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World of Outlaws notes 97-02-15

Along the World of Outlaws' Trail By Richard Day LAKE PERRIS, CA (February 15) - Friday's Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series preliminary races, dubbed Wings Over Perris, were televised live on TNN: ...

Along the World of Outlaws' Trail By Richard Day LAKE PERRIS, CA (February 15) - Friday's Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series preliminary races, dubbed Wings Over Perris, were televised live on TNN: The Nashville Network's TNN Motor Madness show. Steve Evans, in the booth with Brad Doty, was the race-by- race announcer, while Doty provided the color commentary. Bobby Gerould and Dave Rief were the pit announcers, while Katie Haas and Randy Pemberton anchored the TNN Motor Madness telecast from Charlotte ... Evans, grand marshall of the parade celebrating the World of Outlaws' Wings over Perris event, said Perris Auto Speedway's concession area was the best he had ever seen at a racing facility ... Tom Motter, former co-owner of the #71M sprinter and proprietor of RaceFax, works in the production truck during TNN's World of Outlaws telecasts ... The next Pennzoil World of Outlaws live telecast scheduled for TNN Motor Madness is the March 21st event from Devil's Bowl Speedway ... TNN: The Nashville Network crewmen installed cameras all over the #1W Conn West Maxim driven by Danny Lasoski and Joe Gaerte's #3G Gaerte Engines Stealth. The cameras provided the national television audience with interesting, never-before-seen views from the cars ... "I hope we brought you some good pictures with the outboard camera," Lasoski said. "It was a thrill for us and the Conn West team. TNN and the World of Outlaws bringing in these TV races makes it a privilege for us to run here and we're just tickled to death." Lasoski and "The King of the Outlaws" had quite a battle late in Friday's feature race. "On a preliminary night like this, you want to run in the top four. I made a desperation move there on the last lap and used up a little of the fence. We just came up a little short tonight. If you made a mistake tonight, you were going to lose two or three spots. Lapped played a major role in the battle for the lead. That's just sprint car racing. The race ahead of me was really good. I could see them switching lanes. I thought if I could just get up there a little closer, I could mix it up with them. But we never got there." Commenting about a proposed World of Outlaws weight rule for 1998, "The Dude" said, "The cars are really getting light, and there's a place you have to stop. The World of Outlaws is doing its best to make everything equal. I think it's a good idea" ... Gaerte was forced to overcome adversity throughout the preliminary program. A fourth-corner spin early in the Fourth Heat Race caused him to finish sixth and lose the outside pole position in the Vivarin Dash. He also went for a spin early in the "B" Feature, but raced back through the field to finish second and earn the ninth starting position in Friday's feature. "That was a costly mistake in the heat," Gaerte admitted. "It took us off the front row of the dash. "We're working really good. I just was trying really hard and I just messed up. I got back to sixth, but they took five. "The track found some rubber in the "B," Gaerte said after his runner-up run in the last-chance race. "I messed up there again in the "B," spinning out while I was trying to heat up the tires and had to start last. We just missed a little on the setup. We're having a little trouble figuring out our Stealth. It's faster than the driver, so if the driver settles down and we get a little better setup, I think we'll be alright" ... "The King of the Outlaws" recorded the 10th-fastest time trial despite being the last to qualify. He had to start from the middle of the pack throughout Friday's preliminary program. "Everybody got on this track before the sun went down, and it slowed down," Kinser said. We felt pretty good in our heat race. The worst part about it is, we're going to be starting back in the feature (10th). We have our work cut out for us" ... Andy Hillenburg raced among the leaders by keeping his new- look #2 STP J&J on the track's rubber-covered surface. "Whenever you slide out of the rubber on track, it makes the car really loose," he said. "Then you spin the tires and have to worry about somebody getting by you. "I think we were pretty good. We