WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES AT A GLANCE: Money Time Rossburg, OH -- July 14, 2005 You won't find it on any calendar, but to the drivers in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series there is no more important time of the year than the Month of ...
WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES AT A GLANCE: Money Time
Rossburg, OH -- July 14, 2005
You won't find it on any calendar, but to the drivers in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series there is no more important time of the year than the Month of Money.
Beginning this weekend with the $50,000-to-win Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway, the Month of Money features the $30,000-to-win Don Martin Memorial Tuesday at Lernerville Speedway, the $20,000-to-win main event of the Summer Nationals July 21-23 at Williams Grove Speedway and finally the Knoxville Nationals Aug. 10-13 at Knoxville Raceway, where the winner will take $140,000 out of an $800,000 purse.
Racers normally are a pretty serious bunch, especially when the topic is money. In one breath they'll tell you they treat every race the same, that winning one of these prestigious events is reward enough. That is, of course, if they're not running second with the laps winding down in one of these high-dollar features. Then all bets are off, especially considering points are not a factor in the Kings Royal or the Knoxville Nationals because all teams receive the same total.
"It can get intense because of the money and stuff, but also it takes a little burden off of you knowing you can just go in there and you have a set number of points so you just go out there and race hard all night and not have to worry about points," said Kinser, a Mean 15 racer from Bloomington, Ind., who won earlier this year at Knoxville for the first time in his career. "At the same time, you're talking about big races. If you win these races, you'll be in the history books forever for winning those races. That's something you want more than anything. Definitely the big races are the ones everyone looks for and everyone pours all their heart and effort into. It can definitely make you feel bad or make you feel great."
Tim Shaffer, who nearly pulled out a victory in the 2002 Silver Cup, believes it's important for a team to keep pushing its momentum through the month.
"Everybody definitely wants to step up their program for it," said Shaffer, a Mean 15 racer from Aliquippa, Pa., who nearly pulled out victory in the 2002 Silver Cup. "It's definitely a good month to have your team going good and your car going. All you can do is the best you can do. If things roll your way, you make it happen. But definitely I'll push a little harder and it should get pretty exciting."
For most racers, these next few weeks are where they take in the bulk of their yearly income, at least that's what they hope will happen.
"You're out there to win the bigger races," said Steve Kinser, a Mean 15 racer from Bloomington, Ind., who has won a record 12 Knoxville Nationals titles. "That helps make your year. You definitely want to win all the high-paying races."
For some, the higher payouts can elevate the level of intensity and stress, if possible.
"If you think of it as a money situation, you're not going to do good," said Joey Saldana, a Mean 15 racer and native of Brownsburg, Ind. "I used to get all worked up and get so worried about what you're getting ready to do that you forget it's just a race. I was lucky enough to win the Kings Royal [in 2002] and once you do that it's like it takes a big concrete block off your shoulders when you come to the next race. I'd have to say winning one definitely makes it easier the second time around. Every other year before that was pretty stressful."
While drivers certainly feel how heavy the stress can weigh, the crews also bear much of the responsibility for getting their driver into Victory Lane.
"As much as we race, it's so hectic, it's a lot of work and it puts a lot on the teams and everything," said Brandon Wimmer, a Mean 15 racer from Fairmount, Ind., who is racing for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award. "When they bring the money factor into it, there's definitely a lot more racing going on for that win."
Of course, the larger the purses mean more cars will sign in hoping for a chance at glory. That can create an entire different set of issues, especially at high-speed, high-banked Eldora.
"You start throwing in more and more guys," said Brooke Tatnell, the current leader in the March to the Mean 15. "Already you've added Jeff Shepard in Kasey Kahne's car. We've started getting a few more guys and we'll start having a few more of the Pennsylvania guys so the intensity just rises. The one thing about this Outlaw deal, night in and night out the intensity is high but it keeps gaining momentum."
That's the sort of intensity that drives a racer like Tim Kaeding, who this season has started deep in the field three times at Eldora and wound up in the top-five when the checkered flag waved each time.
"Everybody's going to pick up their game a little bit so they can put a little bit of that money in their pockets," said Kaeding, a Mean 15 racer from San Jose, Calif. "I'm going to try as hard as I can to at least put some of it in our pocket. I know it's going to be hard because I know there's going to be a lot of guys out there gunning for it."
But many drivers believe the level of intensity shouldn't raise at all, that they race just as hard to win a heat as they would to win a high-dollar feature.
