MSRXSS: Johnny Petrozelle Inks Entry for Must See Southern Showdown at Hickory

Jacob Seelman Carolinas Racing, Featured, Other Sprint Cars, Southeast, Sprints & Midgets 3 Comments

DENTON, N.C. — Story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Craig Burgwardt photo —

Strap in, Carolina race fans, and put in a phone call to the Command Center in Houston if you wish — the Rocket is coming to play.

Denton, N.C. sprint car driver and 2013 Carolina RaceSaver Sprint Car Series (CRSCS) champion Johnny Petrozelle has officially confirmed he will be entering the Must See Racing (MSR) Xtreme Sprint Series Southern Showdown at Hickory Motor Speedway this weekend, April 3-4.

The veteran shoe has a decade of prior pavement experience before he made the transition to dirt sprint cars in 2012, including starts at Hickory in both stock car and modified competition, but will be making both his first pavement sprint car start, as well as his debut MSR appearance, on Friday night.

“Even though it’s going to be our first pavement start in the sprint car, I’m really optimistic about our chances,” Petrozelle said. “Before this past weekend, our team hadn’t raced in six months — but once we rolled off the trailer, we performed as if we never took a break. I’m hoping our return to pavement racing goes as smoothly.”

Despite the long gap and relative uncertainty, Petrozelle is setting high expectations for the weekend along with his enthusiasm for getting back on the pavement.

“Our goal [this weekend] is to win,” Petrozelle affirmed. “Our team has worked very hard and put in late nights every night this week to make this last-minute pavement debut in sprint car competiton, and the only way to pay my team back is to get a Victory Lane picture with them in it. We’ll be under powered for the Must See rules, but not out worked.”

“The 100 pound weight break [for 360 c.i. cars] certainly helps our cause,” Petrozelle added. “Unfortunately, due to a lack of funding, our engine program is our team’s weakest link — but I’m hoping the old surface at Hickory and the size of the track will play to our favor.”

The Rocket’s recent sprint car record reads solidly for 2015 only being his fourth year behind the wheel of the ground-pounding machines. A fourth place finish in CRSCS points in his rookie year in 2012 and the 2013 CRSCS season-championship on the strength of a win and a myriad of top-five finishes has given him momentum heading into the 2015 season — despite having to come back from a crash at Carolina (N.C.) Speedway in June of last year that sidelined him for three months with a fractured vertebra in his back.

Petrozelle opened his 2015 season March 27 at Toccoa Raceway with the 360 c.i. United Sprint Car Series (USCS) Outlaw Thunder Tour, driving to a career-best fifth-place effort at the challenging 5/16-mile dirt oval. The hotshoe is hoping that momentum will carry over to a solid run at Hickory this weekend.

“Being Toccoa was our career best with the USCS, finally getting that elusive top-five placement, our team is stoked about the rest of what 2015 will bring. I’m definitely hoping we can use that momentum this weekend and put a really solid effort together for the team and for our sponsors.”

“Last season we ended our last three USCS races by finishing eighth, then seventh, then sixth, and we started this year with a fifth — but we’re hoping for something even better than a fourth this weekend, like the numbers would suggest!

Petrozelle will be piloting his family-owned No. 59 entry for the event and will be sponsored by Shear Perfomance of Mooresville and Oak Leaf Properties. HERO Energy Shot is also a major partner of Petrozelle Autosport across the USCS and CRSCS programs.

Action begins at Hickory Motor Speedway on Friday, April 3 with time trials and twin-25 lap qualifying races to help set the field for Saturday’s Southern Showdown feature event. The Must See Racing winged sprint cars will race 40-laps in their A-main on Saturday, alongside action from the U.S. Legend Cars, USAC Eastern HPD Midgets, PASS Pro Late Models, and the PASS Super Late Model Easter Bunny 150.

Must See’s finest will be fighting for a total purse in excess of $21,000 over the course of the weekend.

Both nights of the Must See Racing Southern Showdown will be taped for a tape-delayed national television broadcast on MAVTV, with specific details to be announced at a later date.

For additional information on Must See Racing, visit

For additional information on Johnny Petrozelle and Petrozelle Autosport, follow him on Twitter @ImTheRocket or on Instagram @JohnnyPetrozelle for racing updates and more.

Comments 3

  1. We are excited to visit North Carolina again. The fans here are great and we will be sure to put on a good show for them with the Must See Xtreme Sprint Series.
    This is our first stop on the Sprint Cars and Tiki Bars Tour. We’ll have special commemorative tour t-shirts on sale too.

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