Series 2009 driver preview - Brian Ellenberger

2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Brian Ellenberger Concord, NC-- January 22, 2009--Since announcing in December that he would be a contender for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car ...

2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Brian Ellenberger

Concord, NC-- January 22, 2009--Since announcing in December that he would be a contender for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2009, Brian Ellenberger has been counting the days until the season opening 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park. With just about two weeks until the 2009 season kicks off, he and his team are putting the final touches on their cars and making sure they have everything ready for the beginning of the always demanding World of Outlaws campaign.

"I can't wait to get going," Ellenberger said. "The weather is cold up here in the north and we have snow on the ground. It's time to head south and get racing. I'm ready to go."

Ellenberger had been pondering taking to the road with the World of Outlaws for a number of years, but wanted to make sure the timing was right and he had all of the pieces on place. He and his team will utilize a J&J Chassis this season along with Garrett Racing Engines.

"It's something I have always wanted to," said the native of Butler, Pennsylvania of taking to the road with the World of Outlaws. "I was fortunate enough to partner up with a new company up here in Pennsylvania. They are going to help with sponsorship and they wanted to run with the Outlaws and have a car out there. We put together a proposal and here we are getting ready to head south to race with the Outlaws."

Ellenberger spent the 2008 season competing with the All Star Circuit of Champions, finishing fifth in points on the strength of 11 Top-10 finishes. He won his first career event with the series at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis Arkansas, a track that the World of Outlaws will compete at again in 2009 on April 24.

"There is no doubt it helps having running with the All Stars, especially since we qualified every night with them," he explained. "That's a very important part of the racing program with the Outlaws and I think that helped prepare us for that. I've run with the Outlaws quite a few times as well and I know these guys, so I know how tough it is going to be."

After opening the season at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida, where he has competed in the past, Ellenberger will visit seven consecutive tracks for the first time as the series heads west and then visits Texas, before returning to the Midwest and some tracks he is familiar with.

"There will be a lot of new tracks that I have never been to," shared the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender. "Looking back over the years, there are a lot of tracks that I have been to, but still looking at the schedule, there are 60 or 70 percent of the tracks on it, that I have never been to."

Ellenberger's team will be sponsored by Ti22 Performance, a new company based out of Zelienople, Pennsylvania, just 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, which is a full-service designer and manufacturer of high-quality, lightweight sprint car components. Ellenberger's car will aptly carry the No. 22 on it.

Ellenberger won a career-high five races in 2008. Along with winning with the All Stars, he was also victorious at his home track of Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania and three times at Mercer Raceway Park also in the Keystone State. He racked up 25 Top-10 finishes, running a very ambitious schedule that saw him compete at nearly 25 different tracks. He will add even more tracks to the list of speedways he has competed at in 2009, with nearly 80 dates at nearly 50 different tracks on the World of Outlaws schedule.

"I certainly can't wait to come back to Lernerville," he shared. "We have a good fan base here. It's close to home as well, so I am definitely looking forward to it. On the other side of it, I can't wait to get to some of these tracks that I have never been to like Chico (Silver Dollar Speedway) and Las Vegas. I have read a lot about those tracks and seen pictures and can't wait to race at them. After a few months on the road, I know we'll be anxious to get back home as well."

With another solid field of cars taking to the road with the World of Outlaws in 2009, Ellenberger will face stiff competition each time he straps into the car. In contending for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award, he looks to add his name to a very prestigious list of drivers that have captured that honor in the past, including fellow Western Pennsylvania native Tim Shaffer, who was the series top rookie in 1999.

"I have realistic expectations," Ellenberger noted. "I have talked to a lot of the drivers and crew chiefs over the last couple of months. I have to keep everything in perspective. I would like to get to as close to the Top-10 in points as possible and I would like to nail down the Rookie of the Year title. I also would like to get our first win, and that would be great if we could do that."

The 2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series seasons kicks off February 6-8 at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida with the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH. . For more information on the event, including tickets, visit: dirtcarnationals.com.

-credit: woo

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer