World of Outlaws Wrap-Up: Attica Raceway Park & I-96 Speedway Concord, NC--May 31, 2009 Close quarters: In what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive seasons in World of Outlaws history, the Top-Four drivers in the series championship...
World of Outlaws Wrap-Up: Attica Raceway Park & I-96 Speedway
Concord, NC--May 31, 2009
Close quarters: In what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive seasons in World of Outlaws history, the Top-Four drivers in the series championship standings are separated by just 49 points after the two events this past weekend. Donny Schatz, the three-time and defending series champion, retained the top spot after getting tangled up with a lapped car while leading on Friday night and recovered from a spin while running third on Saturday night to salvage a Top-10 finish. Steve Kinser came all the way from the back of the field to finish 10th on Friday night and was the runner-up on Saturday night and now trails Schatz by just 14 markers as he chases his record 21st title. Joey Saldana also came from the back of the field on Friday to score a Top-10 and was fifth on Saturday night to move to within 29 points of Schatz. Jason Meyers used his third win of the 2009 campaign to gain ground as well and is now 49 markers out of the lead.
A career best finish: Brian Ellenberger, who is contending for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award this season, earned a career-best 10th-place finish on Saturday night at I-96 Speedway. It was his second consecutive Top-10 finish at the half-mile as he finished fifth there in 2000 with the All Star Circuit of Champions. The native of Butler, Pennsylvania has had veteran crew chief Sonny Kratzer, the reigning World of Outlaws Crew Chief of the Year, turning the wrenches since the beginning of April, which has helped lessen the learning curve for Ellenberger who in his first year on the road full-time with the series.
Gaining more ground: Danny Lasoski finished fourth at I-96 Speedway to earn his 10th Top-Five of the season. He moved to within just two points of Jason Sides in the championship standings for the sixth spot. The 2001 series champion has one win this year with that coming a couple weeks back at Delaware International Speedway. His team led by Barry Jackson of JEI Chassis, has utilized a couple of new cars over the last two weeks and has been fine tuning their new machines.
"We're getting better and better," said Lasoski. "Each week we are getting more consistent and that is what you have to be to win these races. You have to be consistent first and get in the Top-Five and then your wins will come."
We'll never know: Dale Blaney had worked his way to the second spot on Friday night and was tracking down Donny Schatz who was leading, when Schatz got tangled up with a lapped car, ending his night and leaving Blaney to ponder if he could have gotten around Schatz if and when he caught him. Blaney inherited the lead after Schatz's trouble and went on to lead the final 10 laps of the event to score his first World of Outlaws win since 2001.
"I wish that wouldn't have happened, but those things do happen," said Blaney. "We were coming on at the end. We were catching him and he is awfully good when the track gets like this. My car was really good and I would have liked to have tested him a little bit."
A new mount: Jason Meyers utilized a brand new KPC Chassis designed and built by his Elite Racing team along with Steve Kinser, on Friday night at Attica Raceway Park, finishing second and he followed that up on Saturday night with a win at I-96 Speedway. The California native has finished ninth or better in five consecutive races as he and his team strive for the consistency that they possessed last season. With the schedule picking up in the next few weeks, they will have plenty of opportunities to hit the track.
"For us we have been struggling, which makes it hard to get better when you are not racing a lot, but it also doesn't hurt you as much when you are not running," explained Meyers. "Fortunately for us, we have worked a lot on our package and have built a lot of race cars this year. Steve Kent has worked his tail off and we had another new one here tonight and it was pretty good."
Another strong run: Sam Hafertepe Jr. had a strong weekend, finishing fifth on Friday night at Attica after starting 21st and he was seventh on Saturday night after lining up 13th. After picking up a career-best second-place finish at Virginia Motor Speedway on May 23, he has finished seventh or better in three of the last four World of Outlaws events. He is just outside of the Top-10 in the championship standings.
"We're really happy with how things are going," said Hafertepe. "We've found out a few things about the car the last few weeks and we just keep clipping away. We're getting strong each night and making fine tune adjustments now. We hadn't really run good at Attica in the past and ran good there and we had never really run good in Michigan (I-96 Speedway) and ran good there. We'll just keep fine tuning on the car and hopefully it keeps getting better."
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 the Attica Raceway Park and I-96 Speedway events will be online within the next couple of days.
Keep up with all the action: The number of "Followers" keeping up with the World of Outlaws via Twitter online and through text messages on cell phones continues to grow. Updates are provided throughout race nights beginning with hot laps and continuing all the way through the final checkered flag of the night. To sign-up visit: twitter.com/worldofoutlaws and receive live race updates, anywhere, anytime.
Up next: The World of Outlaws head to Lawrenceburg Speedway in Indiana for the first time since 2006 on Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6 and the two-day event will also mark the first time the series has visited the track since it was reconfigured from a ¼-mile to a 3/8-mile.