A Return Visit: Tony Bruce Jr. Looks for Another Strong Run at Sedalia's State Fair Speedway Sedalia, MO-- June 11, 2008-- Tony Bruce Jr. looks to take advantage of an earlier visit this season to Sedalia's State Fair Speedway tonight, as the...
A Return Visit: Tony Bruce Jr. Looks for Another Strong Run at Sedalia's State Fair Speedway
Sedalia, MO-- June 11, 2008-- Tony Bruce Jr. looks to take advantage of an earlier visit this season to Sedalia's State Fair Speedway tonight, as the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series makes their annual stop at the half-mile, in an event that will benefit the Michael Ross Memorial Foundation.
The sophomore driver competed at Sedalia back in May, in the Bob Ramey Memorial in a 360-sprint car earning a third-place finish against a very strong field. It was his second career Top-Five at the track which is located on the Missouri State Fairgrounds.
"We've always been good there," he noted. "I definitely like the track and we feel comfortable every time we go there and seem to run strong. We almost won a national tour race with a 360 (Sprint car in 2004) there and ran second. Last year at the World of Outlaws show we had a really good car. We just missed it on the gear."
The driver of the Bell Well Service Maxim looks for the track time he accumulated at the half-mile last month to help early in the night tonight. He looks to secure a Top-16 spot in time trials which would lock him into the inversion and place him in the first two rows of a heat race. The Top-two finishes in each heat race qualify for the all-important Crane Cams Dash, as well as the quickest two cars from time trials that transfer from their heat race into the A-Feature, who were not first or second in the heat race.
"It may a little bit in qualifying, since you have a good base set-up for what we are going to go there for," said the native of Liberal, Kansas of what he learned at Sedalia last month. "Qualifying is very important with the format. Hopefully it will help to have some laps there this season."
Bruce and his team have a good set-up for Sedalia's State Fair Speedway and will approach the race like they do every other one on the always demanding Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series calendar. The race tonight will be the first of a busy stretch of three races in four days for the series, all at tracks that the second-year driver has competed at in the past.
"The dirt there is a lot different than anywhere else we run," explained Bruce of Sedalia. "The dirt is very fine, so it gets pretty slick. It's similar to a few places, and the main thing is that it's another race track on the schedule that we go to."
The race at Sedalia will be the 12th race this season for the World of Outlaws on a half-mile track. Bruce has competed a total of 18 times this season on tracks that size, picking up a win back in March at Devil's Bowl Speedway in Texas. The series last competed on Sunday night at Tri-City Speedway in Illinois, which is a 3/8-mile, though the 23-year old driver points out that only subtle adjustments are needed when going from a tighter, smaller track to a half-mile.
"You have to slow your steering down on the bigger tracks," he shared. "You also have to be more smooth and not hustler the car quite as much. It's more about technique on the half-miles. There is a little bit different style for it."
Bruce finished a season-best fourth last Friday night at Knoxville Raceway, after winning the fourth heat race, which earned him a spot in the Crane Cams Dash, where he finished second. He points to a good qualifying run with a stout field of over 50 cars in attendance at Knoxville to being a key to his strong run, as well as the past experience he had at the track.
"We know that we can do it, we just have qualify in every night," Bruce said of running up front. "Our biggest struggle still is qualifying. Anytime that we start at the back, it's hard to make runs up like that into the Top-Five. If we get started up there, we know we can finish up there. It is good for our team confidence and good for team morale. We know we can do it, we just have to do it."
As he continues his second full season with the World of Outlaws, Bruce is becoming more comfortable as he returns to tracks for the second and third times. Competing against the best sprint car drivers in the world, many of whom have been racing longer than Bruce has been alive, he knows the important of getting up to speed quickly when his team rolls through the pit gate, with just a handful of laps in practice each night to do it.
"We have been to a lot of the tracks a number of times are very comfortable at them," he stated. "Every race track is the same. We get there and have hot laps and go right into qualifying. You have to get after it from the word go. It doesn't matter if it's a half-mile or a ¼-mile you just have to get after it."
As is the case at most World of Outlaws events, the laps he turns in time trials to begin the night will dictate how the rest of the night will probably turn out. Bruce is confident that his team has a good set-up to work with as they take to the always fast half-mile tonight, as he looks to build on his strong run last month at the track.
"We definitely want to get in the Top-Five," he said. "I would like to win the thing, though a good night for us would be a solid Top-Five and just keep it up front."
Bruce was one of a number of Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series drivers that participated in the Michael Ross Memorial Foundation Golf Outing on Tuesday at the Sedalia Country Club to help raise funds for the Foundation. After a relaxing day on the course, Bruce is ready to put the helmet on and strap into his car to compete in an environment that he is very familiar with.
On Wednesday, June 11 at Sedalia's State Fair Speedway, tickets will be $34 at the gate with all proceeds going to the Michael Ross Memorial Foundation. Tickets can also be purchased in advance for $32 at Yeager's Cycle in Sedalia or by calling 660-826-2925.