Series 2009 driver preview - Jason Sides

2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Jason Sides Concord, NC-- February 4, 2009--Countless hours in the shop over the winter making sure every nut and bolt was tight and everything was in its proper place has Jason Sides anxious...

2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Jason Sides

Concord, NC-- February 4, 2009--Countless hours in the shop over the winter making sure every nut and bolt was tight and everything was in its proper place has Jason Sides anxious for the 2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season to get underway.

Sides looks to keep momentum going that he has dating back to the end of last season, having finished sixth or better in six of his last seven starts in a sprint car, including a stint in Australia over the Holiday season. The World of Outlaws season will begin for him on February 6 in the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida.

"I am very excited for Florida," said Sides. "We were in Australia for a couple of weeks and ran pretty good. I'm ready to get the season here started."

Sides spent some time during the off-season in Australia and ran very strong at Parramatta City Raceway, picking up three Top-Five finishes in four starts, including a runner-up performance in his final race Down Under. He also was running in the Top-Three during the $50,000 Scott Darley Memorial before getting caught up with a lapped car.

"It does help racing there," noted the 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. "We had some good runs and really didn't change a lot, but we learned a few things. We'll try some of what we learned at Volusia and see if it doesn't help us out."

With one of the strongest fields ever assembled in the 31-year history of the World of Outlaws, Sides knows that he'll have to be on his game every time he straps into the race car. He enters the season with two career World of Outlaws A-Feature wins and over 100 Top-10 finishes. Looking to turn some extra laps prior to the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park, he began his season in the Sunshine State last weekend, picking up a runner-up finish as well as turning in a sixth-place performance.

"It's always tough on the road with the Outlaws," explained the 2004 Kings Royal winner. "Any given year, anyone can start out strong and that often sets the tone for the rest of the year if it's good or bad. To have a good beginning of the season is the key nowadays."

Sides had two career wins at Volusia Speedway Park, with the first of those coming in 2002 and the other in 2006. He has nine career Top-10 finishes at the half-mile, including two last season. He made his first start at Volusia in 2001 and this season will mark the eighth time in the last nine years he has opened his season in the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH.

"Florida is always tough, said Sides. "You have all the Outlaws and the guys from Pennsylvania down there and everyone wants to start racing with it being the beginning of the year. Everybody is there and the six days of racing makes for a good weeklong racing series."

Sides will get the chance to race near home once this season as the World of Outlaws visit Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Arkansas for the second consecutive season. The always racy ¼-mile is just a stone's throw from his Bartlett, Tennessee home. He has nine career Top-10 finishes at Riverside.

"We always look forward to it," he shared. "I wish we would run a little bit better there and hopefully we will this year. Being at home, the local fans get to see us, as well family members. It's nice to have all of those people at the races."

Sides, who has always been one of the most hands on drivers in the pit area his entire career, will continue that trend this season as he will do the majority of the work on his race car, in addition to driving the truck and trailer, while strapping the helmet on each and every night to compete against the best sprint car drivers in the world. He has been steadily working all off-season to make sure everything is in place for another season on the road with the World of Outlaws.

"It is something that I really enjoy," said Sides of doing most of the work on his race cars. "I took my time putting the cars for the season together just the way I like them. That's part of it and I think that is what makes me still love the sport."

Sides finished 13th in points last season on the strength of 17 Top-10 finishes, with a season-best finish of third at the famed Eldora Speedway. He also picked up Top-Five finishes in the series inaugural visit to 34 Raceway in Iowa and in the season finale during the VAULT World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway live on SPEED. He has finished in the Top-10 in the World of Outlaws championship standings twice in his career and lists consistency as a main goal for this season.

"Good strong runs and a few wins would make it a good year," he said. "I think we should have won a few times last year and let them slip away. We had a good run going in the $50,000 to win race in Australia and just got tangled up with a lapped car there. Hopefully we can get some good solid runs this year and have a good Top-10 effort."

The 2009 World of Outlaws season opens on February 6 at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida, with the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH.

-credit: woo

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Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Jason Sides