 2024, Bacon stands one title away from equaling Levi Jones as the driver with the most USAC National Sprint Car crowns. Furthermore, Bacon possesses the second most USAC National Sprint Car feature victories with 53 and is now within an arm’s reach of Dave Darland’s all-time record of 62.
Furthermore, Bacon stands alone by winning USAC Sprint Car features in more states than any other driver with 14. But more than anything else, Bacon wants one more ring for the thumb. And the only state he prefers to compete in is a championship state of mind in 2024.
JADON ROGERS | MICHAEL DUTCHER MOTORSPORTS #17GP
The combination of a winning driver and a victorious crew chief slash team owner have thus far made a fantastic match in their short time together.
Both Jadon Rogers and Michael Dutcher Motorsports possess that same energy and pedigree that has them riding high into 2024 as full-time USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship contenders.
The duo teamed up for the latter half of 2023 for nine USAC starts, accumulating four top-fives and six top-tens in that stretch, including an impressive 23rd to 5th run on the opening night of Sprint Car Smackdown at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway, plus a pair of fourths at Kokomo and Devil’s Bowl.
Over the past three years, no driver has won more sprint car races in the state of Indiana than Rogers, three of which came just last year in Dutcher’s patented number 17GP.
The 2020 USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year and the 2012 USAC Chief Mechanic of the Year have been on the verge of teaming up to chase the USAC trail in recent. Now, they feel on the verge of something even bigger and better in 2024.
MITCHEL MOLES | REINBOLD-UNDERWOOD MOTORSPORTS #19AZ
Perhaps no driver elicits the same electricity that Mitchel Moles exhibits each time he hits the track in USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship competition.
That was proven by the fact that he prevailed in arguably the most exhilarating event of the 2023 USAC Sprint season when he outlasted multiple attacks on the final lap to win the debut at Illinois’ Macon Speedway.
But after what was admittedly an up and down 2023 season, the Raisin City, California native is preparing to rise up another level in 2024. He’s back in the saddle of the 19AZ full-time on the USAC tour, a team which sees Moles, owner and crew chief Andy Reinbold, plus co-owner Todd Underwood as the remaining constants from the year before.
The cast features several fresh faces turning the wrenches, including new car chief Dylan Cook, who won a USAC Sprint title with Justin Grant in 2022, plus the additions of Jacob Johnston and James Turnbull to the crew.
In what will be his third year on the USAC tour coming up, the former professional bass fisherman is angling to make year three one for the highlight reel!
DAISON PURSLEY | TEAM AZ RACING #21AZ
After a new beginning one year ago, it’s another fresh start for Daison Pursley in 2024!
Straight out of a season in which he was named USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship Rookie of the Year for KO Motorsports, the Locust Grove, Oklahoma driver now finds himself as the full-time wheelman for Team AZ Racing’s number 21AZ.
For the past five years, Team AZ has fielded Jake Swanson as its driver, but after he recently departed to 2B Racing, Pursley was tabbed for the new role.
Pursley and Team AZ’s relationship dates back to October of 2023 when both parties went USAC CRA racing during the Western World Championships at Cocopah, and quickly turned it from a one-weekend deal to a full-time ride after a spectacular two-night sweep of the event.
A good first impression goes a long way, and this combo has good vibes in spades rolling into the 2024 campaign. After all, they’re one of the few pairings in the sport who can lay claim to being undefeated.
It’s full steam into the new year, and now the focus is set on keeping the ball of momentum rolling starting in Florida and beyond!
LOGAN SEAVEY | ABACUS RACING #57
For Logan Seavey and Abacus Racing, winning two out of three USAC national championships together in 2023 ain’t bad. But it could even be better.
In response, the two entities have added a sprint car team to their arsenal for the upcoming 2024 campaign to achieve what only Tony Stewart and J.J. Yeley have done before – winning the coveted USAC Triple Crown in a single year.
Seavey comes off a season in which he won twice in USAC National Sprint Car competition for 2B Racing while garnering championship accolades in both the Midget and Silver Crown divisions for Abacus.
The team is new to the sprint car racing world this year, but don’t let that deceive you. Abacus Racing’s first full season of midget and Silver Crown racing resulted in a championship. Call it exceeding expectations but it was certainly no beginner’s luck.