"People always say if you put up a $1 million-to-win these guys are going to run each other over for those deals, but we'll do that for a heat race that doesn't pay anything because we're all competitive," said Terry McCarl, a six-time track Knoxville track champion from Altoona, Iowa, who is second in the March to the Mean 15. "It's not that we want to crash anybody, but nobody wants anybody to beat them no matter what it is. The money is good for hype, the money is good when you win. It's in your mind back there, but more than anything the money makes it a bigger event. The bigger events come with a whole different aura in the pit area."
Keeping focused on the task at hand seems to be the key for each driver. Keeping the event in perspective, while not easy considering what's at stake, is what must happen in order to win.
"It's still just another day at the racetrack," said Paul McMahan, a Mean 15 racer from Nashville. "People will be driving just as hard as they do whether it pays $30,000-to-win or $5,000. It doesn't really matter. The thing that's going to get everything heated up more is the hot air and getting closer to the Knoxville Nationals. That's the biggest race of the year and that's the one everybody wants to win. The other ones are just a bonus, but the Month of Money is all about August in Knoxville."
Jason Meyers would like to treat the Month of Money as he would any other, but he believes there are some teams who will perform at a higher level than they normally would
"It's racing," said Jason Meyers, a Mean 15 racer from Clovis, Calif., who has four A-feature victories this year. "It's another race with a bigger payoff at the end of the night. Everyone has their own approach to this month. We go into it knowing it's just more racing. We want to win every race so it's no different, but you do see guys who step up this month."
One of those hoping to step up is Danny Lasoski, a four-time Knoxville Nationals champion. Before joining the Outlaws, Lasoski dominated Knoxville, winning seven track championships and more than 80 feature victories. His team has struggled for much of this season, but when Knoxville rolls around he'll be ready.
"We're struggling so bad right now we're trying to get a top-five," said Lasoski, a Mean 15 racer from Dover, Mo. "Our guys are working real hard. We just haven't hit on it, but we're not going to give up."
Still, it's hard to overlook all those dollar signs.
"You try not to look at any race any different," said Shane Stewart, a native of Bixby, Okla., who is leading the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year standings but is third in the March to the Mean 15. "It's hard to do that sometimes, but that's the way I try to approach it. Obviously there's a little more hype in the air this month. We turned our racing program around and we just hope to carry on throughout the month and hopefully we can make some good money."
For many drivers, that chance to make an extra couple of bucks means the concentration level will be at it's highest, even if some try to stay at the level from hot laps through the checkered flag.
"It shouldn't get any more intense," said Donny Schatz, a Mean 15 racer from Fargo, N.D., who has four victories this season. "You're out here to do what you love to do. You don't do anything different for the Month of Money, some people just psych themselves out for it. We just try to attack it the same way. We definitely want to be good that time, but it's not like we change our whole program for the Month of Money."
Unless what you're doing isn't working. That's where momentum comes into play.
"I think it really depends on how you go into the month," said Brian Paulus, who has two A-feature victories and a preliminary feature win. "We had a really awesome June and beginning of July. The Kings Royal is very important to us. Even if it paid $10,000-to-win or $100,000, it's not so much a dollar factor as it is putting your name on the list and having your picture taken with the crown on your head. Then you go into the Don Martin Memorial and just always had a lot of fun out there, a lot of memories. Then three days in a row at Williams Grove. It's non-stop. It's all how you're going to pace yourself through the swing."
Jason Sides knows all about wearing the crown. He'll be looking to model it in Victory Lane for the second year in a row, but just because he won in 2004 doesn't mean he can relax on Saturday night.
"There's always a chance you won't make the race," said Sides, a Mean 15 racer from Bartlett, Tenn. "Last year we barely got in then we ended up winning it. The Month of Money is tough by itself, just like every night out here is tough, but it just makes it that much more difficult to make the shows. Everybody steps their game up for all the money so it's a tough month.
"I'd love to win it again, for it to be the first win this year. If we didn't win anything all year but that one it would be OK by me. You always want to win and that one would be a nice one to win, especially with it being Tony Stewart's first year of owning the racetrack."
Craig Dollansky is just hoping he keeps his good car in one piece. An incident at Sedalia destroyed a brand new car and another at Route 66 Raceway just two days after winning destroyed another one.
"The Month of Money is a pretty major part of the schedule and we're definitely looking forward to it," said Dollansky, a Mean 15 racer from Elk River, Minn., who posted a preliminary feature win in May at Williams Grove. "We're down a little bit on equipment, but we'll be ready."
So it has come down to this for the 18 touring members of the World of Outlaws, the run for the money.
