Lasoski Wins IROC Race at Texas Motor Speedway
FORT WORTH, TX (April 2) -- Danny Lasoski made the World of Outlaws proud Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.
"The Dude" became the second World of Outlaws Sprint Series driver to win a Crown Royal International Race of Champions event. Lasoski led all 67 laps from the pole position, beating NASCAR Nextel Cup racer Kevin Harvick under the checkered flag by .333 seconds.
"I owe IROC a debt of gratitude," Lasoski said. "It was an honor to race here and represent the World of Outlaws. This is a dream come true. I can't believe this; I know I won't sleep all night.
"I'm so honored to be in this series. I'd probably pay to race these cars. I love to compete, and these guys are the best in the world. The Knoxville Nationals is near and dear to my heart. I've been fortunate enough to win it three times, but this victory tonight is very special to me also."
When asked how it feels to be the first World of Outlaws Sprint Series driver since Steve Kinser to win an IROC race, Lasoski said. "Any time your name is mentioned in the same breath as Steve Kinser, it's a real honor."
Kinser, who won the third IROC race he ever entered in 1994 at Talladega Superspeedway, congratulated Lasoski in victory lane. "The King of the Outlaws" finished eighth in Friday's race, the IROC's first at Texas Motor Speedway.
Within seconds after taking the checkered flag, "The Dude" started a miraculous victory celebration like nobody had ever seen at Texas Motor Speedway. Lasoski turned doughnuts in the grass between the front straightway and pit road and his front-stretch burnouts sent white smoke billowing into the grandstands. When the smoke cleared, "The Dude" was in victory lane.
"I told (Texas Motor Speedway General Manager) Eddie Gossage before the race, if I won he was going to have to buy some new sod, as I was going to celebrate," Lasoski said. "I'd like to talk Jay (Signore, IROC's president) into buying 12 sprint cars, so we could do it in the dirt."
Lasoski, who finished last in the 2004 IROC season opener at Daytona International Speedway in February, ranks third in the standings -- only one point behind Harvick and Ryan Newman -- as the series heads to Richmond International Raceway (September 9th) for the third of series' four races. The 2004 IROC champion will receive $1 million.
"I can't wait to get to Richmond now," Lasoski said. "It will be more suited to the way Steve (Kinser) and I race."
Lasoski burst into the lead as the green flag fell, and was starting to build a comfortable advantage when NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers Matt Kenseth and defending IROC champion Kurt Busch crashed between turns three and four late in the third lap.
Harvick, who started outside the sixth row, raced into second place within two laps after the race resumed. "The Dude" maintained a .2-second or better advantage throughout the final 62 laps despite a competition caution that tightened the field with 15 laps remaining.
"With five laps to go I told myself, 'if Harvick is going to beat me, he'll have to run right through me,'" said Lasoski, who averaged 116.983 M.P.H. in the 100.5-mile race. "Tony (Stewart, Lasoski's World of Outlaws Sprint Series car owner) talked to me before the race. He kept preaching to save my right front tire and go after it in the final 10 laps. Winning this race was the toughest thing I've ever done, and I'm the happiest guy in the world right now."