Bill Rose has raced a lot of different cars in his career. He began racing on the dirt in sportsman machines over 25 years ago. He then moved to the more powerful dirt late models, taking to the bullrings of his native state of Indiana, along with...
Bill Rose has raced a lot of different cars in his career. He began racing on the dirt in sportsman machines over 25 years ago. He then moved to the more powerful dirt late models, taking to the bullrings of his native state of Indiana, along with Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio. Then in 1989 he turned his first laps in a sprint car, and knew at that instant, that was the type of car he wanted to drive for the rest of his career.
For over 10 years, he raced non-wing sprint cars all over the Midwest, with plenty of success. In 2002, he bolted the wing on top and began to compete with the O'Reilly All Star Circuit of Champions, where he finished in the Top-10 in points three straight years.
Looking to broaden his horizons even more last season, the native of Plainfield, Indiana took to the road full-time with the World of Outlaws for the first time in his career. Visiting many tracks for the first time from coast-to-coast, he gained plenty of experience and confidence the more he raced with the series.
With the 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop just around the corner at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida, February 9-11, Rose is more than ready to escape the wintry conditions in the Midwest and head south to the Sunshine State for three straight nights of racing.
"We are definitely excited for the season," said Rose. "Last year was a good year for everyone. With everyone back, it will be even tougher this year. I'm definitely looking forward to it."
Rose gained a vast knowledge of what it takes to compete on different tracks night in and night out with the World of Outlaws, as he competed in over 50 events last season. Being a very hands-on driver, this will benefit him in 2007 when he returns to tracks for the second and third time.
"I learned a lot last year from all the different places we went," he explained. "You learn about fuel and motors and all the gear and everything. We'll definitely be a lot better prepared for this year."
For Rose, taking in every word that the veteran drivers offered him last season was priceless. When he was not on the track, he was attentively observing the lines that the more experienced drivers were running. This always helped prepare him for the first couple laps he would make on a track that was new to him.
"What I did last year to learn about new tracks was learning from the veterans," he commented. "Guys like Donny (Schatz) and others who have been doing this a long time really helped me out. I would listen to them and learn. Usually on the tracks that we ran two nights on, the second night we would get better. It was just a huge learning curve for me. I wrench the cars myself and it is just tough to do. With Donny and the veterans helping me out, it definitely made it a lot easier."
Being a native of Indiana, Rose has geography on his side this year as the nearly 90-race season begins and stretches for close to ninth months and criss-crosses the country a couple of different times. Living just outside of Indianapolis, he has access to three of the most traveled Interstates in the nation, and the centralized location also helps him and his team to return to the shop when they are in the Midwest to restock on parts and equipment.
"We made it home a lot last year," Rose said. "There were a couple of trips where we were gone for four weeks or so, like when we went out west. We went home though quite a bit for that reason, to get regrouped and it's just a lot easier working out of the shop than it is working on the road."
While he has been driving winged sprint cars for four straight years now, Rose still jumps into a non-wing car when time permits. He is quick to point out that each has their own unique driving style, and intricacies to hit on that perfect set-up.
"With a winged car, the straighter you keep it, the more you will keep it from binding up, the better," explained the always optimistic driver. "It's definitely a lot faster through the corners. The non-wing cars are always sideways it seems like. The racing in both divisions is definitely tough. Running with the Outlaws, they are definitely the best of the best. It was tough on me with the learning curve switching over. I still love non-wing racing, but I think that the Outlaws is the place to be."
With one of the strongest fields ever expected for the DIRTcar Nationals, including nearly 30 teams that will start the season off full-time with the World of Outlaws, along with many competitors from the All Star Circuit of Champions, as well as the always talented drivers from the sprint car hotbed of Pennsylvania, Rose knows he and his team will have to be on their game from the instant they unload the car from the trailer in the Sunshine State. They look to keep up that intensity until the final checkered flag of the season flies on the inaugural Outlaws World Finals in early November.
"This definitely will be a very competitive season," he said. "Everybody is coming out with very good stuff. You have guys like Tony Bruce Jr. (a contender for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award) stepping up to do the whole deal. It's definitely going to be tough all around. You go to Pennsylvania and it's always tough. It's going to be tough to just get into the Top-10."
Rose, knows he will face a very tough battle this season, but he welcomes that and he expects his team to rise to the challenge. After finishing 16th in points last season, he is ready to use the knowledge and experience he gained, along with a winter of non-stop work in the shop, to make a mark on the 2007 World of Outlaws season.
"If we could get into the Top-10 in points and win a race that would be great for us," Rose said. "We're still under-funded compared to a lot of the teams. We basically do everything ourselves and do the best that we can. If we can just do that, that would be great. We have a new engine program and a few things we are working on. We switched a few things and definitely have things ready for the season."