Rookie Contender Ben Gregg Geared Up for Inaugural Race at Tri-State Speedway in Pocola: Looks to Carry Momentum from Last Two Events Pocola, OK- April 9, 2010- Ben Gregg knew it would be no easy task hitting the road for the first time in his...
Rookie Contender Ben Gregg Geared Up for Inaugural Race at Tri-State Speedway in Pocola: Looks to Carry Momentum from Last Two Events
Pocola, OK- April 9, 2010- Ben Gregg knew it would be no easy task hitting the road for the first time in his career with the World of Outlaws in 2010, but he continues to learn each and every time he takes to the track and has been gaining momentum over the last few weeks. He looks to carry that momentum into the inaugural World of Outlaws event at Tri-State Speedway in Pocola, Oklahoma on Saturday, April 10.
Gregg won a heat race for the first time in his World of Outlaws career to earn a spot in the dash for the first time at Volunteer Speedway on March 19, which also was his debut at the blazing fast four-tenths-mile. He matched his career-best finish with the series in the opener at the track coming home 11th. He also ran 11th at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California last month aboard the Kronik Energy Maxim.
"It was pretty good," said Gregg of his debut at Volunteer Speedway. "It was our best effort out here so far, so we can't complain. We're still getting some things sorted out on the car. Our first heat win and first dash appearance so that was good. I wish we could have done more in the feature, but it is what it is. We'll keep moving forward and hopefully keep getting better."
While Gregg will be visiting Tri-State Speedway in Pocola for the first time in his career on Saturday, April 10, so will 16 of the other drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws. Sam Hafertepe Jr. is the lone chauffeur that has raced at the high-banked 3/8-mile in the past. Even though almost every driver will be seeing Tri-State Speedway for the first time, Gregg still will feel like a rookie at the track compared to the veterans who have been on the road for numerous years and been to countless tracks from coast to coast.
"With these guys, they are good every time they roll into a track and open the trailer door and we know it," Gregg deadpanned. "We'll just do our best and keep our head down and see what we can do. When you can get up there and run with those guys and be comfortable it's always going to help and translate into the future."
Having spent most of his career racing in the Southwest before branching out and competing in some World of Outlaws and All Star Circuit of Champions events the last two years, Gregg is working hard to get a handle on everything that is involved with racing nearly 80 times a year against the best sprint car drivers in the world. He has veteran crew chief Kirk Dewease, the brother of longtime Pennsylvania standout Lance Dewease turning the wrenches for him, which is a priceless resource in itself.
"Sorting out this race car has been the biggest challenge for us," Gregg explained recently. "We have a lot of new stuff this year including a new chassis, new shocks and new motors. The natural adjustment to the 410 (engine) has been present as well, but we're making some headway here. As long as we're making progress we're happy."
Right now one of the most important things for Gregg is to continue getting laps at the various tracks on the circuit, as he is seeing most of the track for the first time and still getting accustomed to the power of a 410-sprint car, especially on the larger tracks.
"That's definitely going to help," he noted when asked about getting laps. "You can't replace getting time in the seat. Making the shows and turning every lap in the feature is goal number one and we're making progress so we're happy about that."
After trying a few different set-ups earlier in the season, Gregg and his team are going back to basics as they compare the tracks they are visiting for the first time with places they have competed in the past.
"Lately we've been going back to the same things we have been running everywhere and that seems to be better than trying to figure out something new for a new place," stated the rookie contender. "We'll stick to the basics and keep an eye on this car and try to make it better each time out."
While Gregg and his team won't make it back to their shop in Phoenix for quite some time, they have a number of acquaintances in the Midwest and will be able to stop at their shops along the way, along with having a home away from home in Pennsylvania where Kirk Dewease hails from. The team has been using the recent break in the schedule to gear up for the heart of the season and make sure the trailer is stocked and everything is ready to go.
"You better have everything together," shared Gregg. "It's a long season and we certainly haven't done it before. You can get the picture just by looking at the schedule. We're definitely looking forward to it."
Gregg is excited for the heart of the season when the series will be racing three and four times a week as he continues to gain priceless experience that only comes from competing with the World of Outlaws. He has made the main event in seven consecutive races and has finished 16th or better in six of those. He is the current leader in the battle for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award as he looks to add his name to the prestigious list of former winners of that honor.
"As long as we keep making progress it will be a good season for us," he said. "That's the main thing right now. We know it's a steep learning curve, but we're excited for the challenge and looking forward to the rest of the year."
On Saturday, April 10 at Tri-State Speedway, general admission tickets for adults will be $30 in advance and $35 the day of the race, with general admission tickets for children ages 6-12 $15, with kids five-under admitted free of charge. Reserved seats for adults will be $33 in advance and $35 the day of the race, with reserved tickets for children ages 12-under $15. Pit combos will also be available for advance purchase only and include a reserved seat and a pit pass for $38. For tickets call the track at 918-687-9200 or SLS Promotions at 815-344-2023. For more information on tickets visit www.slspromotions.com.