Participants in USAC’s brand-new Southwest Sprint Car Series head to Las Vegas, Nev. this Thursday for the 2013 series opener on the facility’s half-mile dirt track. The event also carries West Coast Sprint car sanctioning as a “special” non-points race.

USAC conducted a Southwest Sprint Series in 2003 and 2004, with Rick Ziehl and Beau Binder grabbing championships, and the 2013 calendar includes 28 races in six states.

Bud Kaeding of Campbell, Calif., USAC’s 2012 West Coast Sprint Car Champion, won the last USAC Sprint race at LVMS, last year. Of the 24 previous USAC appearances at the LVMS half-mile, 14 have involved the Sprint cars.

Bryan Clauson and R.J. Johnson scored “special” non-point Southwest Sprint wins a month ago at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Ariz.

Thursday’s race coincides with NASCAR Week in Las Vegas, with the Nationwide Series Saturday and the Sprint Cup Series Sunday on the big LVMS paved oval