Sophomore Seasons Begins for Brian Ellenberger at the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park
Concord, NC--January 15, 2010--Brian Ellenberger knew that the 2009 season would be a learning experience as he took to the road full-time for the first time with the World of Outlaws, visiting countless tracks from coast-to-coast that he had never seen, competing against drives that have been on the road for years and years. When it was all said and done, the native of Butler, Pennsylvania had gained a vast amount of knowledge and priceless experience, in addition to earning the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award.
Ellenberger will take to the road again in 2010 with the World of Outlaws for his sophomore beginning with the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park, February 5-7.
"I'm absolutely ready to get going," said Ellenberger. "We've been working in the shop and it's been pretty snowy up here in Pennsylvania, so I am anxious to get to Florida."
Ellenberger has competed in the DIRTcar Nationals in each of the last three years and seven times overall in his career dating back to 1997 when he competed at the then one-third-mile configuration at Volusia Speedway Park with the All Star Circuit of Champions. With drivers from across the country converging on the Sunshine State to open the 2010 season, the level of competition will be stout as always at the half-mile.
"It's always tough and it's tough for everybody," he noted. "Everyone goes down there to see what they have and if the changes they made over the winter will work or if they won't work. There are a lot of good cars and great competition down there for five days. It's never an easy deal, but it's a gauge to see where your program is after coming off a few months of winter."
Though there is nearly ninth months of racing following the season opening DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia, getting off to a strong start in the event often sets the tone for the remainder of the season and a team can leave the Sunshine State with plenty of momentum by running well with the strong field of cars that will be on-hand for the lid lifter.
"It's important to come out of the box strong," stated Ellenberger, a native of Butler, Pennsylvania. "We've been preparing some new cars and we're going to be trying some things. That's a place where you can experiment a little bit. We have some shocks and some things we are going to try. Preparing and being able to run a few of those All Star races beforehand will allow us to experiment a little bit with some things that we think will help our program."
With a full year on the road under his belt, Ellenberger will be returning to many of the tracks on the 2010 schedule, facilities he was making his debut at last year. He picked up a career-best third-place finish with the World of Outlaws last season at Dodge City Raceway Park in Kansas in his debut at the state-of-the-art 3/8-mile, where the two-day Boot Hill Showdown will again be contested this coming season. He also picked up Top-10 finishes last season at Castrol Raceway in Canada, which is back on the schedule with the two-day Oil City Cup in 2010, as well as I-96 Speedway in Michigan and Beaver Dam Raceway in Wisconsin.
"It was a big learning curve for us last year out on the tour and being able to go back to tracks for the second and third times definitely will help," he explained. "We'll be better prepared for the tracks we saw last year and I'm real excited to get back to them."
With the World of Outlaws switch to Goodyear Tires in 2010, Ellenberger looks to use what he learned running them for a portion of last year to his advantage. Prior to the DIRTcar Nationals kicking off, drivers will have an opportunity to practice on Goodyear Tires on February 2 at Volusia Speedway Park.
"I think it will help us a little bit," he said of his previous experience running Goodyear Tires. "We weren't able to run the right rear tire, so obviously that will be as new to us as everybody else. Having some experience with the left rears and the front tires last year, won't hurt us for sure."
With another of the strongest fields in World of Outlaws history being assembled and a slate of over 70 races at over 40 tracks from coast-to-coast as well as three separate visits to Canada, the level of competition continues to rise. Ellenberger and his team have been hard at work all winter in the shop preparing for their sophomore season on the road and he is looking forward to the challenge.
"It does get tougher each year and that's a good thing," said Ellenberger. "Having a strong field following the tour is good for the Outlaws and also good for sprint car racing. I'm glad to see it and the more the competition, the better that makes us all."
After Mother Nature won the second of two scheduled races at Ellenberger's home track of Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania last fall, the native of nearby Butler will have two chances to compete at the always racey track in 2010, first in the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup Twin 30's in July and then in September for the Commonwealth Clash. He will get his first chance to race close to home in May when the World of Outlaws make their debut at Tri-City Speedway in Franklin, Penn., a track he has won at in the past.
"I love Lernerville Speedway," he said. "It's 20 minutes from my house and I love getting back to that facility. I'm very excited to see Tri-City on the schedule. That's a track that I have raced at quite a bit over the years as well. The more races that are in my backyard the better."
After finishing 11th in points in 2009 and claiming the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award, Ellenberger looks to improve upon that during his sophomore season. With everything he learned both on and off the track during his rookie campaign, he is ready to put all of that to good use.
"I'd certainly like to break the Top-10 this year for sure," stated Ellenberger, when asked his goals for the 2010 campaign. "We're definitely looking for a lot more Top-Five finishes. That's where we need to get our program and get our car. I'd still love to get that first World of Outlaws victory."
The 2010 World of Outlaws season kicks off with the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park February 5-7. For tickets visit: www.DIRTcarNationals.com or call 386-985-4402. Each ticket purchased is also a free fan pit pass.