Volusia season opener preview

World of Outlaws Sprint Series Invades Volusia WHAT: After opening the season last month in Australia, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series launches its 28th season stateside by racing in the 34th Annual Winter Nationals at Volusia Speedway ...

World of Outlaws Sprint Series Invades Volusia

WHAT: After opening the season last month in Australia, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series launches its 28th season stateside by racing in the 34th Annual Winter Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

WHERE: Volusia Speedway Park, Barberville, Fla. The track is 15 miles west of Ormond Beach. From I-95, take exit 88 west on State Rd. 40. From Highway 17, take State Rd 40, 5 miles east of Barberville.

WHEN: Racing begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Sunday, Feb. 11 and Feb. 13.

TELEVISION: March 2, on The Outdoor Channel.

NEWS & NOTES

*Making its debut: The World of Outlaws Sprint Series is racing at Volusia Speedway Park for the first time in series history, but series regulars Danny Lasoski, Craig Dollansky and Joey Saldana have all posted victories in non-Outlaws events at the speedway.

*The King of the Outlaws I: Steve Kinser is coming off his 19th series championship in 2004.

*The King of the Outlaws II: Steve Kinser earned his 500th career "A" Feature victory in March 2004, and is the series' all-time leader with 513 wins.

*On a roll: Donny Schatz wrapped up the 2004 season by winning the finale at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and started the 2005 season with a victory in the finale of Outlaws Down Under II at Parramatta City Raceway in Australia.

*Young gun: Brandon Wimmer, an 18-year-old from Indiana, raced his way into the 2005 version of the Mean 15 despite competing only part-time between his junior and senior years of high school. The Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year candidate graduates in May.

*Extracurricular activity: Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski will represent the World of Outlaws Sprint Series in the IROC Series once again. Kinser won an IROC event in 1994 at Talladega Superspeedway and Lasoski won an IROC race last year at Texas Motor Speedway. The two will compete Feb. 18 in the series opener at Daytona International Speedway.

QUOTABLE

Joey Saldana

*On racing at Volusia: "You have to be on your game. It's a big half-mile so you have to have a good running motor.

*On running well at Volusia: "It definitely gives you momentum going into season. When you go to Florida you usually either run really well or really bad. It can definitely set the tone for the rest of your year. If you go down there and run absolutely horrible it kind of makes your year long."

*On the World of Outlaws Sprint Series debut at Volusia: "Even though the Outlaws haven't been down there, guys like Lasoski and Dollansky go down there every year. It always seems like an Outlaws race, just Steve Kinser isn't there."

Craig Dollansky

*On the Outlaws debut at Volusia: "For us, we've started down there each year for the past four or five years. But for the World of Outlaws to kick off their season down there, I think it will be exciting."

*On DIRT MotorSports ownership of the series: "I think they've done a wonderful job overcoming the adversity of trying to take the series over and get through some of the problems that were there. I see nothing but positives so far. I think they've done a great job and I look forward to being a part of it."

Steve Kinser

*On World of Outlaws Sprint Series racing: "I still think the exciting thing about sprint car racing, especially the World of Outlaws style of racing, is the horsepower and light weight of the cars, how fast they accelerate and the wheel-to-wheel racing. These cars are relatively pretty simple racecars. You just try to build horsepower and put them to the ground. Plus, we go around the country and run against the local racers. I think that builds a lot of excitement with people trying to see if the locals can run with us. That gap has closed a lot, too. It's closed quite a bit."

*On competition and winning in the series: "You're not going to win near as many races as you used to. I've always said, when you come through the gate and buy your pit passes, you want to have you think is capable of winning. You want to be the guy everybody has to outrun. That's the way we look at our race team. We don't want to come through the gate thinking we have a fifth-place racecar. When we get to the track, we want all the other 30 or 40 competitors thinking that's the car we have to outrun."

*On racing at Volusia: "I missed over the years not going to Florida. You sit around here in the Midwest in the wintertime and you want to get to the sunshine. For me, it will work out well so I can go to Daytona and run the IROC cars. I want to be down there anyway so if you add a couple of sprint car races it's a plus for me."

Donny Schatz

*On beginning the season in Florida: "The last time I raced in Florida, it was a place where you have to be more lucky than good. That's the way a lot of racing has been. We'll just be hoping we can carry the momentum we did have at the end of 2004 and continue our performance. We'll keep our fingers crossed and hope we did all our work this winter so we can start off on the right foot."

*On his quest to improve from his career-best third-place points finish in 2004: "You have to try to eliminate your bad nights. Even when they struggle, they're consistently in the top three. They might not be winning every night, but they win a lot of races. That's part of it. You have to win a lot but you also have to be consistent and not have any DNFs. Over the course of the years we've been out here, every year has gotten a little better. Getting third in points allows us to set our sights higher now. We'll try to continue up the ladder. We don't focus on what Steve and Danny do. We have to focus on ourselves. We know in doing that we don't want to be falling out of any races. We've got to have our motor program running optimal every single night. We can't have tire problems. I think that was one of my biggest setbacks last year, I probably ran too soft a tire at a lot of places and it cost me quite a bit. Otherwise, we would have been right there. I don't feel like we're far off now. Maybe a little inexperience with some of the setups cost us a bit, but that gives us the ability to learn from our mistakes so we don't make them again."

Kraig Kinser

*On advancing his sprint career: "To get to the next level, you've got to be dedicated. Most of the drivers like my dad and Danny Lasoski have been around forever. They've paid their dues to racing, and now it's like they're getting paid back. Their experience and their talent are really shining now. The more experience you get helps you, but you've got to have that love and that will to win every night. That's what dad has and that's what sets him apart from other people."

Tim Shaffer

*On DIRT MotorSports ownership of the series: "The biggest problem they're having is the negativity on the Internet and the people talking so bad about it who don't really know what's going on. Something had to happen. It's probably the best thing that could have happened. It's not going to happen overnight, either. People are making up all these stories, they can't just snap their fingers and fix it all. It's going to take time and trust to build this thing back up to where it needs to be."

NEXT EVENT

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series shifts to the West Coast for a race Feb. 25 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., and a race Feb. 26 at Bakersfield Speedway in Bakersfield, Calif.

-woo-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Craig Dollansky , Joey Saldana , Kraig Kinser