"This is the whole season this next month or two," said Jason Solwold, who is racing for the top rookie honors as well as a spot in the Mean 15. "Some guys are going to have a good next month and some guys are going to have a bad next month. We were having a bad one but it's slowly turning around."
Which begs the question, how far would a driver go if he was in second Saturday as the laps wound down knowing there's $50,000 awaiting the winner, not to mention the crown.
"Knowing it's not a points show and it's $50,000-to-win, if you're running second you'll do what you can to win," said Daryn Pittman, a Mean 15 racer and native of Owasso, Okla., who has one A-feature victory this season. "If it's a points show, you might not take a chance at falling out of the race quite as much, or most people probably would with $50,000-to-win. It would be a good position to be in, you just have to hope you can put yourself in that close to the front with that few laps left.
"It's serious now. The last couple of months are where the drivers make their money for the whole year and we're running out of time. Everybody is trying to grab up as much as they can."
Or as Terry McCarl joked: "You know, for $100,000 I'd probably put my brother in the fence and then repair his car later."
WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES AT A GLANCE: The Kings Royal, the Silver Cup and the Summer Nationals
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series invades Eldora Speedway Friday for the Knight Before the Kings Royal and Saturday for the $50,000-to-win Kings Royal. The series then shifts Tuesday (rain date of Wednesday) to Lernerville Speedway for the $30,000-to-win Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup before heading to Williams Grove Speedway for the three-night $20,000-to-win Summer Nationals.
* Eldora Speedway is about 2.5 miles north of Rossburg, Ohio. From Toledo (150 miles), go south on I-75 to Wapakoneta, west on US 33, continue west on State Route 29 to Celina, south on US 127 to North Star, turn right at traffic light, continue to Eldora Speedway. From Dayton (55 miles), north on I-75 to I-70, west on I-70 to exit 24, north on State Route 49 to Greenville, north on US 127 to North Star, turn left at traffic light, continue to Eldora Speedway. From Indianapolis (105 miles), east on I-70 to Ohio exit 10, north on US 127 to North Star, turn left at traffic light, continue to Eldora Speedway. From Columbus (105 miles), west on I-70 to exit 24, north on State Route 49 to Greenville, north on US 127 to North Star, turn left at traffic light, continue to Eldora Speedway. From Fort Wayne (65 miles), south on US 33 into Ohio, south on US 127 to North Star, turn right at traffic light, continue to Eldora Speedway.
* To get to Lernerville Speedway, take SR 28 north of Interstate 76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) to exit 17, then go 4.6 miles north on SR 356.
* To get to Williams Grove Speedway, take U.S. 15 seven miles southwest of I-76 (Pa. Turnpike), go 1.5 miles northwest on SR 74, then west on Park Place.
* Friday at Eldora, ticket sales begin at 10 a.m., pit pass sales begin at noon, gates close at 3 p.m. and re-open at 4 p.m. with warm-ups at 6 p.m. and racing at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, ticket sales begin at 10 a.m., pit pass sales begin at 11 a.m., there will be a National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Auction from noon to 2 p.m., gates close at 2 p.m and re-open at 3 p.m. with warm-ups at 6 p.m. and racing at 7:30 p.m.
* At Lernerville, fans will be able to enter the pits for a Meet-n-Greet with the teams from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., at which time the pits will be cleared and only those with a pit wristbrands will be allowed to re-enter. From 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. there will be a tailgating competition with a live remote from Y-108 FM and radio personality Zeke will assist in the judging (prizes include a new grill). Time trials are slated to begin at 7:15 p.m. with racing at 8 p.m.
* At Williams Grove, the action is set to begin at 7:45 p.m.
* At Eldora, tickets on Friday are $25 for ages 16 and up, $12 for ages 13-15, and $6 for ages 7-12. On Saturday, tickets are $30 for ages 16 and up, $20 for ages 13-15, and $10 for ages 7-12.
* At Lernerville, general admission tickets are $35 for ages 13-and-up and $18 for ages 6-12. Reserved seats are $37 for ages 13-and-up and $19 for ages 12-and-under.
* At Williams Grove on July 21-22, reserved seats are $28 and general admission seats are $27. On July 23, reserved seats are $30 and general admission seats are $28.
ABOUT THE TRACKS
* Eldora Speedway is a high-banked, half-mile oval. Craig Dollansky established the track record in a World of Outlaws Sprint Series race when he turned a lap around Eldora in 12.707 seconds on April 13, 2002.
* Lernerville Speedway, which is owned by DIRT MotorSports, is a high-banked, 4/10-mile clay oval. Joey Saldana established the track record with a lap of 12.334 seconds on May 15, 2002.
