World of Outlaws Wrap-up: Thunderbowl Raceway Tulare, CA -- March 22, 2009 Close quarters: Donny Schatz, the three-time and defending World of Outlaws champion, retained the lead in the series championship standings after a fourth-place finish...
World of Outlaws Wrap-up: Thunderbowl Raceway
Tulare, CA -- March 22, 2009
Close quarters: Donny Schatz, the three-time and defending World of Outlaws champion, retained the lead in the series championship standings after a fourth-place finish on Saturday night at Thunderbowl Raceway. He has a 32 point advantage over 20-time series champion Steve Kinser, who is two points ahead of Jason Meyers in third, with three-time series titlist Sammy Swindell just four points behind Meyers. Joey Saldana who won on Saturday night is fifth, just two points behind Swindell and eight markers out of second.
Focusing on winning: Saldana is tied with Schatz for the series lead with three A-Feature wins this season after his victory on Saturday night at Thunderbowl Raceway. He and his team are looking forward to doing some fine tuning on their race car this week as they gear up for the event at Manzanita Speedway. The second generation driver has four consecutive Top-Five finishes at the half-mile as he seeks his first win at the track located at 35th & Broadway in Phoenix.
"This week we don't have to work on our car," shared Saldana after his win on Saturday night. "Last week we tore a bunch of stuff up. This week we can focus on our race car and what we need to do. I'm looking forward to Manzanita. I have never won there and really would like to before it closes. We'll do our homework this week and hopefully we'll have a good run there."
Closing in on a win: Sammy Swindell, the three-time World of Outlaws champion, earned his second runner-up finish of the season on Friday night at Thunderbowl Raceway as he closes in on his first win of the year. He tracked down Randy Hannagan late in the race and was able to draw even with him a couple of times down the stretch, including a drag race off the fourth turn as the pair headed to the checkered flag. He followed that up by leading the first seven laps of the A-Feature on Saturday night and finishing third. He is fourth in points, just six markers out of the second spot.
"It's going really good," said of the 2009 season. "We are on kind of an accelerated learning curve since I have not been out here for a while. Things have changed. The motors have changed and the cars are a little different. We just have to put it all together, where some of these guys have been doing it a while with the same stuff and able to tweak on it. I am trying to tweak and learn and get a base set up all at the same time."
A solid team: Terry McCarl had one of the strongest second halves of the 2008 season of any driver in sprint car racing and he has carried that momentum into the early portion of the 2009 campaign. The native of Altoona, Iowa, who used to own his own car, has felt a lot more at ease since turning over his operation to Tod Quiring of Big Game Treestands last summer. McCarl has finished in the Top-10 in six of the eight World of Outlaws events this season. He also set a new track record in time trials at Thunderbowl Raceway on Friday night, with a couple of extra helping hands turning the wrenches in the pit area.
"I love my team," said McCarl. "Ever since Tod (Quring) took over ownership of this team last year on July 1, things have been going great for us. Gary Isom took over being my crew chief after the (Knoxville) Nationals last year and we never finished out of the Top-eight other than breaking a U-Joint last fall. Gary is doing a great job and Brandon (Ikenberry). Unfortunately Jason Eckerd our third crew guy broke his arm on a four-wheeler Wednesday so we lost a guy, but my sons Austin and Carson were here to help. Gary and Brandon do a great job and we are working very well together."
Getting in some laps: Jason Solwold finished third on Friday night at Thunderbowl Raceway in his first race behind the wheel of the No. 83JR machine for Dennis and Teresa Roth. The multi-time Skagit Speedway track champion finished third in what was just his third start of the 2009 season.
"I haven't raced that much this year," noted Solwold. "I ran a couple of times last weekend at Chico (Silver Dollar Speedway) and that wasn't too good. I'm down on laps a little bit to these guys. They have more laps on me, but I'll catch up."
Fast again: Tyler Walker picked up his best finish of the season on Friday night at Tulare, as he came home fourth. He nearly picked up a couple Top-Five finishes earlier this season with the World of Outlaws, when he was running up front only to have bad luck befell him.
"I wish we had more opportunities with the Outlaws," said Walker. "We haven't been able to get the finishes we have wanted. At Vegas, I thought we would have a Top-Five finish and at Chico we should have had a Top-Five finish. We ran out of fuel at Vegas and got our left rear run over at Chico. As far as our consistency we should be in the Top-Five every night. I'm very happy with everyone. They have given me a great race car to drive."
A strong weekend in his home state: Randy Hannagan, who won on Friday night at Thunderbowl Raceway in his home state of California to earn his second career World of Outlaws A-Feature victory, finished seventh on Saturday night in the finale to wrap up a very successful weekend. The 1995 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year will compete this coming weekend with the World of Outlaws at Manzanita Speedway.
Strong showing: Tim Kaeding had a solid weekend at Thunderbowl Raceway, finishing eighth on Friday night and sixth on Saturday aboard Dennis and Teresa Roth's California based machine. Kaeding and his team led by crew chief Guy Forbrook will head to Phoenix with the World of Outlaws this week to compete at Manzanita Speedway.
Up next: The World of Outlaws head to the legendary Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix on Saturday, March 28 for what will be the series final event at the half-mile.