Veteran Drivers Geared up for National Open at Williams Grove Speedway Mechanicsburg, PA--October 1, 2009--Experience is of the utmost importance at Williams Grove Speedway and for some drivers it takes an entire career to get a good feel for...
Veteran Drivers Geared up for National Open at Williams Grove Speedway
Mechanicsburg, PA--October 1, 2009--Experience is of the utmost importance at Williams Grove Speedway and for some drivers it takes an entire career to get a good feel for the legendary track. Each and every time the World of Outlaws head to the half-mile in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania the level of competition is ratcheted up, and that is where the years of experience and countless laps on the unique track really come into play for the veteran drivers. With the possibility of one driver being able to claim $78,000 in winnings this weekend, along with the cameras from SPEED rolling live on Saturday night, the level of competition will be at an all-time high in what will be the richest weekend in the track's storied history.
The National Open kicks off on Friday, October 2 with the completion of the $20,000 to-win Summer Nationals which was postponed by rain back in July, beginning with the Crane Cams Dash and followed up by the 30-lap A-Feature event. The originally scheduled opener of the National Open will then follow with $8,000 on the line. On Saturday night, October 3, $50,000 will await the winner of the 47th National Open.
Donny Schatz is looking to make history if he can win the National Open, which would make him the first driver in the history of the race to accomplish that feat. He has finished fourth or better in each of his last four starts in the National Open, with two of those being wins. The North Dakota native has racked up an impressive 20 finishes of eighth or better in his last 21 starts at Williams Grove with six wins over that span. The three-time and defending World of Outlaws champion looks forward to the heightened competition when the series heads to Central Pennsylvania.
"There are good local cars there," noted Schatz. "Everywhere you go nowadays there is good local competition, but they have more than anywhere in the country. They have guys that have the ability to run great cars every week and there are many of them. They have a good gig going on out there."
Steve Kinser would make history as well if he was victorious in the National Open. Along with Schatz, he has also won the famed race four times in his illustrious career, with the first of those coming in 1990 and the most recent in 2003. The 20-time World of Outlaws champion leads all drivers with 38 wins in series competition at the track. His most recent triumph at the half-mile came last season.
"There is always a lot of good equipment there with the local guys and a fun race to race in," notes Kinser. "The track is quite a bit different than any other track we race on. If you get there and it's pretty heavy, you have to have everything together. The local cars usually seem to qualify good and this year we all qualified bad and sort of got thumped on a little bit. We'll see what happens when we come back."
Jason Meyers heads to Williams Grove Speedway in the midst of a thrilling battle with Donny Schatz for the series title, trailing the three-time and defending series champion by just nine points with three A-Feature events on the docket at the half-mile, where he has finished third in two of his last three starts. Dating back to August 29, the native of Clovis, California has finished fourth or better in nine consecutive races. In his career at Williams Grove Speedway, Meyers has 15 Top-10 finishes with eight of those being Top-Fives as he closes in on his first win at the legendary facility.
"It's Williams Grove and when you go in there you are always at a little disadvantage because you are racing the local cars which are so good there," shared Meyers. "It should be interesting in not having as many laps there as normal, but the laps we have had there this year we have been really good."
Joey Saldana is just 29 markers behind Meyers in the standings and 38 out of the lead as the series head to Central Pennsylvania. Saldana, who leads the World of Outlaws with 18 A-Feature wins this season, has won once in his career at Williams Grove. The native of Brownsburg, Indiana will line up on the pole for the Crane Cams Dash on Friday night as the finale of the Summer Nationals which was postponed by rain back in July will be completed.
"We have to go into the Grove and be as good as we have been everywhere else," explained Saldana. "We need to go in there and do something. You have to go in there with a good mindset that you are going to do well. These cars as so mental that you have to go there with a positive attitude and I am looking forward to it."
Jac Haudenschild competed at Williams Grove for the first time in 1983, finishing third in that event. He finished sixth or better in each of his first nine career starts at the half-mile. The native of Wooster, Ohio who was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame this season, has won twice at Williams Grove over the years and has nearly 60 Top-10 finishes.
"We don't get to race there that much, just a couple of times a year, so we are definitely looking forward to getting back over there and giving it a shot," said Haudenschild. "Those local guys are tough for sure. You have your California guys and your Pennsylvania guys and they have the most local cars. They are the tough guys. You have to have your motors running good and be driving good and a little bit of everything over there to run up front."
Danny Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws champion, has made plenty of starts over the years at Williams Grove, scoring two wins and racking up over 40 Top-10 finishes. Teamed with crew chief Barry Jackson, whose home track is Williams Grove Speedway, Lasoski is excited to return to the track.
"Going to Central Pennsylvania is one of the toughest local fields you run," Lasoski stated. "When you go there, there is always drama and a lot of guys have to take provisionals. Having Barry Jackson in our corner, I feel like we have an added bonus, a little edge. He knows that race track better than anybody."
The finale of the National Open on Saturday, October 3 will air live on SPEED beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern with Bobby Gerould and Brad Doty on the call.
On Friday, October 2 at Williams Grove Speedway, adult general admission tickets will be $30 with adult reserved tickets $32, with general admission tickets for students will be $15 with children 12-under admitted free of charge. For ticket information call the track at 717-697-5000 or visit www.williamsgrove.com.
On Saturday, October 3 at Williams Grove Speedway, adult general admission tickets will be $32 with adult reserved tickets $35, with general admission tickets for students $17, with children 12-under admitted free of charge. For ticket information call the track at 717-697-5000 or visit www.williamsgrove.com.