* Williams Grove Speedway is a semi-banked, half-mile oval. Brian Paulus set the record of 16.140 seconds on April 26, 2002.
* The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on July 20 the 17th annual Brad Doty Classic from Attica Raceway Park. The action from this weekend's events at Eldora Speedway is slated to air at 8 p.m. (ET) on July 27 and Aug. 3.
THE MARCH TO THE MEAN 15
On the third night of the March to the Mean 15 featuring Brooke Tatnell, Shane Stewart, Terry McCarl and Jason Solwold, Tatnell continued to build on his lead as the competition in Ohio definitely affected the March. Solwold, who was second entering the event, was forced into the B-main, where he was unable to transfer to the main event. With several of the series' top racers also in the same predicament, Solwold was unable to use a provisional and had to settle for 75 points. Shane Stewart tangled with Brandon Wimmer on the first lap of the A-main and had wound up with a 26th-place finish. Terry McCarl made the biggest jump by racing to an 11th-place finish that moved him from fourth to second, only 58 points behind Tatnell's Rush Racing machine.
"It's an advantage right now, but all it takes is one hiccup," Tatnell said. "It's pretty awesome that we're having such a good run. We've definitely peaked at the right time of year, especially with all the big money races coming up. It gives us confidence going back to Williams Grove, that's going to be a test."
The remaining two races to determine the newest member of the Mean 15 are the Knight Before the King's Royal July 15 at Eldora Speedway, and the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup July 19 at Lernerville Speedway.
NEWS & NOTES
* On the Web: The Official World of Outlaws Sprint Series Web site is overhauled and now alive at www.dirtmotorsports.com/sprint. Among the features are updated driver biographies with individual statistics and pictures, race-by-race statistics, detailed track information and race coverage, series news and team press releases. Also, links to the press kit and official rulebook can also be found at the bottom of the home page.
* Segway® giveaway: It might not have a wing on top, but one of the most talked about vehicles in the pits at all of the Outlaw races is the Segway® Human Transporter. Tuesday night at Lernerville Speedway, a lucky World of Outlaws Sprint Series fan will win a Segway courtesy of Rush Racing and its entire race team during the main event of The Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup. A Segway HT is a two-wheel, self-balancing personal transporter designed to take people anywhere they want to go, even a local dirt track. Many of the top drivers and their team members have been seen running through the pits or attempting the famous slide jobs on each other. Now one lucky fan will get their chance to experience the thrill of a Segway. -- Fans can pick up a ticket for the drawing at the Rush Racing Apparel trailer just outside the entrance to the stands. Tickets will be available during the fan appreciation and autograph sessions scheduled to take place between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Rush Racing, and a link to Segway, can be found on the Internet at http://www.rushracingsprintcars.com.
* Half-milers: The races at Eldora and Williams Grove are on half-mile ovals. Including preliminary features, the series has raced 18 times this year on half-mile circuits with Steve Kinser winning four times (Volusia, Eldora, Knoxville and Williams Grove), Sammy Swindell winning three times (twice at Eldora, once at Hagerstown), Craig Dollansky winning twice (Manzanita and Williams Grove), Kraig Kinser winning twice (Las Vegas, Knoxville), Jason Meyers winning twice (Granite City and Red River Valley), Donny Schatz winning twice (Las Vegas and Route 66 Raceway), and Brian Paulus (Red River Valley), Danny Lasoski (Knoxville) and Jeff Shepard (Volusia) each winning once.
* Reflections: Friday will mark the fourth World of Outlaws race this season at Eldora Speedway. Sammy Swindell has won a preliminary feature and an A-feature. Steve Kinser has won an A-feature. One of the drivers to watch at Eldora is Tim Kaeding, who charged through the field to finish in the top-five each time after starting deep in the grid. -- In the Commonwealth Clash in May at Lernerville, Joey Saldana raced his way to the preliminary feature win before Steve Kinser posted his 15th career victory at the track by winning the main event. -- At Williams Grove, Craig Dollansky motored his way to the preliminary feature victory and Steve Kinser, in the midst of an incredible run, posted his third consecutive win by taking the checkered flag in the A-feature.
* Sign on, tune in: Dirt track fans can enjoy more than 40 live and tape-delayed DIRT MotorSports events on Dirtvision. A Season CyberPass is now just $34.99 (valid through September) or a monthly subscription is only $9.99. The Dirtvision Cybercast schedule includes a variety of DIRT MotorSports events including World of Outlaws Sprint Series Series, World of Outlaws Stacker 2® Late Models, Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series, 358 Modified and Big Block Modified Super DIRT Series, UMP Late Models and MARS Stacker 2 Late Model Series events. To purchase your subscription, visit www.Dirtvision.com. Visit our Help/FAQ page if you have any questions or concerns regarding the Dirtvision CyberPass.
