World of Outlaws Wrap-Up: World Finals Concord, NC--November 9, 2009 Wrapping up the title: Donny Schatz races to win every time he is on the track and he was fighting a different battle on Saturday night in the finale of the World Finals as he...
World of Outlaws Wrap-Up: World Finals
Concord, NC--November 9, 2009
Wrapping up the title: Donny Schatz races to win every time he is on the track and he was fighting a different battle on Saturday night in the finale of the World Finals as he looked to sew up his fourth consecutive championship. After lining up fifth for the 30-lapper, he fell back to 10th or so in the opening few laps and wound up working his way back up to sixth to earn his 54th Top-10 finish of the season.
"I got real conservative there," shared Schatz on Saturday night after clinching the title. "The abrasive track had me concerned on tires and I needed to be cautious. A couple of laps I used my tires hard and thought I could pass cars and the rest of the time I was cautious."
A clear focus: Joey Saldana capped of the best season of his World of Outlaws career on Saturday night by scoring his 20th A-Feature win and 21st overall victory. He was triumphant in two of the three World of Outlaws events at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway this season. He led the series in laps led and money earned in 2009 and wound up third in points. He carries plenty of momentum into the off-season and is already looking ahead to 2010 and another run at the World of Outlaws title.
"I know we have the ability to win and you definitely want to go into the winter knowing that you won your last race," Saldana explained after his win. "Last year we broke in this race on the first lap and we came out strong and had a great season. It's just what you take out of what's going on with the race team. We can't go into the winter thinking just because we won the last race everything is fine. We have to keep giving 110 percent and working hard this winter to get even better for 2010."
A strong rebound: Dale Blaney rebounded from a broken wheel that put him into the wall and out of the race on Friday night while running third and finished third on Saturday night in the finale of the World Finals after leading the first 15 laps of the 30-lap contest. For Blaney, who won earlier this season with the World of Outlaws at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio, it was his sixth Top-10 finish of the season in just nine starts with the World of Outlaws of which four have been podium finishes.
"When I got out of the car last night (Friday), I thought 'Well let's load it up and go' because that the only car we got," shared Blaney. "It really didn't hurt it too bad for whatever reason. We got it back together and it was perfect tonight."
Giving it all he had: Jason Meyers raced as hard as he could all season and right down to the last lap in the battle for the championship. He was running fourth on Saturday night on the white flag lap and won a drag race with Steve Kinser coming off the fourth turn to snag the third-spot by less than a tenth of a second to earn his series-best 55th Top-10 finish of the season. Meyers came up just 19 points short in his bid for his first World of Outlaws title. A couple of late cautions on Saturday bunched the field up and gave him a few more chances to gain a few spots.
"Maybe, maybe not," noted Meyers when asked if the late cautions helped or hurt. "I got next to Steve (Kinser) on one of those restarts but it got hard to pass late in the race. I don't know that it really changed the race either way. For us, we had a great race car and we were able to move forward on every occasion."
Learning a few things: Jason Sides started the World Finals out by turning in the second fastest time in the first round of the double qualifying sessions. At the time he and Donny Schatz were separated by just one quick time honor in the season long battle for that spot. He backed that up with a fifth-place effort in the second round of qualifying. Sides wrapped the year up second only to Donny Schatz in fast time awards with 10.
"We have to maybe tighten it up a little more," shared Sides after the first round of time trials when asked if he learned anything from the first session that he could use in the second. "The track was getting slick and with the late models out there after us it will get even slicker.
First time out: Craig Dollansky made his first two starts driving for Tod Quiring and Big Game Treestands during the World Finals. The native of Elk River, Minnesota was reunited with his longtime crew chief Mike Woodring along with longtime crew member Lester Groves. Dollansky lined up 11th and charged his way up to finish fourth in the opener of the World Finals on Friday night, after a fifth-place qualifying effort in that one. He also raced his way into the Crane Cams Dash on Saturday and was running in the Top-10 when a mechanical failure ended his night.
"I'm definitely looking forward to 2010, starting off with Tod Quiring and Big Game Treestands. I am very encouraged by what I saw this weekend and how everything came together pretty good. There is still a lot of work to do for 2010, but to get things together as quick as we did to make this event. I'm pretty proud of everyone that was involved."
A new set of wheels: Brian Ellenberger, the 2009 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award winner, was the recipient of a brand new custom golf cart on Friday night during the World Finals courtesy of Steve Stimley of Jake's Carts. Driver's names were put into a hat and a young boy by the name of Jake, who was in attendance at the World Finals came to the stage and drew Ellenberger's name as the winner. He then received an autographed Jake's Carts hats from the native of Butler, Pennsylvania who drives the No. 22 machine.
"This is pretty neat to win this beautiful golf cart," said Ellenberger from the Victory Lane stage along the front straightaway on Friday night. "Thanks to Jake's Carts for all of their support."
Some long tows: A number of drivers made their first trip to The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway for the World Finals, including three that made very long hauls, with Ben Gregg making the tow from Glendale, Arizona, along with Chris Shirek making the trip from Thompson, North Dakota and Zach Zimmerly coming from Portland, Oregon. The trek for Shirek was 1,520 miles, with Gregg journeying 2,109 miles, while it was a whopping 2,783 mile trip for Zimmerly.
Other first timers: Additional drivers that made their first trip to the World Finals and The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway included: Keith Baxter from Ohio, Kory Crabtree from Ohio, Mark Cole from New Hampshire, Doug Dodson from Pennsylvania, Bob Felmlee from Pennsylvania Danny Holtgraver from Pennsylvania, Bobby Howard from Pennsylvania, Todd Kane from Ohio, Tim Kaeding from California, Brian Montieth from Pennsylvania, Kyle Pruitt from Maryland, John Smith III from Pennsylvania, Kris Spitz from Wisconsin, Robbie Stillwagon from New Jersey, Glenn Styres from Canada, Brad Sweet from California, Hall of Famer Kramer Williamson from Pennsylvania, Brad Wickham from North Carolina, Adam Wilt from Pennsylvania, Brandon Wimmer from Indiana and Todd Zinn from Pennsylvania.
First start of the year: Jeremy Campbell made his first start of the 2009 season in the World Finals. The Michigan native was aboard the No. G1 machine for the Gorby Racing team. He was set to get married this weekend to his fiance Katie Schroeder, but the couple changed those plans a few weeks ago in case he picked up a ride for the event which he did. He qualified a very respectable 14th during the first round of time trials for the event which was held last Thursday.
It's been a while: Hall of Famer Kramer Williamson, who was victorious in the World of Outlaws inaugural 1978 season at Williams Grove Speedway competed with the series for the first time since 1995 over the weekend at the World Finals. The Pennsylvania native has two career wins with the series with the other of those coming at Selinsgrove Speedway in 1980.
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 and recently surpassed the 2,000 "Follower" mark. 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: http://twitter.com/worldofoutlaws and receive live race updates, anywhere, anytime.
Up next: The 2010 season kicks off for the World of Outlaws with the Florida DIRTcar Nationals by ONOH at Volusia Speedway Park, February 5-7.