Familiar Territory: Becca Anderson Ready for National Open at Williams Grove Mechanicsburg, PA--September 28, 200 -- One thing Becca Anderson knew for sure heading into her rookie season with the World of Outlaws Sprint Series, was that she...
Familiar Territory: Becca Anderson Ready for National Open at Williams Grove
Mechanicsburg, PA--September 28, 200 -- One thing Becca Anderson knew for sure heading into her rookie season with the World of Outlaws Sprint Series, was that she would race many a night on tracks that she had never seen let alone turned a single lap on.
In the last month and a half alone, Anderson has added eight more tracks to this list, bringing her total to over 30 for the year. This weekend though, she will return to a track she knows very well, the famed Williams Grove Speedway. Hailing from Houston, Delaware, the rookie driver has turned numerous laps at the track, many of those in a 360-sprint car.
On Friday Anderson will join the rest of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series drivers for the National Open at the track which is less than 200 miles from her hometown. This will be the third time this season she has raced at the half-mile in her freshmen year with the series.
"It's going to be a good thing to go back to 'The Grove'," said Anderson, driver of the Upstate Kenworth Maxim. "We've been on some big tracks that we can compare it to, and we've really been running pretty decent. I'm looking forward to going back to Pennsylvania."
While competition is tough every night with the World of Outlaws, as is evident by the 14 different winners of A-Feature events this season, Anderson knows that the competition will be ratcheted up even more this weekend at Williams Grove against the always tough Pennsylvania Posse. Add to the mix an event record $50,000 payday on Saturday night, and it will be an exciting race not only for the drivers but also the fans.
"When you go to Pennsylvania, it is its own place," Anderson explained. "You have 10-15 guys that can win on any given night, and could come out here on the road and win. It's really tough and you have to be on your 'A-Game,' because every lap counts when you are in Pennsylvania."
Anderson is very confident returning to Williams Grove, after leading nine laps at Jackson (Minn.) Speedway, another fast half-mile on Sept. 16. After finishing second in the dash that night, she took the lead on the first lap of the A-Feature from current championship point leader Donny Schatz and built an advantage of over a half a straight-a-way on the sprawling track, until she was slowed by lapped traffic and then sustained a broken left sideboard on her wing that ended her night. Rather than be disappointed, Anderson found many positives in the bad luck and things to build on.
"It is really exciting (going to Williams Grove)," Anderson said. "Our program has come full circle week in and week out. We are getting me more comfortable with the car and more experience. 'The Grove' is going to be tough. It is always tough racing in Pennsylvania with the guys they have running there."
One of the biggest strengths of the team over the last couple months has been Anderson's ability to qualify up front. She has been the fastest qualifier twice recently, including at Eagle (Neb.) Raceway and her first fast time honor during the preliminary night at the Harvest Classic at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway. Since suffering some engines woes on the opening night of a two-day event at Skagit (Wash.) Speedway in late August, Anderson has not qualified outside of the Top-10.
"The biggest thing (in qualifying) is to get the car to roll and being able to use every inch of the track," said Anderson. "You have to be as smooth as possible. It's one of those things that you have to be fortunate to draw a good numbers when the track is still good to go out and turn two good laps."
While she has mainly visited tracks for the first time this season, as the year winds down, Anderson is heading back to some tracks for the second and in some cases, such as this weekend at Williams Grove, the third time in a 410-sprint car. Of the six tracks remaining on the schedule, she has raced at five of them.
"It helps going to some of these places for a second time," said Anderson. "After you have seen it, it is not as much of a guessing game. You kind of know and can remember what happened last time, and you can use those things to help better yourself."
The team made some changes to their equipment around the mid-point of the season, and they seem to be paying off now, as Anderson rolls into 'The Grove' with five Top-10 finishes on the year, including a strong ninth-place run last Sunday at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway, yet another track that she was racing at the first time. While it may be having more laps in the car, or even the equipment changes that has made the team so fast, Anderson believes it has been a little bit of all of that.
"I think it was a combination of everything," Anderson commented. "We have some good running motors from Charlie Garrett and Maxim cars. It's a combination of that and everything. Mike (Woodring) and myself working together longer, and getting me more comfortable to be able to race against these guys. It's definitely hammer down all the time."
Like most drives, Anderson wishes the season did not have to come to an end, especially as her team is hitting their stride as the calendar turns to fall. With the colder weather, she knows promoters face a tough task of competing with Mother Nature, as well as not wanting to take fans away from high school and college football games which dominate many parts of the country in the fall.
"My personal preference is that I would like to race every night of the week," said Anderson. "That's the only way that you will get better is to race. It's understandable, with it getting cooler out, and in football areas it is tougher to get a crowd where we race."
While she watched some of the racing from atop the teams hauler the last time the World of Outlaws Sprint Series visited Williams Grove during the Summer Nationals, Anderson learned even more about the track and what it takes to consistently be fast on it in a 410-sprint car, and hopes to bring that knowledge with her on Friday when she takes to the always demanding half-mile for her two qualifying laps.
"I like the track," Anderson explained. "I definitely think we have a lot better program going right now than we did last time we were there. We didn't make the feature there the second night last time there, and we definitely made some ground and got a lot better. I think we'll be in the hunt."
For ticket information about the National Open, visit: www.williamsgrove.com, or call 717-697-5000. On Friday September 29 adult reserved tickets will be $30, with general admission tickets $28. Tickets for students will be $15, and children 12-under will be admitted free.
On Saturday September 30, adult reserved tickets will be $35, with adult general admission tickets $30. Tickets for students will be $15, while children, 12-under will be admitted free.