* Victory parade: When Stevie Smith took the checkered flag Wednesday night at Attica Raceway Park, he became the 14th different A-feature winner this season on the Outlaws circuit. Steve Kinser leads the way with 12 victories, most recently winning June 18 at Eagle Raceway in the 22nd Annual Eagle Nationals. Kraig Kinser won his fourth A-feature of the season in June at Knoxville Raceway. He also has a preliminary feature win at Las Vegas. Jason Meyers earned his fourth win of the season July 2 at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D. Donny Schatz also has four A-feature victories, at Parramatta, Las Vegas and Houston and Joliet, Ill. Brian Paulus won June 28 at Huset's Speedway for his second victory of the season, and he also was the preliminary feature winner at the Duel in the Dakotas at Red River Valley Speedway. Tim Shaffer picked up his second win of the season May 6 at Lake Ozark Speedway. Sammy Swindell won his second A-feature of the season June 4 at Eldora Speedway. Swindell also has a preliminary feature win April 8 at Eldora. Craig Dollansky has won two features, most recently at Powercom Park, and he also has a preliminary feature win. Single-event winners include Tim Kaeding June 11 at Sheboygan County Fair Park, Daryn Pittman April 23 at 81 Speedway in Wichita, Brooke Tatnell July 4 at Cedar Lake Speedway, Chad Kemenah July 9 at I-55 Raceway, and Jeff Shepard Feb. 11 at Volusia Speedway Park. In Preliminary Features, Danny Lasoski has won twice and Joey Saldana has won once.
* The Mean 15: The impressive 2005 edition of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series' Mean 15 racers includes Craig Dollansky (No. 7 owned by Karavan Motorsports), Tim Kaeding (No. 83 owned by Dennis Roth), Kraig Kinser (No. 11k owned by Steve Kinser Racing), Steve Kinser (No. 11 owned by Steve Kinser Racing), Danny Lasoski (No. 20 owned by Tony Stewart Motorsports), Paul McMahan (No. 11h owned by David Helm), Jason Meyers (No. 14 owned by the Elite Racing Team), Brian Paulus (No. 28 owned by Pender Motorsports), Daryn Pittman (No. 21 owned by Titan Racing), Joey Saldana (No. 2 owned by Woodward Racing), Donny Schatz (No. 15 owned by Schatz Motorsports), Tim Shaffer (No. 6 owned by Parsons Motorsports), Jason Sides (No. 7s owned by Sides Motorsports), and Brandon Wimmer (No. 7tw owned by Wimmer-Luck Racing).
* On tour, too: Several other drivers have committed to running the bulk of the schedule with the World of Outlaws Sprint Series in 2005 with hopes of earning a spot in a future Mean 15: Australian Brooke Tatnell is back in the series with Rush Racing. Terry McCarl, who has won the past six 410 sprint championships at Knoxville Raceway. Shane Stewart, who is battling for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year title. Jason Solwold, a former track champion at Skagit Speedway who has three top-fives. Sammy Swindell, a sprint car legend and three-time Outlaws champion, who has two A-feature victories this year. Kevin Swindell, 16, who became the youngest driver to finish in the top 10 with the Outlaws when finished sixth in the feature at Parramatta City Raceway in January.
* Tune into the Web: If fans can't get to any of the upcoming races, they can experience the excitement of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series live on Dirtvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network, where announcer John Gibson keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the event. To listen to the audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo. Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. Companies who are interested in advertising on the new DIRT Radio Network should contact Mark Noble, DIRT MotorSports VP Sales and Marketing, at 719-884-2141. For technical support or questions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Hear it firsthand: RACEceiver is the Official Driver Communicator of DIRT MotorSports. A compact radio receiver that conveniently fits into a driver's pocket, a RACEceiver allows each driver to hear directions from series officials, which greatly enhances the safety and timeliness of events. A similar version available to fans will allow RACEceiver users to hear what information series officials are relaying to the drivers. For more information about RACEceiver, visit www.raceceiver.com, call 866-301-7223, or look for their sales trailers at various events.
After departing Williams Grove, the Outlaws will head north for a one-night event July 25 at Fulton Speedway in Fulton, N.Y., then return to Michigan for an SLS Promotions race July 27 at Hartford Speedway Park, before heading to Minnesota for the July 29-30 SLS Promotions' Princeton Nationals.