World of Outlaws Preview: Texas Shootout at Houston Raceway Park Each and every World of Outlaws driver's versatility will be tested this weekend, as the series competes on the blazing fast high-banked half-mile at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore,...
World of Outlaws Preview: Texas Shootout at Houston Raceway Park
Each and every World of Outlaws driver's versatility will be tested this weekend, as the series competes on the blazing fast high-banked half-mile at Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, Texas on Friday night, followed by the series return to the always racy ¼-mile bullring at Houston Raceway Park on Saturday, April 11 for the Texas Shootout which will award the winner $10,000.
Donny Schatz, the three-time and defending series champion, has won each of the last two races for the World of Outlaws at Houston Raceway Park, picking up a victory over Daryn Pittman in 2007 and one over 20-time series champion Steve Kinser in 2005. Schatz heads to Houston Raceway Park with three A-Feature wins this season and is on top of the series championship standings by 11 markers over Kinser as the 2009 season really begins to pick up this weekend for the best sprint car drivers in the world.
Kinser leads all World of Outlaws drivers with six wins in his career at Houston Raceway Park. He was victorious in the series debut at the track in 2000 and won three of the first four races that were contested at the track which is located in Baytown, Texas. The only other driver to win a World of Outlaws A-Feature at the track other than Kinser and Schatz was Mark Kinser who was victorious at Houston Raceway Park twice in his career.
Kinser, 2001 World of Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski and Craig Dollansky are the only three drivers that have competed in all 13 of the previous series events at the track including preliminary features.
Slidejobs- Texas Shootout at Houston Raceway Park:
Looking to make it three in a row: Donny Schatz has won each of the last two World of Outlaws events at Houston Raceway Park. He led 18 laps in 2005 to pick up his first win at the track and followed that up by leading all 35 laps in 2007. He is tied for the series lead with three A-Feature wins this season and is currently on top of the series championship standings.
A strong track record: Steve Kinser has won six times in his career at Houston Raceway. In 13 career starts at the now ¼-mile and the former four-tenths mile, he has finished in the Top-10 in each and every one. He leads the World of Outlaws with eight Top-10 finishes in nine starts this season as he closes in on his first win of the campaign, as he seeks his record 21st title.
Nearing the top: Jason Meyers is currently third in the World of Outlaws standings, just 19 markers out of the lead as he chases his first series title. He has seven Top-10 finishes in nine starts this season, including a win on a ¼-mile track at Silver Dollar Speedway in his home state of California. He has two Top-10 finishes in his career at Houston Raceway Park, including a fourth-place performance in 2004.
A new track record: Joey Saldana set a new track record in time trials in the World of Outlaws last visit to Houston Raceway Park in 2007, circling the high-banked ¼-mile in 11.996 seconds. He finished fourth in that event and has four career Top-10 finishes there. The second generation driver won earlier this season on a ¼-mile at Silver Dollar Speedway in California during the Mini Gold Cup. He is currently fourth in the series championship standings, just 15 markers out of the third position.
First time in Houston in a while: Sammy Swindell, the three-time World of Outlaws champion will make his first start at Houston Raceway Park since 2001 this weekend. He won a preliminary feature at the track in 2000 over Mark Kinser and was 10th in his last start at the track. He is currently sixth in the series standings this season on the strength of six Top-10 finishes.
Closing in on a win: Jason Sides, who is currently seventh in the World of Outlaws championship standings, finished second in his debut at Houston Raceway Park in 2000. He followed that up with a fifth-place effort that same season. He was ninth in his most recent start at the track in 2007 with the World of Outlaws. He has a couple of runner-up finishes this season as he chases his first win of the year.
Fast on the high banks: Craig Dollansky, who is the midst of his first season driving for Kasey Kahne Racing, has competed in all 13 previous World of Outlaws events at Houston Raceway Park, scoring 11 Top-10 finishes, with four of those being Top-Fives. He has two consecutive third place finishes at the track.
