Connor Leoffler
Connor Leoffler

Connor Leoffler
Myrtle Beach, SC

Super Rookie Connor Leoffler is 2020 USCS Southern Thunder region Champion
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11/24/2020

11/24/2020

USCS United Speed Contest Sanction


Super Rookie Connor Leoffler is 2020 USCS Southern Thunder region Champion

Atlanta, GA – November 21, 2020 – Sixteen-year-old USCS National “Rookie of the Year”, Connor Leoffler from Myrtle Beach South, Carolina claimed the USCS Southern Thunder Tour regional series title during the series 2020 and 24th anniversary season. Leoffler rode two stops in the www.RockAuto.com USCS Victory Lane after victories plus seven top five and thirteen top ten finishes during the USCS Southern Thunder Tours’ thirteen events to the regional series Championship.

The talented first year winged sprint car driver bested seventy-six different drivers during the thirteen USCS Southern Thunder events that averaged 23 driver entries per event who competed for the title during the Covid-19 shortened 2020 USCS Southern Thunder regional series schedule. Leoffler also finished in the runner-up spot for the National title just 41 points shy of the crown behind defending and 13-time USCS National Champion Terry Gray. Leoffler’s three trips to the www.rockauto.com USCS Victory Lane were the third most series wins for drivers competing in USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour events during the 2020 season. The young gun (Leoffler) additionally finished in fourth position in the tough USCS Mid-South regional series standings at season’s end as well.

Veteran points chaser and the 2020 and 13-time USCS National Champion Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee finished fifty-one points behind Leoffler in second place in the final USCS Southern Thunder regional standings. In addition to his 2020 National crown, Gray finished in the runner-up spot in the competitive USCS Mid-South regional series as well.
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Kyle Amerson from Montgomery, Alabama claimed the third spot in the final 2020 USCS Southern Thunder regional series standings. Amerson picked up his first two career-wins in United Sprint Car Series competition during 2020 Southern Thunder regional series competition. He won the prestigious Randy Helton Memorial Race at famed Dixie Speedway in July and then parked in the www.RockAuto.com USCS Victory Lane at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, South Carolina in September. Amerson, who is a medical student was a no=show early in the season at one event or maybe would have finished higher, but, his two wins, six top five and nine top ten finishes during 2020 had to go down as his best ever season in the USCS Southern Thunder Tour competition. He will be one to watch in the future.

Mallie Shuster from Newville, Pennsylvania finished fourth in the USCS Southern Thunder Tour regional series point standings. He competed in every event in that series and had enough top ten finishes and points awarded via his USCS Hoosier Speed Dash finishes in the series to gather enough points to garner a highlighted spot on the season. He also finished fourth in the USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters National point standings. He also grabbed a top ten spot in the USCS Mid-South regional series in sixth place.

The other half of the Dad and Son Race Team, Jim Shuster also from Shuster Newville, Pennsylvania finished fifth in the USCS Southern Thunder Tour regional series final 2020 season point standings. He also competed in every event in that series and had enough top ten finishes and points awarded via the USCS Hoosier Speed Dash finishes in the series to garner that spot on the season. He also finished in third place in the USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters National 2020 final point standings. He also grabbed a top ten spot in the USCS Mid-South regional series in seventh place.

The 2012 USCS National Rookie of the Year, Jeff Willingham from Ripley, Mississippi finished in sixth place in the USCS Southern Thunder regional series after the 2020 season points were totaled. Willingham ended the Covid-19 shortened season in fifth place in the USCS National point standings to keep up a string of at least five years in the top five of the National point standings. He finished in eighth place in the other USCS regional series, the USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour.

National Sprint Car Hall of Fame 2015 Inductee Danny Smith from Chillicothe, Ohio finished behind Willingham in seventh place in the standings. The Midwest veteran sprint car racer had seven top ten finishes to go with his three top five finishes but missed several events due to sponsor commitments at his home track in Ohio or he would have ranked higher. Smith did also finish in ninth place in the USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters season 2020 final point standings.

Terry Witherspoon from Jacksonville, Florida finished the 2020 season ranked eighth in the USCS Southern Thunder point standings. Witherspoon competed in enough USCS 2020 events to finish 13th out of 144 competitors in the final USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour National point standings.

Mark Smith who competed in 15o of the 20 USCS Southern Thunder Tour regional series evets and had eight of his fourteen USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour wins in USCS Mid-South regional series competition. That was good enough to finish in the fifth position in the final USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour regional series point standings. Mark Smith also finished in ninth place in the other USCS regional sprint car series, the USCS Southern Thunder Tour where he won the first six events and then added two more on Labor Day weekend that were dual region points awarded events. He also garnered a sixth-place finish in the USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour National standings while competing in 29 of the 36 National events.

The sixth positions in the USCS Mid-South regional series standings was earned by Mallie Shuster, both from Newville, Pennsylvania who competed in every 2020 USCS season event regionally and Nationally. In the Southern Thunder Tour regional series Mallie Shuster finished in fourth place. Mallie Shuster also finished in fourth position after 36 completed events Nationally.

Mallie Shuster’s team-mate, Jim Shuster, also from Newville, Pennsylvania finished in the seventh position in the USCS Mid-South regional series. Jim Shuster also finished in fifth place in the USCS Southern Thunder regional series. He had his best United Sprint Car Series effort in the USCS National point standings finishing in the third position competing in all after 36 races.

