World of Outlaws Fast Talkers: National Open at Williams Grove Speedway The World of Outlaws return to Williams Grove Speedway for the final time in 2007, on September 28-29 for the National Open, which will again pay $50,000 to the winner this...
World of Outlaws Fast Talkers: National Open at Williams Grove Speedway
The World of Outlaws return to Williams Grove Speedway for the final time in 2007, on September 28-29 for the National Open, which will again pay $50,000 to the winner this season. Reigning World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz has won the event twice in the last three years, and has won four of the five A-Feature events contested by the series at the famed half-mile this season. Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion, has won the National Open four times in his career, with his most recent victory in the event coming in 2003. He has won 25 World of Outlaws A-Feature events at the track in his career, along with a number of preliminary features. Before making the trip east, World of Outlaws drivers shared their thoughts on the event, as well as racing at Williams Grove, and of course the rivalry with the always tough Pennsylvania Posse.
Tony Bruce Jr., driver of the Best Well Service Maxim
"It's always a tough event. We did good at it last year and hopefully we can repeat that. It has a lot to do with the draw and hopefully we draw a good number... We've had some really good cars there and it all depends on qualifying. We've had really good cars there and we've had really bad cars and I've been good driving wise and I've also been bad there. Every night is a new night at that place and we're looking forward to going back. I think we'll have a good set-up on the car and we'll be all right."
Jeremy Campbell, driver of the RLM Financial Maxim
"It's 'The Grove' and it's tough out there. You have all the Pennsylvania guys. It's one of those tracks where you have to work hard to make it in the show. We made the show last time over there. We will be running a new Charlie Fisher engine over there and we have not run those there yet. Hopefully we'll get a good qualifying run and start at the front of the heat race."
Craig Dollansky, driver of the Karavan Trailers Maxim
"There is a lot of great competition out there. Those guys race out there all year long, and know what they are doing. We go into a lot of different race tracks and most of the teams out here know 'The Grove' pretty well. It is always fun to go out there and race with those guys...The races that pay $50,000 are certainly the ones we are shooting for...We're definitely looking forward to going back there. We ran second there last year and were one spot short, but the race was also called short (due to rain after 26 of the 40 laps were completed). We had a good car there last year and hopefully we can go in there with everything in order and see what we can do."
Sam Hafertepe Jr., driver of the G.H. Plumbing J&J
"You certainly have to pay your respects to the track and the history of the place... The guys out there are tough and they race the place all the time. We race some pretty good guys out here so that prepares us for when we go out to Williams Grove... The first time I went there, it was a little hard to get used to. Now I feel pretty comfortable there and I think we will do really good this time. We got going pretty good there last time we were there. We were fourth quick (in time trials) on the first night and we're real excited to go back."
Randy Hannagan, driver of the Penthouse Magazine Maxim
"It's a real challenging race track and a very good paying race. We have struggled there the last four or five times we have been there and we try to get better each time we go there. Our first goal there is to make the show. The drivers out there are good there. They are really good there and it shows. It would be interesting to bring them out to Knoxville or Chico (Silver Dollar Speedway) to run and we can go hat for hat there."
Jac Haudenschild, driver of the Wright One Construction Maxim
"You have a lot of good drivers out there and it's always tough. It's one of the toughest places that we go. It's getting tough to win races anywhere now. It's tough to win an Outlaws race...We're looking forward to it. We always enjoy going to Williams Grove. We haven't run too well there lately, but we keep going there and trying to run better."
Justin Henderson, driver of the Dan Dan the Sonic Man Rocket
"Williams Grove is Williams Grove. There are a lot of touch competitors out there and a lot of tough locals. They race you hard every lap. It's a good place for us to try and get better and a good place for us to try and conquer. We're excited to head back to Williams Grove and see all of our friends out there... I feel more comfortable every time we go there. It is unlike anywhere else we go and the more laps you can get there, the better off you will be and the more hard racing laps you can get there, the better."
Chad Hillier, driver of the DIRT Inc. Maxim
"It's such a tough field of cars out there, it's never easy. Out here racing (with the World of Outlaws) you race against the best each night so that is extra competition. Out here, you have 20-some guys that you compete against every night. When you go back there it's more good drivers to compete against. If you go out there and have a bad night it's tough, but if you go out there and have a good night, it can lift your confidence and enthusiasm, knowing the field of cars you are racing against."
Chad Kemenah, driver Kantor Oil Company Maxim
"They always get 55 or 60 cars and it is a tough event. The guys at Williams Grove are pretty tough. They race there every week and that makes it hard to go in there, no matter who you are. They are good at what they do and they make it that much tougher on everybody...I really the race track at Williams Grove. We just never seem to have any Lady Luck out there. We need to go out there and be competitive and first and foremost make the show... It takes a lot of luck out there and it can start off with having a bad pill draw (for time trials order). You don't want to be behind the eight ball before the heat races even start... You like to always go there because you believe you have a shot at winning, or else you wouldn't go."
Steve Kinser, driver of the Q Oil Maxim
"It's one of the bigger events of the year and the biggest race at Williams Grove. It's always been big racing against the Pennsylvania guys and I hope it never changes. That is a good thing for sprint car racing. They have a great bunch of local drivers and it always turns into a good race... I wouldn't mind winning a big money event, to help pay some of the bills. We're working hard to get things pointed in the right direction and we are continuing to build for next season."
