A Well Deserved Trip Home: Solwold Looks Forward to Racing at Grays Harbor Jason Solwold is usually a pretty popular guy each year at the end of August and the main reason for that is because he traditionally takes a number of sprint car...
A Well Deserved Trip Home: Solwold Looks Forward to Racing at Grays Harbor
Jason Solwold is usually a pretty popular guy each year at the end of August and the main reason for that is because he traditionally takes a number of sprint car drivers on a fishing expedition in his home state of Washington.
Fishing is one of his biggest hobbies away from the race track, but finding the time to make it out on the water is usually the toughest part, with the nearly 90 race schedule that he is used to contesting being a full-time sprint car driver. Solwold has had plenty of opportunities over the last week to go fishing as he returned home to Mt. Vernon, Washington in preparation for a trio of races in his home state, capped off by the World of Outlaws return to Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma on Monday, August 27.
For Solwold, fishing is a good way to relax and get away from the pressures that racing full-time against the best sprint car drivers in the world night in and night out carries.
"It helps going fishing, but sometimes the phone rings more when I'm out there," he smiled. "We went out there to play around and have some fun and to get away from racing for a bit."
On the track, Solwold is a past winner at Grays Harbor Raceway in a 360-sprint car with the former Northern Sprint Tour. He also finished sixth last season in two National Sprint Tour events at the track.
"We're looking forward to going to Elma," said Solwold, driver of the City Wide Insulation Maxim. "That is a pretty good race track. It is always good to get home for a couple of days."
Despite contesting one of the most grueling schedules in all of motorsports, Solwold has found time on a couple of occasions this season to return home to visit family and friends in the scenic Pacific Northwest. Having a full week at home prior to the three races in his home state was a benefit to Solwold, who has been racing non-stop since January when he competed in Australia again many fellow World of Outlaws drivers to open the season.
"I've gone back and forth a few times this year, but this will be the first time we have had a full week at home," he noted. "This time we get to hang out and do a few things."
Solwold approaches Grays Harbor Raceway like he does most every other track, despite having more laps there than most of the other World of Outlaws drivers. He has had a great deal of success at the high-banked 3/8-mile over the years.
"It's very close to a lot of places that we go to," explained Solwold. "It's not that much different from where we raced last weekend (Castrol Raceway in Edmonton) or Beaver Dam (Charter Raceway Park in Wisconsin) or places like that. It's pretty much the same. We usually run pretty good there so we are looking forward to it."
Solwold knows that he will have a crowd gathered around his trailer all night long waiting to talk to him and give him a handshake. He is glad to be able to return home to race in front of fans that are truly passionate about sprint car racing.
"Racing near home really doesn't add any pressure," he said. "The people we know out there are excited to see us racing there. A lot of them do not get to see us that much other than on television. They are always excited to go to the races."
Solwold earned his first World of Outlaws A-Feature win of the season and his career earlier this month at Charter Raceway Park in Wisconsin. He won twice last season in preliminary features at Silver Dollar Speedway and Williams Grove Speedway. Entering the trio of races in his home state, Solwold was solidly in the Top-10 in championship points, with 32 Top-10 finishes. He finished third on Friday night at Skagit Speedway, in his first race at that track in a number of years.
"Winning took a little pressure off," he admitted. "We had been close a few times and it's always great to get that first one out of the way. We had a pretty good car the other (at Castrol Raceway) but the track was narrow and I got into the wall. We had a pretty good streak going for a couple of weeks and we'll try to start that again."
After a ninth-place finish in the Knoxville Nationals, Solwold quickly changed his focus to the remainder of the World of Outlaws season, where he currently is ninth in the championship standings.
"The season really does wind down quick after Knoxville," said Solwold. "For me, we go to the West Coast and that's close to home for me. We still have a lot of traveling left to do this year, but I'll get to be home more now that I was earlier in the summer."
While there are still over 20 races remaining on the 2007 schedule, it is never too early for Solwold and his team to begin thinking about and preparing for the 2008 season. With only a little over three months from the time the final checkered flag flies in Charlotte in early November until the first green flag of 2008 waves at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida in early February, there is plenty of work to get done.
"It will be a good end to the season if we can keep getting solid Top-Fives and hopefully win a few more races," he said. "I'd like to win the Gold Cup at Chico (Silver Dollar Speedway). Last year we had a good shot at that. I'm just looking forward to getting going and beginning to look at next year."