Stewart, Lasoski team for 2001 effort

Las Vegas, NV - November 1, 2000 - Tony Stewart, president of Tony Stewart Motorsports (TSM), today announced he will field a full-time team in the World of Outlaws sprint car series beginning 2001 with proven winner Danny Lasoski of Dover, MO...

Las Vegas, NV - November 1, 2000 - Tony Stewart, president of Tony Stewart Motorsports (TSM), today announced he will field a full-time team in the World of Outlaws sprint car series beginning 2001 with proven winner Danny Lasoski of Dover, MO as the driver and general manager of the team.

Stewart further announced Indiana-based JD Byrider has teamed with TSM as sponsor of the #20 sprint car with Hamm America joining the effort as a major associate supporter.

"This is one of the most exciting projects I have undertaken in racing," said Stewart, 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year. "In my opinion, Danny Lasoski is a great sprint car driver with the talent and experience necessary to lead us to the World of Outlaws championship. We share a passion for sprint car racing and for winning. More importantly we have a friendship and trust that will serve as a strong foundation on which to build this team. It is the perfect situation for me as a team owner."

"I have enjoyed a great relationship with JD Byrider for several years," continued Stewart. "I am honored they have climbed on board to support this team. With Hamm America joining us as a partner we will be able to provide Danny and the crew with the tools necessary to accomplish our goals of winning races and championships."

Lasoski, known as "Danny the Dude" is a seasoned veteran of the sprint car ranks. Since joining the WOO series full-time, he has posted an impressive record of feature wins including the famed Knoxville Nationals in 1998 and never finished out of the top-five in WOO season ending point standings. His resume includes the record for number of feature wins and season championships at Knoxville Raceway.

"This team is the opportunity of a lifetime for me," said Lasoski. "When Tony and I met several years ago, little did either of us know our paths would lead us to building a team together. I have always been blessed throughout my racing career to have the support of great people and have enjoyed great success as a result, but Tony is giving me the ability to go to the head of the class. Together we have put together a winning combination with Jimmy Carr as the crew chief. I am honored that JD Byrider and Hamm America have seen the potential we offer and have chosen to be our partners."

JD Byrider is a national leader in the used car sales and specialized financing industry. The company has become the largest used car franchise in North America with 115 stores in 35 states specializing in matching people with tarnished credit with the cars and the financing they need. Along the way the company has evolved into the most technologically advanced business of its kind through the development of innovative, automated business systems that not only attract the attention of prospective franchisees, but also provide them with the tools they need to be successful.

"We're definitely pleased and proud to take our relationship with Tony Stewart to a higher level," said Jim England, vice president of marketing and advertising for JD Byrider. "His talent and accomplishments have given him a very credible position with a segment of our customer base. With the addition of Danny Lasoski and the World of Outlaws, we look forward to reaching even more of our market on a very local level. "

Hamm American is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wirtgen America, a division of the Wirtgen Group and the leading manufacturer of soil and asphalt compaction equipment. Wirtgen Group is the world leader in mobile road construction equipment. Wirtgen America has enjoyed successful partnerships in the World of Outlaws for several years, most recently with Jimmy Vasser-Guy Forbrook Motorsports. Wirtgen America will remain with the Vasser-Forbrook team for the 2001 season.

"Our recent acquisition of Hamm AG coincided perfectly with Tony Stewart's desire to start his own World of Outlaws sprint car team with his close friend Danny "The Dude" Lasoski as the driver," said Stuart Murray, C.O.O. of Nashville, TN based Wirtgen America, Inc. "The Wirtgen relationships in the World of Outlaws has had fantastic impact on our core milling machine business over a seven-year period. We believe our relationship with Tony Stewart Motorsports is a natural fit to achieve our objective for more exposure and recognition of the Hamm Compaction Division in North America."

Additional associate sponsorship for TSM will come from long-time Lasoski supporters, Massey, Inc., Jacksonville, IL and American Compressed Steel, Sedalia, MO.

The team will be housed in a state-of-the art facility in Higginsville, MO.

"Every decision regarding the building of this team has been made jointly by Danny and I," Stewart added. "It is critical to our success that he has absolute confidence in his crew and equipment when we hit the circuit next season. I am committed to a long-term future for this organization and am confident all our partners have that same winning attitude. It is a win-win for everyone."

DANNY LASOSKI DRIVER GENERAL MANAGER

Danny "The Dude" Lasoski has unfinished business in the World of Outlaws. He wants to add 'Champion' to his already impressive resume. The stage is set in 2001 for Lasoski to march toward his goal teamed with NASCAR Winston Cup star, Tony Stewart.

Lasoski holds the all-time track record for main event wins (72) and season championships (seven) at the famed Knoxville Raceway. He has seven top-five finishes in the last ten prestigious Amoco Knoxville Nationals including the victory in 1998, runner-ups in 1992 and 1999, and third place in 1997. Thus far, his full-time World of Outlaws career has netted 25 "A" feature wins and top-five finishes in each season ending point standings.