"It's definitely a different mindset when you go into the short tracks versus the big tracks," noted Dollansky. "We'll go in there prepared a little bit differently with the race car. The way you race a short track is definitely different than the way you race a bigger track. I always enjoy going to the short tracks."
Improving each time: Kraig Kinser has improved upon his previous finish in each of his last three starts at Houston Raceway Park. He was 10th at the track in 2004 and was a career-best sixth in his most recent start at the track in 2005. He was fourth in the last World of Outlaws event on March 28 at Manzanita Speedway and is ninth in points on the strength of five Top-10 finishes.
"I don't know how much momentum you can carry after an off week, but hopefully we have everything rolling with the busy part of the season starting," said Kinser.
Perfect attendance: Danny Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws champion, has competed in all 13 of the previous series events at Houston Raceway Park. The native of Dover, Missouri won a preliminary feature at the track in 2002 and has 11 Top-10 finishes dating back to 2000. He is just outside of the Top-10 in the series standings on the strength of four Top-Five finishes this season.
Always a contender: Jac Haudenschild finished sixth in his last start at Houston Raceway Park in 2007. He has four career Top-10 finishes at the bullring, including two Top-Fives. He is just outside of the Top-10 in the series standings this season on the strength of four Top-10 performances.
Representing the Lone Star State: Sam Hafertepe Jr. is the lone driver from the state of Texas competing full-time with the World of Outlaws. He has made two starts in his career at Houston Raceway Park, with the most recent coming in 2007 with the series.
"Texas has been waiting for the Outlaws to come back," shared Hafertepe. "It's great to bring the series back to Texas. There are a lot of fans down there that have not gotten to see the Outlaws for a long time. We are really looking forward to it and hopefully the fans are too."
A couple of first timers: Lucas Wolfe and Brian Ellenberger will both be making their first trip to Houston Raceway Park this weekend. Wolfe is the reigning Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award winner, while Ellenberger is a contender for the honor this season. They both hail from the state of Pennsylvania.
By the Numbers: Houston Raceway Park
0.25-Miles around Houston Raceway Park
0.4- Miles around Houston Raceway Park before the track was reconfigured prior to the World of Outlaws last visit to the facility in 2007
1- World of Outlaws driver that hails from the state of Texas, Sam Hafertepe Jr.
2- Races in Texas for the World of Outlaws this season
3- Drivers that have competed in all 13 World of Outlaws races at Houston Raceway Park, Steve Kinser, Danny Lasoski and Craig Dollansky
5- A-Feature wins for Steve Kinser in his career at the track
6- Total wins for Steve Kinser at the track
9- A-Feature events contested by the World of Outlaws at Houston Raceway Park dating back to 2000; Events contested this season through March 28
11- Points that separate Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser at the top of the series standings entering this weekend
11.996- Track record established by Joey Saldana in time trials on March 16, 2007
12- Events on ¼-mile tracks for the World of Outlaws this season
13- Top-10 finishes for Steve Kinser at HRP in the same number of starts to lead all drivers
27- World of Outlaws championships that will be accounted for by drivers in action on Saturday, April 11
35- Laps led by Donny Schatz en route to winning at Houston Raceway Park in 2007
44- Points that separate the Top-Five in the World of Outlaws standings
65- Laps led in A-Feature events by Donny Schatz through March 28 to lead the series
75.025- Track record in miles per hour established in 2007 by Joey Saldana
215- Miles from Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, Texas where the World of Outlaws race on April 10 to Houston Raceway Park in Baytown
10,000- Dollars the winner will receive on Saturday, April 11
51,690- Dollars in the total purse on April 11
Tickets: On Saturday, April 11 at Houston Raceway Park, general admission tickets will be $30 for adults if purchased in advance and $35 the day of the race, with general admissions tickets for children ages 6-12 just $15. Children ages 5-under will be admitted free of charge. Pit combos are also available for advance purchase only for $38 which includes a grandstand ticket and a pit pass. For tickets call SLS Promotions at 815-344-2023. Also tickets can be purchased by calling the track at 281-383-7223 or from Ticketmaster.