Australia's Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic preview

Lasoski, Schatz & Smith Honor History By Making It At Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia (December 28, 2001) - Defending Knoxville Nationals winner and World of Outlaws (WoO) champion Danny Lasoski of Higginsville,...

Lasoski, Schatz & Smith Honor History By Making It At Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic

Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia (December 28, 2001) - Defending Knoxville Nationals winner and World of Outlaws (WoO) champion Danny Lasoski of Higginsville, Missouri, appreciates and understands sprint car racing history worldwide. He knows that the January 26-27 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic (GASC) sponsored by The Standard newspaper is Australia's equivalent of the Knoxville Nationals. He also knows that the best way to honor that history is to continue to make it; thus the 2000 GASC winner and Kele World Challenge champion has confirmed that he will be competing in this year's $20,000-to-win 30th annual event. The Dude's appearance in the Pick N Payless/Castrol/O'Brien Aluminium Garry Rush-owned entry will qualify him for the Kele World Challenge dash at Knoxville, Iowa, on August 9, 2002.

Defending GASC winner and Kele World Challenge champion Donny Schatz of Minot, North Dakota, is in a similar position. Donny, the son of International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) racer Danny Schatz, knows the importance of winning both the Knoxville Nationals and the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic. This past year at Knoxville, Schatz won his preliminary night main and the Kele World Challenge Dash, each of which paid $10,000 to win, but he suffered a mechanical failure in the championship feature.

Danny Smith of Danville, Indiana, the 1996 champion of the Kele World Challenge, will also be making history by competing in his 20th consecutive GASC. Smith has won Australia's premier international sprintcar event six times, in 1983, '85, '87, '88, '89, and '96, yet he is seeking at least one more. Danny has set his sights on tying Aussie legend Garry Rush's record mark of seven GASC victories. Smith is currently wheeling the Robin Dawkins-prepared sprintcar on the World Series Sprintcars (WSS) tour.

Additionally, Americans Mike Lauterborn, Jeff Shepard, and Kurt Winker are expected to make their GASC debuts next month. Lauterborn is affiliated with the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) and the United States Auto Club (USAC), while Shepard competes with Ted Johnson's WoO series and Winker has run with the Interstate Racing Association (IRA). The trio will likely be joined by fellow Yanks Tommy Tarlton, Chad Kemenah, Brad Furr and Brent Antill. In all, a record ten Americans are expected to compete for starting spots in the 16-car feature field.

Past Kele World Challenge champions include Schatz (2001), Lasoski (2000), Randy Hannagan (1999), "Skip" Jackson (1995, '97, '98) of Australia, Smith (1996) and current WSS point leader Max Dumesny (1994) of Australia.

Former GASC winners from the United States include Schatz (2001), Lasoski (2000), Smith (1983, '85, '87, '88, '89, and '96), newly elected National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Jack Hewitt (1991), Jac Haudenschild (1981, '82), and Jimmy Sills (1978). In all, thirty-one (31) Americans have ventured to the Premier Speedway in Warrnambool, Victoria, in search of GASC gold since Aussie Ian "Zeke" Agars turned the trick back in 1973.

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Series Sprint
Drivers Brad Furr , Donny Schatz , Jack Hewitt , Randy Hannagan , Jimmy Sills , Jac Haudenschild , Chad Kemenah