Along the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series Trail April 29, 2003 GREENWOOD, NE (April 29) -- Danny Lasoski is flying high as the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series heads to Nebraska Raceway Park for the Omaha Dodge Dealers Great Plains ...
Along the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series Trail
April 29, 2003
GREENWOOD, NE (April 29) -- Danny Lasoski is flying high as the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series heads to Nebraska Raceway Park for the Omaha Dodge Dealers Great Plains Shootout.
"The Dude" extended his lead in the point standings to 60 points over defending and 17-time series champion Steve Kinser with the sixth double-feature sweep of his O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series career. The victories were his 79th and 80th at Knoxville Raceway, where Lasoski has won seven track championships and two Nationals titles.
"I was very, very proud of the J.D. Byrider/Home Depot/Mopar team," Lasoski said. "The guys worked their tails off. We had an unfortunate deal on Friday night. As soon as I took the checkered flag, we either had a camshaft or a crankshaft break, and it started shaking really bad with about 10 laps to go. I took care of it as best I could and as soon as I took the checkered it blew up. We were very lucky to win. And then coming back the next night we put another Mopar engine in. I was rolling around there like I hadn't been in a long time. I told my guys that I owed them that for falling out of the seat last year during the Nationals.
"This series is over a 100 races long. You have to win races, but you still have to be consistent when you have bad nights. I'm just very proud of all my guys for working so hard to give me a good car. We went to Knoxville with high hopes -- just like we always do -- and going in there and being as successful as we were sure makes us feel good for the rest of the year and when we go back to Knoxville for the Nationals.
"This is the beginning of a tough stretch. We race 18 nights during the month of May. We're going to test ourselves to see how we're going to be down the stretch for this point championship. Right now we're in the shop building another new car, so we're going to have one here, plus the three that we have in the trailer. We're just trying to be as ready and as prepared as possible, and with what Paul Kistler is doing with our engines, we feel we've got the total package.
"It's just great being able to call (team owner) Tony (Stewart) and telling him how we did and hearing the smile in his voice. He's glad everything's going well for us."
Stewart, the defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion, was very pleased with his team's performance.
"Knoxville is really Danny's home track, or what we consider to be Danny's home track," Stewart said. "He's won more track championships there than anybody. As passionate as I am about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Danny's that way about Knoxville. So when he goes there, he's probably more focused and keyed into winning there than anywhere else we go on the circuit. It's a track where Danny has always run well, so it wasn't a surprise for me to get two phone calls from him two days in a row telling me that he won."
Lasoski also swept double-feature events at the Talladega Short Track and Heartland Park Topeka last year. He won both the Preliminary and "A" Features at Joplin 66 Speedway in 2000 and at Devil's Bowl Speedway and Knoxville Raceway in 1999.
The O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series has run five double-feature events this season and four have been sweeps. Tim Shaffer won both the Preliminary and "A" Features in the J.D. Byrider Outlaw Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway February 28-March 1. Kinser swept the $95,350 event at Hollywood Hills Speedway March 8-9 and the United States Air Force Showdown at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track March 28-29 before Lasoski dominated the weekend at "The Home of the Nationals." "The Dude" won both main events at Nebraska Raceway Park in 2000.
As unforgettable a weekend as Lasoski enjoyed, Shane Stewart's was just as disappointing. The 26-year-old driver from Bixby, OK, ranked eighth in the standings entering the Spring Classic and was leading the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year race, but dropped to 11th and 93 points behind fellow rookie Jason Sides. Stewart finished sixth in the First Heat Race Friday after debris cut his right rear tire, forcing him to race in the "C" Feature. He was leading the "C" when by half a lap with two laps remaining when the engine in the #4M MIN Motorsports MCI lost power. Without an engine that could compete on Knoxville's high-speed oval, car owner Scott Chilcutt decided to send his team back to Oklahoma.
"There's a possibility we'll back next week," Chilcutt said Tuesday. "We hope to get some help from Wesmar's house motor program. We have a couple of 12-headed motors, but those won't compete on the big tracks. Our best one expired at Knoxville, so we came home. Hopefully, we'll make Indiana (Lawrenceburg Speedway and the Terre Haute Action Track) and Illinois (Farmer City Raceway and Tri-City Speedway) races. We're scrambling, tying to do what we can to stay out on the tour. The motor program is a big issue for us and we don't have the sponsorship to change what we're doing."
Former O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series car owner Jack Elden and Predator Race Crafts out of Hanover, PA, are sponsoring Stevie Smith this season.
"I'm still the car owner, but Jack Elden is helping us out," Smith said. "We need as much help as we can get. We've been terrible the last couple of weekends, so we're starting all over again. We're putting a new car together and going back to basics. We're still using Maxim cars. We don't have time to build everything ourselves any more.
The 1990 Rookie of the Year drove Helm's #11H Vivarin Maxim a year ago, but returned to Pennsylvania to race with his father this season.
"When we first made our commitment with the Vivarin team, there was no contract," Smith said. "Dave and I decided we were going to do one year together. He knew I was trying to do something with my dad (Steve Smith). I liked everything about the team, but I didn't like my dad not being out there. So, I'm going to be involved with him again. I'm going to pay the price for that. Financially, the smart thing for me to do would be to drive for Dave again, but my heart tells me to race with my dad. That's what I'm going to do. I want to race with my dad. I want him to be a part of my racing career. When he retires, I retire. That's just how I look at it right now."