didn't anticipate the track taking rubber as soon as it did, and we chose too soft a tire. I was racing with Mark, and I felt like we were as good as he was. I wore my (right rear) tire out racing with him. My tire started shaking, so we slowed down a little to nurse it so it wouldn't blow out" ... Unfortunately for Dave Blaney, California state law requires noise levels on race cars to be less than 95 decibels at 100 feet. The Perris event was the first time this year mufflers were required on World of Outlaws sprinters ... Sammy Swindell, winner of the first three Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series feature races, had to change engines before putting the #1 Channellock Gambler on Perris Auto Speedway's racing surface. He was leading the "A" Feature at Las Vegas the previous week when a rear-end malfunction put him in the pits. "That was disappointing last week, but that's part of it," Swindell said. "You have to finish the races to get the points. The Channellock car was right up there - we had a pretty good lead there in four or five laps when the piece let go. We got a 24th (place finish) out of it. That hurt us in the points. We were 17 ahead, but now (entering the Perris event) we're 37 behind. We'll just have to make it up. "We must have broken something in the engine last week. We found a drive-line part that was broken last week, so we changed that. We got out here and got ready to start it, there was something definitely wrong. So we pulled it out and put another one in" ... Sammy's misfortune allowed his brother, Jeff, to take the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points lead. "The Gold Eagle Ford is operating really well," Jeff said. "We changed the chassis and went with the Ford engine this year, I think it's going to be an asset. I haven't gotten qualifying trimmed down yet. We're not qualifying very well, but we'll get that worked out. "All we want is a shot at the championship. We're racing really good. We're starting at the back, but we've got a sixth, fifth, fourth and a first as we head into this one" ... Two Winners Racing bought 22 soft, 17-compound right rear tires from Goodyear after Jeff used that compound to win the "A" Feature at Las Vegas Motor Speedway February 8th. That compound isn't being manufactured by Goodyear in 1997 ... With Big A Auto Parts sponsoring him for the weekend, Stevie Smith drove his #19 sprinter into seventh place in the Preliminary Feature and 13th in the main event. "We have our engine problems straightened out," Smith said proudly. "We're heading straight to Pennsylvania; we have a lot of work to do" ... Tim Green, the World of Outlaws' Rookie of the Year in 1979, and a two-time Northern Auto Racing Club champion, has been coaching Lance Blevins as the young driver seeks to refine his driving skills. Lance turned 20 on February 13th ... Blowing an engine in hot laps didn't keep Keith Kauffman from wishing his family a Happy Valentine's Day. On his top wing were the words, "Happy Valentine's Day, Sandy, Kathy and Leslie" ... Randy Hannagan, nicknamed "The Hurricane," debuted his own Hurricane chassis in the World of Outlaws' event at Perris ... Rick Ziehl, the Southern New Mexico Speedway track champion, raced in his second World of Outlaws event in as many weeks at Perris Auto Speedway. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series is scheduled to visit Ziehl's home track October 21st. Casey and Beverly Luna, former owners of the #10 Vivarin J&J, will promote the event ... Sean Fenn and his family's #36 Fenn Farms sprinter, flipped in hot laps on opening night at Perris Auto Speedway. He and his crew chief, former California racer Danny Burton, replaced the front axle, the complete rear end assembly and the top and front wings. Unable to start the Fourth Heat Race, Fenn raced into eighth place from the back of the pack in the "C" Feature ... Jim Giardina, the ninth-place finisher in the "C," is a Los Angeles-area dentist. He is called "The Tooth Doc" ... "B" Feature winner Brent Kaeding made his 1997 World of Outlaws debut in Al Peterson's #2M sprinter. Peterson chose the #2M because he has two daughters whose names start with "M" - Michelle and Melissa ... Todd Bammer, whose father, Quentin, owned the #18 Moeller Brothers' Gambler house car Bobby Davis, Jr., drove in the early 1980s, drove the car in the World of Outlaws' events at Manzanita and at Perris. WoO

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