Sides Looks Forward to Competing at Eldora Speedway Some drivers spend their entire career trying to win a race at the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio. Jason Sides accomplished that fete in his rookie season with the World of Outlaws in 2004. Not...
Sides Looks Forward to Competing at Eldora Speedway
Some drivers spend their entire career trying to win a race at the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio. Jason Sides accomplished that fete in his rookie season with the World of Outlaws in 2004. Not only did he win at the storied half-mile, but he won the Kings Royal, one of the biggest events in all of sprint car racing, to put his name in the history books with some of the legends of the sport who have also triumphed in the event.
In the 24-year history of the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway, 13 drivers have worn the crown and held the scepter at the end of the night and taken home the $50,000 payday. For Sides, the 2004 Kings Royal triumph was not only his first win at Eldora Speedway, but also his first victory with the World of Outlaws, and it came during the same season that he claimed the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award.
On Friday, September 21, he will have another chance to compete at the famed half-mile, as the World of Outlaws kick-off the American Revolution Weekend presented by Chevrolet. This will mark the fifth and final race of the season for the series at the track which is owned by NASCAR star Tony Stewart.
"I will always remember that race," said Sides, driver of the Wetherington Tractor Services Maxim, when asked about the 2004 Kings Royal. "It's always special to go there. Eldora is a big race track and also big for money races."
Prior to the 2007 season, extensive work was completed on the track surface at Eldora, as new clay was brought in and the banking was reworked to measure nine degrees on the straightaways and 18 degrees in the corners. This presented a new challenge to Sides, though being used to racing close to 100 times a season, he was quickly able to adapt and found a set-up that suited the resurfaced track very well.
"They have changed the track a little bit since I won there and I like it," he noted. "We try to treat it like any other race track that we go to night in and night out. It's another place that we go. We'll go back this time and see what we can do."
In the World of Outlaws first visit of the season to the high-banked half-mile in April, most of the drivers used the bottom of the track. On that night, Sides finished third, with a very solid field of cars in attendance. He was third quick in time trials that evening and worked his way to the front of the A-Feature from the seventh starting spot. Sides expects a two-grooved race track again this Friday night, as more laps have been turned over the course of the season at the track.
"They made the bottom racier," he said. "The top is not banked as much as it used to be. They made the bottom better. I enjoyed being able to race down there. With the weather being cool, it should stay a little moister toward the bottom of the track and we should be able to race down there again."
When the World of Outlaws returned to Eldora in June, considerable work had been done again to the surface, and many drivers used the high side of the track, reminiscent of the countless races where the winner would run just inches off of the wall. Many drivers also used the low side of the track, as two and three-wide racing was seen throughout the night. This was also the case during the Kings Royal weekend in July, with a stout field of cars on-hand.
"They went back and changed it a little more and made the top a little racier," explained Sides. "They keep the bottom a little drier to get people to run up top. It made it feel more like it used to be over there."
Sides heads to Eldora in search of his second win of the season. He won at Ohsweken Speedway in Canada in July, as the World of Outlaws returned north of the border for the first time in over 25 years. On that night, he had a spirited battle with veteran Jac Haudenschild for the win. Sides has 21 Top-10 finishes on the season and is just 17 points out of the 13th spot in the championship standings.
"The season has been going pretty well for us," he noted. "We have had some ups and down so far and blew some motors up. For the most part though, it has been a good year. I would like to have won a few more races and run in the Top-Five in a few more of them, but we still have some races left to do that in."
With a total of 68 racing events in the books this season, Sides points out just how competitive the 2007 World of Outlaws season has been. He is one of 17 drivers that has won an A-Feature event with the series, as well as one of 26 drivers that has led laps this season. He has paced the field for 77 circuits this season.
The native of Bartlett, Tennessee also has set fast time twice in time trials, in addition to winning the Crane Cams Dash four times, to earn the same number of pole positions.
"When you look at the car count this season, that speaks for itself," said Sides, when talking about how competitive the 2007 season has been. "Anybody can win on any given night. There have been numerous people that have won races."
With 11 events remaining on the 2007 schedule, Sides would like nothing more than to visit Victory Lane again a time or two this season. That quest will begin this weekend at Eldora Speedway, as he looks for his second career win at the storied track. He also will visit another of the most famed tracks in the country next weekend as the World of Outlaws travel to Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania for the National Open. He ran very strong there during the Summer Nationals in July, the last time the series visited the half-mile.
"For myself to win at Williams Grove or somewhere like that, where we have led some laps and come close to winning would be nice," he said. "We'll just take it one race at a time."
On Friday, September 21 at Eldora Speedway, adult tickets for World of Outlaws portion of the American Revolution Weekend presented by Chevrolet will be $25, with tickets for children ages 12-15, $15, while tickets for kids 7-11 will be $6 and kids 6-under will be admitted free.