World of Outlaws Wrap-up: Knoxville Raceway The battle at the top continues: Steve Kinser used his series leading 14th Top-10 finish of the season to continue to remain atop the World of Outlaws championship standings as he chases his record...
World of Outlaws Wrap-up: Knoxville Raceway
The battle at the top continues: Steve Kinser used his series leading 14th Top-10 finish of the season to continue to remain atop the World of Outlaws championship standings as he chases his record 21st title. Donny Schatz, the three-time and defending series title winner used his fourth win of the season to move into the second spot in points. The North Dakota native also was quickest in time trials to earn five bonus points and is now just 25 markers behind Kinser. Joey Saldana, who leads the series with five wins in the first 15 events this season, is third in points, followed by Jason Meyers and Jason Sides. The Top-Five in the standings are separated by just 78 markers with over 60 nights of racing remaining in 2009.
The competition just keeps getting tougher: Three drivers led laps on Saturday night at Knoxville Raceway to bring the total to 17 different drivers that have paced the field in the first 15 events of the season. Last year 23 drivers led laps in 65 total events. Brian Brown won the Crane Cams Dash and in the process became the 13 different drivers to win that to earn a pole position for an A-Feature in 2009. Seven drivers have won A-Feature events thus far in 2009 and the same number of drivers have been quickest in time trials.
A chip off the old block: Austin McCarl, the 16-year old son of veteran driver Terry McCarl made his World of Outlaws debut on Saturday night at Knoxville Raceway. The event also marked his first start in a 410-sprint car. The father/son duo both lined up in the first heat race, with Terry finishing fifth while Austin was ninth. Terry wound up leading a number of laps in the A-Feature before settling for a runner-up finish, while Austin finished his night in the fifth spot in the C-Main with a very strong field of 47 cars assembled for the opening night at Knoxville Raceway, where he will compete all season long.
"It was probably better that he was in that heat race, because then I couldn't watch him race," said the older McCarl. "I thought he was going to pass me because I was so bad early in that thing. He's doing a good job and I am proud of him. I think he'll just get better and better."
Gearing up: Donny Schatz has an amazing streak of finishes going at Knoxville Raceway, dating back to 2005, in which he has finished eighth of better in 17 consecutive races, with eight of those being wins. He has won the Knoxville Nationals in three consecutive years and he and his team use each start at Knoxville to try different things and learn as they gear up for sprint car racing's biggest race in August.
"It's a good place to keep a streak going," noted Schatz. "I think everyone's mind is on the (Knoxville) Nationals when they come here and we just have to take one race at a time when we come here. I think the fun part will be 40 laps at the Nationals like they say they are going to do. I am pumped for that. My race car gets better the longer it goes and I'm tickled to death to see another 10 laps."
Always pushing forward: Steve Kinser used a restart with one lap to go to snag the third position from early race leader Brian Brown. By way of World of Outlaws rules, two consecutive green flag laps have to be completed to finish a race and the extra lap gave Kinser one more shot at the former Knoxville Raceway track champion and that was all he need to pick up his series leading ninth Top-Five finish and 14th Top-10 of the season.
"I got one spot there and I didn't figure I would," shared Kinser. "(Brian Brown) Brownie got up there and was running the top and I was able to get by him in the middle where the rubber was. I had him passed and he got back by me and then he gave me a second chance. It worked out I guess."
Nothing but respect: Brian Brown led the first 14 laps on Saturday night as he looked for his first career World of Outlaws win. The native of Grain Valley, Missouri wound up fourth, matching his best career finish with the series. Three of the four drivers he battled on Saturday night were current and former series champions and the fourth was six-time Knoxville Raceway track champion Terry McCarl. He first has his uncle Danny Lasoski chasing him down, before he battled Donny Schatz and then Steve Kinser late in the race.
"Those Outlaws guys show why they are the 100 percent best in the business. They are like sharks. One of them bites you and the next thing you know all of their friends show up and go after you when they see blood. To run fourth with the Outlaws and win the heat and the dash, I'm tickled to death."
Dedicating the second floor of the Hall of Fame: The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum held a "Grand Opening" and "Ribbon Cutting" on Friday night prior to the World of Outlaws event for their recently completed second floor, which features a state-of-the-art theater and research library. Several World of Outlaws Officials, drivers and crew members attended the ceremony and visited with fans. Members of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame that were present included: Doug Wolfgang, Shane Carson, Bert Emick, Bob Trostle and "Speedy" Bill Smith.
"We really want to thank everyone who turned out to be present for the official opening of our new Library and Research Center, 42-seat Theatre funded by a gift from the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, and National Sprint Car Hall of Fame presented by the Pella Rolscreen Foundation," said Bob Baker, the Executive Director of the Museum. "There are way too many people who have had a real part in getting us to this point to mention them all, but certainly our founding board members, past and current board members, and past and present Marion County Fair board members should all be very, very proud."
Photo Gallery: The Media Gallery section of www.WorldofOutlaws.com continues to be updated after each event. Visit www.worldofoutlaws.com/sprint/MediaGallery.aspx to see Photo Galleries from 2009 World of Outlaws events. A Photo Gallery from this past weekend's event at Knoxville Raceway will be online within the next couple of days.
Up next: The World of Outlaws make their first stop of the season at the legendary Eldora Speedway in Ohio for two full nights of racing on Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9.