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Series season review - Jason Solwold

2007 World of Outlaws Season Review: Jason Solwold Consistency was the theme for Jason Solwold this year, as he finished in the Top-10 in the World of Outlaws championship points for the first time in his career. He began the 2007 campaign...

2007 World of Outlaws Season Review: Jason Solwold

Consistency was the theme for Jason Solwold this year, as he finished in the Top-10 in the World of Outlaws championship points for the first time in his career. He began the 2007 campaign with a solid seventh-place finish on the opening night of the Florida DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, setting the stage for the rest of the year.

The native of Mt. Vernon, Washington earned 41 Top-10 finishes, with 17 of those being in the Top-Five, en route to a career-best 10th place finish in the standings. He raced his way into the Crane Cams Dash 36 times over the course of the season to earn Top-10 starting spots in A-Feature events. He did all of this with a record number of drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws this season.

"It was a pretty competitive season," said Solwold, a former track champion at Skagit Speedway in Washington. "Though there were two dominant cars all year, between the 15 (Donny Schatz) and the 9 (Joey Saldana), but back in the field it was very competitive."

After picking up two preliminary feature wins in 2006 at Williams Grove Speedway and at Silver Dollar Speedway during the Gold Cup Race of Champions, one of Solwold's main goals this year was to earn his first A-Feature victory with the World of Outlaws. He accomplished this fete in August at Charter Raceway Park in Wisconsin, in a dominating performance, in which he led all 40 laps on the high-banked 1/3-mile. He started sixth in the event, on a wild night that saw the green flag wave five times before a single lap was in the books. The win would propel him to eight Top-10 finishes over the course of the next 10 events and solidify his spot among the Top-10 in championship points.

"It did take some pressure off to win," he said. "I would have liked to have won a few more races, but so would everyone else. That's just the way it worked out this year and the way it goes."

Solwold was one of the fastest drivers in time trials all season long, stopping the clocks first on seven occasions, including setting new track records at Riverside International Speedway in Arkansas in his first visit to the ¼-mile bullring, along with his initial stop at Clay County Fair Speedway in Iowa. He won the Crane Cams Dash at Riverside to earn the pole position in the A-Feature, en route to finishing second in the 40-lap A-Feature.

Making his win at Charter Raceway Park even more meaningful was the fact that the race was the finale of the inaugural "SuperClean Summer of Money" on ESPN2. Solwold was one of five drivers that took a checkered flag on the network. He also ran up front in a number of events that were broadcast on SPEED, including a fourth-place performance in the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway. In five events this season at Eldora, he finished in the Top-10 in each and every one of them.

"I think it's very good to have the races on TV," he noted. "Television is definitely good for the sport."

Another highlight of the 2007 season for Solwold was having the opportunity to race at a number of tracks he was very familiar with, including Skagit Speedway and Grays Harbor Raceway, both in his home state of Washington. Solwold was also one of just a couple of drivers that had previously competed at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where the World of Outlaws raced for the first time this season. He was the only driver that had won in the past at the 3/8-mile.

Solwold ran very strong on the tracks that he cut his teeth racing sprint cars on. He finished seventh or better on both nights at Skagit, including a third-place performance on the opening night of the event, with the SPEED cameras rolling. He also was sixth at Cottage Grove Speedway in Oregon and seventh on the second night at Castrol Raceway during the Gold Rush Tour.

"I like going up north," he shared. "I was able to get back home and it's also very scenic traveling up there. It was good going back to Elma (Grays Harbor Raceway). We didn't run as well as we would have liked, but it was good to race there. I am glad it was back on the schedule."

The always focused driver showed how important perseverance is when competing against the best sprint car drivers in the world is, when late in the season he rebounded from a heartbreaking flat tire at Manzanita Speedway in Arizona while leading, to finish third the following night at Perris Auto Speedway in California. Also, he had a string of Top-10 finishes interrupted at the end of May, when he had a severe allergic reaction to fire ant bites he sustained during the driver's meeting at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway. When he climbed back into the car just a couple of days later, he continued his consistent season, finishing sixth at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in New York on Memorial Day.

Along with winning a World of Outlaws event, Solwold also was victorious with the All Star Circuit of Champions this season during the Florida DIRTcar Nationals. He also ran strong in the Knoxville Nationals, finishing ninth in sprint car racing's biggest event.

-credit: woo

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