2006 World of Outlaws Sprint Series Racers At A Glance: Justin Henderson Norman, OK -- Nov. 4, 2005 -- When the green flag drops on the 2006 season in February at Volusia Speedway Park, a dream will become a reality for Justin ...
2006 World of Outlaws Sprint Series Racers At A Glance: Justin Henderson
Norman, OK -- Nov. 4, 2005 -- When the green flag drops on the 2006 season in February at Volusia Speedway Park, a dream will become a reality for Justin Henderson.
Henderson, of Sioux Falls, S.D., will make the jump from racing weekly at Knoxville Raceway and Huset's Speedway, where he is a former track champion in both the 360 and 410 sprint car divisions, to running night in and night out as a touring member of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series.
His career has been on track for this opportunity to join the world's best collection of sprint car racers. Last season, he ran eight times with the Outlaws, nearly winning a dash at Knoxville Raceway before posting a top-10 finish with a blistered tire on his Dan Oswalt-owned Sonic Drive-ins/Pontiac of Sioux Falls Schnee.
Henderson, who started racing karts as a 7-year-old in 1987, was successful with a 360-sprint car in the late '90s at three different tracks in South Dakota. In 1997, Henderson moved into a 410-sprint car. From there, he won a title at Huset's Speedway and has finished in the top 10 at Knoxville Raceway three times, including in 2005. In addition to all his success on the track, Henderson also was once voted Knoxville's Most Popular 410 Driver.
But it's on the track where Henderson aims to make his mark. He's hoping to ride the momentum from his September victory over a 44-car field in Jerry Richert Memorial at Cedar Lake Speedway into his 2006 dream season with the Outlaws.
"First of all, it's been my dream to run with the World of Outlaws," Henderson said. "That's all I've ever wanted to do. To have the opportunity, it made it easy for us to go ahead and go for it. Basically, what it means to me is that I'm running with the best in the world. You're only as good as your competition, so hopefully I can get that good."
Henderson believes the increased number of events he will run with the Outlaws in 2006 will quickly accelerate his competition level.
"I'm a racer at heart, but running 35 or 40 times around here, you don't get to run the way those guys do," he said. "What I'm looking forward to the most is running hard every lap like those guys do."
And that mentality is why Henderson will be a success. He got a taste of running up front with the Outlaws in June at Knoxville when qualified for a dash and then raced into the lead before a caution moved him back. He continued to fight his way through the race and a top-10 finish even after a tire started to blister. It was that race that let Henderson know he was ready to go head-to-head with the Outlaws every night.
"I think probably this year during the Outlaws show in June at Knoxville when I passed Paul McMahan for the lead in the dash," Henderson said of his breakthrough moment. "Sammy Swindell stopped on the front stretch and I got put back, but I knew I could race with those guys. We were running third [in the feature] when we blistered a left rear tire. The guys would pass me and then I'd still pass them back. We ended up ninth with a blistered tire. We were running really hard with those guys. That was a lot of fun to race back and forth like that."