Born and raised in Dover, Missouri, Lasoski was given his nickname "The Dude" by his Grandfather while still in the hospital nursery. His appetite for the thrill of competition in a sprint car was acquired honestly, working with his father, George. The elder Lasoski was a successful driver on the local tracks throughout central Missouri.

"I developed my love for sprint cars hanging out with Dad," said Lasoski. "But we didn't have the money for me to just take off and be a race car driver. Dad's racing never came before our family, and he worked hard to instill those family and financial values in me as I grew up. From the time I started racing, Dad had strict rules about how he wanted things. I had to have enough money in my pocket to get to the race and to get home, because he said you just never knew if you were going to win enough to get back home.

He also insisted I be in good physical shape. My performance had to be the best it could be, no matter how long the race, as a 'Did Not Finish' was not acceptable.

"Those things have stayed with me throughout my career. The valuable lessons you learn in life just stick with you and add quality the older you get, even if you don't realize it at the time."

When he was 20 years old, young Lasoski couldn't wait any longer to try his hand behind the wheel. He sold everything he had, teamed up with his father, and headed for the track in Marshall, MO. The die for his future was cast that day, as he won that race, the first of a long string of such victories.

"There were eleven rookies that started that race, I am the only one still racing," Lasoski continued. "I knew that day I wanted to be a full-time sprint car driver, but it wasn't that easy. I had to work for many years. I worked all week and raced on the weekends; but for three years, I could only make enough money to race part time. As I look back, the best part of those early years was racing against Dad for two years. To this day, he is still my best friend and strongest supporter."

The break Lasoski had worked for came at the end of the 1983 season, just as it looked like he was about to fold his small racing operation due to lack on money. He received a call from Mr. Bob Derry of McComb, IL out of the blue.

"I answered the phone when Mr. Derry called and couldn't believe my ears," Lasoski remembered. "He said he heard things weren't going so well for my racing program financially, so he had a deal for me. He gave me a car, told me to race wherever I wanted but I had to race Knoxville because he always wanted to win races there. On June 4, 1984 we won our first race at Knoxville. Because of his belief in me, I am where I am today. That race still remains one of the most important dates in my memory."

Lasoski has since found the car he drove for Derry, restored it to the original condition, and presented it to Derry. The car is now on display at the National Sprint Car Museum in Knoxville, having been donated by Derry.

Once Derry opened the door for Lasoski, opportunities continued to improve and his career began to flourish. Max Rogers offered the fiery young racer a ride in 1986 and was promptly rewarded with the Knoxville track championship at the conclusion of their first year.

The broadest stoke of the Lady Luck brush swept over Lasoski late in 1988, when he met Guy Forbrook at Husets Speedway in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Forbrook was a promising sprint car driver from Southern Minnesota, whose career was cut short in a non-racing related car accident that left him confined to a wheel chair.

Lasoski turned on his indelible charm and convinced Forbrook he would make a great car owner and team manager. The pair teamed up for seven of the next ten years storming their way through the Midwest winning races and the Knoxville Raceway championship despite being under funded compared to some of the big names in sprint car racing.

As a result of that success, both Lasoski and Forbrook now rank as two of the most prominent names in the sport today.

"Guy didn't know what he was going to do with his life after his accident," said Lasoski. "I convinced him his experience and talent gave him much to offer the sport, and that was the beginning of a relationship and friendship we have maintained to this day. He is one of the smartest minds in the business when it comes to engine development and car setup. I learned a lot from him and still rely on his opinion. We didn't always see eye-to-eye and got divorced every now and then, but the success we had as a team is one of the highlights of my career."

After a two-year stint driving for Gil Sonner, Des Moines, Iowa, Lasoski teamed up with Dennis Roth and the Beefpackers team beginning in 1998. It was his first real full-time assault on the World of Outlaws series.

"Dennis put together a great team for me," Lasoski continued. "When we won the Knoxville Nationals in l998, it was the single best night in my entire career. For so many years I had come close, I could hardly believe I finally made it to the top of the podium. My family and friends were all there to share the victory with me, it was unbelievable.

"If this opportunity to build a team with Tony hadn't come along, I feel sure I would have raced several more years for Dennis. I can't thank him enough for the success I have had with his race team.

"This new team is the opportunity of a lifetime for me," continued Lasoski. "When Tony and I met several years ago, little did either of us know our paths would lead us to building a team together. I have always been blessed throughout my racing career to have the support of great people and have enjoyed great success as a result, but Tony is giving me the ability to go to the head of the class. Together we have put together a winning combination with Jimmy Carr as the crew chief."

What is left for Lasoski?

"I want to win the Knoxville Nationals again," he said. "And I want to win the World of Outlaws championship. I know winning it once won't be enough once we get the first one under our belt. But with our new team, it is a goal I believe is truly attainable.

"This sport is my life. There are not very many people who can honestly tell you they love their job, but I am here to tell you, I love my job, and can't even envision my life without sprint car racing and my family."

Lasoski, his wife Chris and children Hope and Landon make their home four miles from where he grew up in Higginsville, MO.

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jimmy Vasser , Danny Lasoski