2007 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Year in Review: Part I

A very competitive 2007 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season kicked off with a jam packed pit area at Volusia Speedway Park for the 36th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals back on February 9. Over 50 of the top drivers from around the country convened at the half-mile for three straight nights of racing.

A new format greeted the competitors in 2007, with the biggest changes being the Top-Two finishers in each heat race moved directly into the Crane Cams Dash, with the final two positions in the 10-car dash going to the fastest two drivers from time trials who were not first or second, but did transfer from their heat into the A-Feature.

The year began the same way that 2006 ended, with reigning series champion Donny Schatz in victory lane. On the second night of the season, Kerry Madsen earned his first career World of Outlaws A-Feature triumph. The win was bittersweet, as just days later his car owner Dave Helm passed away in California. The Florida DIRTcar Nationals concluded with Daryn Pittman taking his first win of the season and Donny Schatz heading out of the Sunshine state as the series championship point leader.

A trip west awaited the winged warriors, with a return to Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California. Joey Saldana captured his first win of the season in the opener, holding off a hard charging Jac Haudenschild. In the finale, it was Tim Kaeding scoring one of the most emotional wins of the season in his home state, just days after the passing of his grandmother.

The month of March opened with a visit to USA Race Park in Tucson, Arizona, where Steve Kinser would pick up his first win of the season in his first ever stop at the 3/8-mile track. The following night Donny Schatz earned his second A-Feature win of the season taming the historic half-mile at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix.

After a week off, the series returned to action at the ¼-mile Houston Raceway Park, where Donny Schatz was again victorious. A trip east on Interstate 10 to Pike County Speedway in Mississippi the following night found Joey Saldana in the winner's circle, as he kept pace with Schatz in the championship standings.

The daunting high banks of Volunteer Speedway in Tennessee awaited the series next as they made their inaugural visit to the 0.4-mile, and again it was Saldana taking the checkered flag. In the series return to Dixie Speedway in Georgia the following week, it was Saldana making it three wins a row, as he not only picked up the A-Feature win, but also took the championship point lead from Donny Schatz.

A wintry evening was on tap at Paducah International Raceway in Kentucky to open the month April, with Danny Lasoski turning in one of the most impressive drives of the season coming from the 15th starting spot to win. Mother Nature won the following night at I-55 Raceway in Missouri, as temperatures dipped well below the freezing point, with snow in the air.

Another cold day awaited the series at they made their first visit of the season to Eldora Speedway in April 13. Jason Meyers put his name in the record books as the first driver to win on the recently reconfigured and resurfaced half-mile, with the cameras from SPEED capturing all of the action. A steady mixture of rain and snow the following day forced the cancellation of the second night of racing at the famed track.

The next stop for the tour was the bullring at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio, where Joey Saldana captured his fifth win of the season. A long overnight trip to Tri-State Speedway in Indiana found Steve Kinser victorious in his home state. A sixth-place finish on the high-banked ¼-mile helped Donny Schatz regain the championship point lead, a lead he would not relinquish the rest of the season.

Schatz used that momentum in the series first of two visits to the famed Knoxville Raceway on April 28, earning his fourth win of the season. Rain postponed the series return to the reconfigured Tri-City Speedway in Illinois, setting up the series return to Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Arkansas for the first time since 1981 to open up the month of May.

The 30th anniversary Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season begins on February 8, 2008 with the 37th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

Up Next: 2007 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Season Review: Part II

-credit: woo