Consistency the Main Goal for Tony Bruce Jr.: Geared up for Debut at Dacotah Speedway
Mandan, ND-- August 15, 2008--Visiting tracks he has never seen before is nothing new for Tony Bruce Jr., after all, he did well over 30 times last season during his rookie campaign with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. The sophomore driver has continued that trend in 2008, as he has again visited a number of tracks this season for the first time.
The World of Outlaws have six inaugural events on the schedule this year, including the next stop at the high-banked 3/8-mile Dacotah Speedway in Mandan, North Dakota on Saturday, August 16, which will serve as the third race of the Gerdau Ameristeel Northern Tour, which encompasses the four events in the state of North Dakota this season.
Bruce recently picked up his first career Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at 34 Raceway in Iowa, in his first visit to that high-banked 3/8-mile track, aboard the Best Well Service Maxim. To earn the victory, he had to hold off 20-time series champion Steve Kinser for all 35 laps, including on a number of late restarts and in lapped traffic. While he will never forget the win, Bruce had to quickly savor the moment, because the series returned to action just two days after the victory.
"Reality set in because we raced a few more races after that," explained Bruce of the days following his first career win. "You can't win them all, and you can just hope to do good at every single track that you go to."
Bruce begins the second half of the season with added confidence after becoming the 102nd driver in the 30-year existence of the World of Outlaws to claim an A-Feature win. Making the win even more impressive, he did it with just one crew member that night, 18-year old Joe McCarthy.
"It was definitely what we needed," Bruce noted. "It was the spark we needed to get the team going. We had a crew change as well. We're looking forward to the rest of the year. I really enjoy going to the West Coast. I like the tracks out there and am looking to finish the season with a bang."
Bruce learned quickly last season how to get up to speed when visiting tracks for the first time, knowing that he only would have a few hot laps to become acclimated with the surface. Each time he takes to a track, he gains priceless experience competing against the best sprint car drivers in the world night in and night out.
"Most of the tracks that I saw last season it was the first time that I had seen them," said the native of Liberal, Kansas. "You just go out there and bring back as much information as you can to the crew. Hopefully you can the car dialed in as quick as possible."
Dacotah Speedway is the second consecutive venue that the World of Outlaws have visited that will be new to all 18 drivers currently competing full-time. The series will visit six tracks for the first time this season, with a majority of those being high-banked 3/8-miles. While Bruce is competing against a number of drivers that have been racing longer than he has been alive, he is confident heading into the event at Dacotah Speedway that he and his team will have a good baseline set-up.
"It equalizes it a little bit because no one has ever seen it," said Bruce. "We all have to go out there and do our own job and do our own thing. Hopefully we'll be the first ones to find out what works best."
With a busy end of August and a full slate of races in September, Bruce has a couple of goals laid out for the rest of the season. He recently was involved in a vicious crash at Red River Valley Speedway in North Dakota, sustaining a concussion, but he was back in the seat at Gillette Thunder Speedway on Thursday night for the series inaugural race at that track, which was interrupted by rain on the first lap of the A-Feature, and is very excited to head to Dacotah Speedway for Saturday's event.
"We definitely would like to get in the winner's circle again, but if we can just bang off Top-10's and Top-Fives for the rest of the season, that is what we are really looking for," he shared. "We want to be consistent. We have been pretty hit or miss. We have either been really fast or really slow. If we can get some nights where we are consistently in the Top-10, I feel that will be a success for us."
Bruce recently welcomed veteran mechanic Kevin Lovey from Canada to his team to help out McCarthy on the crew. Loveys has been on the road with the World of Outlaws for the last couple of seasons and helped veteran Shane Stewart pick up a win earlier this season at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa.
"It seems to be going pretty well," Bruce commented about the addition to his crew. "Fargo was really our first night together. At the (Knoxville) Nationals we were all kind of on our own. We are learning together and hopefully everything will work out well. I am optimistic about it with these guys. I want to work with them and they want to work with me."
While he would like nothing more than to win at Dacotah Speedway to put his name in the record books as the winner of another inaugural event, Bruce's main goal is to start the night off with a strong time trial effort which plays a large factor in determining the how the rest of the night turns out. He heads back to North Dakota solidly in the Top-15 in the series championship standings.
"A solid Top-10 would make it a good night," Bruce said. "We are working on consistency. If we could roll off another win, that would be great, but we just need to be running strong all the time."
On Saturday, August 16 at Dacotah Speedway, adult reserved tickets in the grandstands in Sections A-B-C & top 10 rows of AA thru HH will be $35 with adults tickets in Rows 1 thru 5 Sections AA thru HH $32, with reserved tickets for kids 12-under $15. General admission tickets for adults in the infield will be available for $30, with general admission tickets in the infield for kids ages 6-12 $15 and children 5-under will be admitted free of charge to the infield. Pit Combos are also available for $38 if purchased in advance and include a reserved seat and pit pass.
Two-day tickets are also available for the race at Dacotah Speedway and Nodak Speedway for $64 if purchases in advance. For Tickets contact SLS Promotions at: 815-344-2023 or visit www.slspromotions.com.
There will also be a Meet & Greet on Friday, August 15 from 5 -10 p.m. Central at Dykshoom Park in Mandan, featuring World of Outlaws drivers along with their race cars, haulers and souvenir trailers.