2006 World of Outlaws Season Review: Becca Anderson Norman, OK--Nov. 8, 2006 -- Becca Anderson knew it would be no easy task racing in 2006. After all, it was her first year on the road with the World of Outlaws Sprint Series, and first full...
2006 World of Outlaws Season Review: Becca Anderson
Norman, OK--Nov. 8, 2006 -- Becca Anderson knew it would be no easy task racing in 2006. After all, it was her first year on the road with the World of Outlaws Sprint Series, and first full year behind the wheel of a 410-sprint car.
After honing her skills in mini-sprints and then 360-sprints, she was well prepared heading into her rookie season paired with respected car owner/crew chief and former driver Mike Woodring.
When the dust settled after the season finale at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Anderson found herself in the 14th spot in the championship standings on the strength of five Top-10 finishes.
"It was a great season," said Anderson, driver of the Pit Stop Shop.com/Upstate Kenworth Maxim. "As a rookie, I can't complain. It was definitely full of its ups and downs. If we could have made the first half of the season like the last half, then I think we would have been competing for the rookie of the year. It's one of those things that happens when you think you are prepared, and we fell a little behind the eight ball."
Anderson visited many tracks for the first time, as she battled for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented by Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt. In her maiden voyage to the tricky high-banks of Tri-State (Ind) Speedway on April 15, she turned in a very solid ninth-place run to score her first career World of Outlaws Top-10 finish.
"The competition was every bit as tough as I envisioned it," she commented. "You can race weekly at home and run the same tracks all that you want, but when you come out on the road, it is a whole other ballgame. These guys run everywhere and a lot of them have been to these places before, and it's really tough. Traveling up and down the road, one minute you can be on a high, and the next minute rock bottom. It really shows what kind of person you are."
As the weather heated up, so did Anderson and her team, after making a mid-season chassis change. She racked up back-to-back Top-10 runs to begin the month of August. In her first trip to Butler (Mich) Speedway she turned in a stellar ninth-place effort, followed by a 10th at Eldora just two days later. She also picked up Top-10 at Skagit (Wash.) Speedway in her first visit to the Pacific Northwest, and at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway on the tight quarter-mile bullring.
"It was definitely a learning experience," explained Anderson. "The biggest thing was being comfortable enough in the car to run as hard as you can every single lap, and never making a mistake. The more laps you have, the better you are."
While she learned every time she took to the track, she also learned when she was in the pit area by just walking around and observing what other drivers were doing and how they prepared themselves for a night of intense racing.
"Everybody out here is pretty helpful," admitted Anderson. "You just try not to even ask, but just watch people, especially people that are good at a certain track, and try to pick up a few things and go from there."
As the season wore on, Anderson became very skilled at quickly adapting to tracks that she had never seen before, evident by her strong qualifying efforts, especially in the second half of the season. Beginning at the Harvest Classic in early September at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway, where she recorded her first ever quick time with the series, she went on to reel off five straight Top-six qualifying efforts.
With her confidence on the rise and the team clicking on all cylinders, Anderson stopped the clocks first yet again, this time at Eagle (Neb.) Raceway on September 15. She then proceeded to set a new track record at Wilmot (Wisc.) Speedway in her first ever trip to the tight 3/8-mile track. She capped the year off by turning the fastest lap for the fourth time on the season during the first night of the two-day season finale at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"We have a good car when it comes to qualifying," she said. "It's all about getting out there and running a smooth line and being as smooth as you can be."
While she was turning quick laps in time trials, she was also turning blazing laps in race action, winning her first series dash at U.S. 36 Raceway on May 5, one of the two dashes she won on the season. She backed this up by leading her first ever World of Outlaws lap at Skagit (Wash.) Speedway on August 25. The native of Houston, Delaware followed that up by leading nine laps at Jackson (Minn.) Speedway on September 16, taking the lead on the initial start from series champion Donny Schatz, before suffering a broken sideboard on her left wing.
"When you are out there running, you really don't get too caught up in thinking about leading the race," she bottom-lined. "You just run as hard as you can, and as smooth as you can every single lap. Hopefully if things fall right, then you will get one."
As the season wore on, it was visible how well the team was working together. Many races it was just Anderson and her car owner/crew chief Mike Woodring turning the wrenches, including the first day of the Harvest Classic at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway when they built a new car from the ground up before setting fast time in her first visit to the always demanding and fast half-mile.
"Mike and I had never worked together and getting on the same communication level was big," explained Anderson. "Not only did I need to get comfortable in the car, but we needed to get comfortable working together, and that takes time. That's all part of coming out here on the road. You have to have the complete team, not just driver and motor, but everything working together."
While she did not want to see the World of Outlaws season end, her season is not completely over yet. Looking to get as many laps as she can in a 410-sprint car, Anderson will forego the cold weather in the Northeast, and head to a place where it is currently summer.
"I'll get to go home and relax for a few days, and then go to Australia for eight days," said Anderson. "We'll be ready to go again in February."
Next Up: The series of season reviews for the Top-15 in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series continues with Jason Martin.