The “Ripley Rooster”, Jeff Willingham from Ripley, Mississippi, who was the 2012 USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour “Rookie of the Year”, finished in the eighth position during the 2020 season in the USCS Mid-South regional series final standings. Willingham also garnered a fifth-place finish in the 2020 USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters National point standings and finished sixth in the USCS Southern Thunder regional series.

USCS Rookie of the Year contender Landon Britt from Atoka, Tennessee finished ninth in the highly competitive USCS Mid-South regional series standings. Landon Britt who previously competed in the Winged 305 Sprint Car division at Riverside International Speedway had seven top ten finishes in USCS Mid-South regional series action. Britt’s efforts were good enough to garner the USCS Mid-South Thunder regional series Rookie of the Year award.
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Another 2020 USCS Rookie of the Year contender, Eric Gunderson from Canton, Georgia completed the top ten in the USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour point standings. Gunderson who had no sprint car experience prior to running just a few races in 2019, showed marked improvement throughout the 2020 season and was impressive at the USCS Flip Flop event at Riverside International Speedway on November 6th and 7th. He finished just out of the top ten in the USCS Southern Thunder regional series and in the National standings, where he was just out of the top ten in the 11th place in both standings.

Mark Smith from Sunbury, Pennsylvania led the wins column in the USCS Mid-South Thunder region with eight wins during 2002 in the series. He was followed by Dale Howard with five 2020 wins in second place. The 2013 USCS National Champion, Derek Hagar from Marion, Arkansas was third during 2020 with three victories. Howard Moore from Memphis, Tennessee won twice in USCS Mid-South competition and 2020 USCS rookie of the Year, Conner Leoffler from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Hayden Martin from Olive Branch, Mississippi both won one USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour even during 2020t.

USCS Founder and President, Pete Walton said ‘We are proud to announce that Dale Howard was able to capture his first USCS title in a USCS series after having a great 2020 season. He proved he is not only one of the Mid-South’s, but one of the Nation’s top 360-winged sprint car drivers.

The complete season schedule and all winners for the 2019 USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters with winners can be found at www.uscsracing.com For rules and other info please visit www.uscsracing.com or call the series office 770-865-6097. We invite you to please follow USCS Racing on Facebook and Twitter as well @uscsracing

Photo/Caption car #22: The 2020 USCS National Rookie of the Year, Conner Leoffler from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina claimed the USCS Southern Thunder regional series and career-first USCS title during 2020. (USCS file photo)

USCS 2020 Southern Thunder regional series Final 2020 Point Standings as of November 14, 2020
Pos. Car# Driver Point
1 22 Connor Leoffler1931
2 10 Terry Gray 1880
3 29 Kyle Amerson 1721
4 49 Mallie Shuster 1696
5 20 Jim Shuster 1686
6 28 Jeff Willingham 1612
7 4 Danny Smith 1314
8 43 Terry Witherspoon 1220
9 M1 Mark Smith 1219
10 23 Lance Moss 1082
11 7E Eric Gunderson 934
12 47 Dale Howard 914
13 5 Justin Barger 884
14 10M Morgan Turpen 876
15 33 Joe Larkin 842
16 83 Mark Ruel Jr 700
17 97 Dale Day 668
18 5k Jake Karklin 594
19 7 Johnny Bridges 568
20 5 Hayden Campbell 566
21 17jr Ricky Stenhouse Jr 562
22 67 Hayden Martin 554
23 4M Michael Miller 532
24 13 Chase Howard 504
25 9 Danny Oliver 496
26 43jr Tanner Witherspoon 476
27 44 Ronny Howard 474
28 7j Gregg Jones 468
29 67 Brian Thomas 466
30 15 Danny Burke 462
31 83 Bob Auld 450
32 17H Hud Horton 439
33 14 Jordon Mallett 434
34 20 Matt Kurtz 428
35 29 Jeff Oliver 405
36 7c Phil Gressman 404
37 28M Conner Morrell 402
Tie 1st Steve Surniak 402
39 17 AJ Maddox 380
40 93 Chris Sweeney 370
41 88 Brandon Blenden 332
42 1A Lee Moore 324
43 9jr Derek Hagar 299
44 4x Terry McCarl 286
45 18j RJ Jacobs 282
46 47 Eric Riggins Jr 280
47 4 Carson Short 268
48 24 Kobe Allison 256
Tie 16B Zane Duvault 256
50 17 Alex Lyles 250
51 21B Brandon McLain 239
52 17 Jared Horstman 234
53 69k John Karklin 232
54 44M Michael Magic 228
55 88N Frank Neill 222
56 2 Josh Grimes 214
57 07 Brandon Taylor 200
58 24 Danny Martin Jr 150
59 6 Dustin Gates 144
60 10L Landon Britt 134
Tie 70 Nick Tucker 134
62 218 Dillon Thrower 130
63 20 Frank Carlsson 126
64 15jr Geoff Styner 124
Tie 51 Jay Dunham 124
Tie 17b Shelby Brown 124
67 0x Clint Weiss 122
Tie 41 Luke Hill 122
69 12 Luke Hall 112
70 B4 Bronzie Lawson III 110
71 44 Jason Troutman 108
72 66 Chase Dunham 106
73 21m Adam Cruea 104
74 21 Aubrey Black 100
Tie 00 Harley Zimmerman 100
Tie 52 Tristan Lee 100


Article Credit: Pete Walton

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