Danny Lasoski, driver of the Roth Motorsports JEI
"The National Open is always a big event. It rates right up there with the Lernerville race (Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup) and it would be very exciting to win that thing. When you go in there, you race the best of the best. You have to be on your game, and along with the World of Outlaws guys, there are probably 30 drivers that can win any night...I have been close a couple of times and I think I have run second twice. We would like to win that race and I think we have a good shot at it."
Kerry Madsen, driver of the Selma Shell Maxim
"That is one of the hardest races to make. The tough local guys absolutely add pressure to the event. Just to make the show is hard. There are so many good cars, that you could be sitting in a position to win the race or you could be sitting in the pits watching the race. I feel comfortable over there. We've haven't been real great there yet, but I am looking forward to going back. Hopefully we can hit the nail on the head and have a good run there."
Terry McCarl, driver of the Big Game Treestands Eagle
"The National Open is definitely one of the biggest four events in the United States. It's definitely one of the races that we really want to win...I am into the history of racing and come Monday morning, the $50,000 would be nice, but I just want to put my name on the winners list of the National Open. That's the most important thing to me."
Paul McMahan, driver of the Bass Pro Shops Eagle
"Williams Grove and the National Open have years and years of history. It's probably one of the toughest race tracks that we go to, as far as drivers that we race against that run there weekly. We've been pretty good there this year and I think we have run in the Top-Five in three of the five races there. Hopefully we'll have the car running the way it has there this year and we can get a victory.... You have to draw a good number and qualify well, but I don't know if the number means all that much. We went out last there before and qualified in the Top-12. You have to have your motor running good and your car handling well to do good there. You need a little bit of luck, but it's the luck that you make for yourself."
Jason Meyers, driver of the Primerica Financial Maxim
"It's definitely a big event and everyone on the Outlaws tour and in Pennsylvania would like to win it at some point in their career or at multiple points in their career. It's a tough one to win and definitely one of the toughest races we run all season. It holds a lot of prestige... Hopefully it's our event to win. We haven't won a big money event all year. We've been good all year and won races, but the money events keep escaping us. We've been working hard here lately for it and to make sure we are on track. It would be good to win a big money event and to win one in Charlie Garrett's backyard. He works very hard on our motor program and we certainly would like to win that one for him."
Daryn Pittman, driver of the Titan Garages Maxim
"That place has a lot of history behind it and it seems like it is becoming a bigger and more prestigious event each time we go back. We've been waiting for the National Open since we left there last year. Two years ago we just got flat beat by (Donny) Schatz and that was the best run we have had in the event. Last year I felt like we had the car to beat and we got together with a lapped car and got a flat tire while running second early in the race. Minus Knoxville, that is the race I really want to win. We put a lot of effort into it and we have been running good enough there that if we get a decent starting spot we should have a shot at it. I'm excited and ready to get over there and run it... The competition there is always at a premium. That place is I think the hardest place in the country to win an Outlaws show at. If you win a race there, you definitely have earned it."
Joey Saldana, driver of the Open Joist Mopar-powered JEI
"It's definitely a prestigious race. It's kind of like going to Knoxville or Eldora or Chico (Silver Dollar Speedway). They all have tough local competitors. The Pennsylvania guys definitely have a good feel for what to do to make their cars fast, running their each week. It usually shows, because a couple of their guys usually run extremely well. We were lucky enough to win the Gold Cup (at Silver Dollar Speedway in California). Hopefully we can win the Williams Grove National Open, that would be huge... We'll go out there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get a good run. Last time we were there, we were a Top-Five car every night and got turned over once running third. We ran up front earlier this year there and had a shot at winning a race there."
Donny Schatz, driver of the ParkerStore J&J
"It's the last big event of the year. It's one we have been very good at. I love going to Williams Grove. I know that I can go there and start anywhere and win. We look forward to getting there. I feel like we would have had a real good chance last year, if we would have run 40 laps. Hopefully we can have that this year. We have a clean slate and we'll go there and try to win... We just have a good combination there with our cars and our motors. The way we do our cars really suits the place. It's always fun going there."
Tim Shaffer, driver of the Casey General Stores Maxim
"When you go there, you will race the best guys in the country and you had better be on your game. If you are not on your game, you will be in trouble. The history of the event always adds to it. That happens no matter where we go. We are there to try and win the race. Williams Grove is one of my favorite spots to go in to. It would be awesome to win there...It's good to carry some momentum in there. We've been racing good and hopefully we can go in there do well."
Jason Sides, driver of the Wetherington Tractor Services Maxim
"They run tough out there and we are expected to run well when we go in there... The last couple of times we have been there, we have run pretty well. Last time we caught on fire, but were running pretty good up to that point. I was enjoying it and we were running up front. You always enjoy it more when you run up front... If we could get a win there, that would put the icing on the cake for the year."
Jason Solwold, driver of the City Wide Insulation Maxim
"There are tough cars out there, but we race some tough cars out here every night. Hopefully we can redeem ourselves from the last two times over there. We kind of struggled over there for some reason. Last year we were pretty good there, and hopefully it will turn around this year... It takes a little luck out there and also a good handling car."