Kirk Simpson will serve as the team’s crew chief on the DRC chassis powered by both 1-Way Technologies and Stanton powerplants.
Expectations are high for this group in its initial foray into sprint car racing, but there’s no one they’d rather have in their seat than Logan Seavey in the quest to grab the final prong of the USAC triple crown.
ROBERT BALLOU | BALLOU MOTORSPORTS #12
It’s back to the grind in 2024 for the winningest driver slash car owner in USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship history.
For the past decade, he’s been a perennial front runner on the circuit, which includes a 2015 series championship and 32 victories as an independent aboard his instantly recognizable number 12.
However, last year wasn’t as kind in the win column for the Rocklin, California racer who enters his 19th season with the series. That said, he finished a solid seventh in the standings with crew chief Derrick Bye as his right-hand man while finishing as the runner-up three times and garnering a couple fast qualifying times to boot.
The Mad Man has cemented his legacy as one of the premier USAC Sprint Car drivers of his era, and of any era, He’s 27 starts away from becoming the third driver with 500 career starts, plus his 37 feature triumphs are just three away from reaching 10th all-time.
Perhaps no driver has been able to make as many triumphant bounce backs as Robert Ballou, and in 2024, he aims to bounce back in a big way. Into the win column, into the championship fight and into the record books.
CARSON GARRETT | BGE-DOUGHERTY MOTORSPORTS #15
His journey from his Rocky Mountain Midget roots to becoming USAC’s 2023 National Most Improved Driver came quite quickly in some respects. But in other ways, it’s clear to say Carson Garrett has come a long way both geographically and behind the wheel of a racecar.
Although he’s been at this game for a few years now, last season was truly Carson Garrett’s first go-around on the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship trail. That’s when the switch was flipped for the 22-year-old Littleton, Colorado racer as he recorded career bests in every single statistical category, notching three top-fives and came within a whisker of winning his first series feature at Illinois’ Macon Speedway.
Garrett returns in 2024 with the same exact deal, chasing the full USAC National Sprint Car season in the BGE Dougherty No. 15 as a teammate to C.J. Leary.
Although he admitted that the USAC Most Improved Driver award completely took him by surprise, there’s no question that he’s not going to sneak up on the competition in the coming year. It’s expected. For Carson Garrett has now officially arrived on the USAC National Sprint Car scene.
JOEY AMANTEA | JPA RACING #88J
Joey Amantea has made his mark in recent years on the USAC East Coast Sprint Car tour, but in 2024, he’s taking the show on the road full-time with the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship.
The 19-year-old known as “The Big Show” will be a busy man in the new year, dividing his full-time racing duties with his full-time role as a college student majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Lehigh University.
Working his way up the ranks through quarter midgets, 600cc micros and as a multi-time USAC 360 sprint car winner, Amantea recently plugged in a 410 Newman’s racing engine into his family-owned Triple X.
Amantea branched out from his home in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania to dabble on the USAC national trail in 2023 and turned in a pair of top-10s at Kokomo and Lawrenceburg. The whole experience heightened the team’s desires to strive for even more in the new year.
New tracks, major competition and hitting the road. It’s all part of the continuous progression of the teenage Pennsylvanian. And if there’s any guarantees in life, bet the house on Joey Amantea putting on a big show in 2024.
TREY OSBORNE | BALDWIN-FOX RACING #5 & TREY OSBORNE #6
One year ago, he was named Non-Wing Sprint Car Rookie of the Year by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, but now Trey Osborne aspires to continue his rapid ascent as a Rookie with the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship in 2024.
In a combined effort, the 21-year-old Ohioan will pilot Baldwin-Fox Racing’s DRC/Claxton number five in the majority of USAC events and fill in the remainder of the dates aboard his own Triple X number six powered by a Mopar.
As a hired gun, Osborne now finds himself on an even bigger scale with more eyes and more expectations on him than ever before. But the Don and Mel Kenyon disciple embraces the challenge as he prepares to take on the busiest and most hectic racing season of his young career.
Osborne, who stands a towering 6 foot 8, talked the talk and walked the walked in 2023, meeting his goal of winning three local Indiana races. In the coming year, he’s established a new aspiration of achieving his first three USAC victories.
And as history has already proven, it’s no tall tale to believe Trey Osborne will be a man of his word in 2024.