'Dude' to Represent World of Outlaws in IROC
TINTON FALLS, NJ (January 28) -- Defending Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series champion Danny Lasoski will be the first driver to represent sprint car racing's premier series in International Race of Champions competition in seven years, the True Value IROC Series announced recently.

The True Value IROC Series matches 12 drivers from different forms of auto racing in equally prepared Pontiac Trans Ams on Goodyear Eagle radial racing tires. The goal is to eliminate the mechanical advantages and to produce a winner determined solely on driver skill. The series consists of four 100-mile races at different race tracks with points awarded for finishing positions. At the end of the fourth race, the points are tallied and a champion of champions is crowned.

"I’m very proud to represent not only the World of Outlaws, but all of dirt track racing." Lasoski said. "When they called me with the invitation, I just felt like my heart would pop out of my chest. I was so elated, I just couldn't believe it. I'm so honored and so excited to get this opportunity."

Lasoski is the first Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series racer since Steve Kinser to compete in the all-star series. "The King of the Outlaws" won the third IROC race he ever competed in, at Talladega Superspeedway on April 30, 1994.

Lasoski, who won the Thunder Valley Challenge drag event against prostock racers last June, has rarely raced stock cars.

"I'm going to practice six or seven times before our first race, so that will help," Lasoski said. "I have a lot to learn, obviously. It's like if you took those stock car guys and put them in a sprint car. At first, there will be a lot of learning, but I'll figure it out. I just want to have fun and learn about the cars."

Lasoski will race against his friend and car owner, Tony Stewart. Stewart's NASCAR Winston Cup teammate, Bobby Labonte, is the reigning IROC champion. "The Dude" will be among five rookies, including Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish, Jr., of the Indy Racing League, Kevin Harvick of the Busch Grand National Series and Jack Sprague from the NASCAR Truck Series, bringing the IROC driver roster to 110 over 26 seasons. IROC veterans invited to compete during the 2002 season are Dale Jarrett and Sterling Marlin from the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and Buddy Lazier, Scott Sharp and Al Unser, Jr., from the Indy Racing League.

"We are really excited about the 2002 driver lineup and the mix of representation," IROC President Jay Signore said. "We're delighted to welcome five new drivers to the series in 2002, and very proud to welcome back the returning champions as well. Based on the feedback we've had, the fans seem very happy with the 2002 field and we're all eager to get to Daytona and go racing."

The 26th True Value IROC season opens during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, Friday, February 15th. The race will be televised the next day on ESPN at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. IROC Race two will return the series to California Speedway, after a three-year absence, Saturday, April 27th, and be broadcast on ESPN the next day at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Race three will be the series' first visit to the new Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 13th, and telecast that day on ESPN at 7:00 p.m., Eastern Time. The race four finale will take place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, August 3rd, and be tape delayed for broadcast on ABC Sports, Sunday, August 11th, at 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time.

"We're very happy that scheduling has allowed us our traditional kick-off at Daytona and to return True Value IROC racing to West Coast race fans at California Speedway," Signore said. "We're very excited about our first visit to Chicagoland Speedway, which will be a new challenge for the series. We'll also crown a fifth True Value IROC champion at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. You can't ask for much more than that."