Blaney crowned, 1996 TV package announced

World of Outlaws Announces TV Package, Crowns Blaney Champion By Richard Day DALLAS, TX (October 22) - While the "Winter Wonderland" theme at the World of Outlaws' 18th Annual Awards Banquet reminded those ...

World of Outlaws Announces TV Package, Crowns Blaney Champion By Richard Day DALLAS, TX (October 22) - While the "Winter Wonderland" theme at the World of Outlaws' 18th Annual Awards Banquet reminded those in attendance of the cold weather on the horizon, the festivities added a warm atmosphere Sunday night at the Doubletree Hotel-Park West. "I said this last year, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart - this is family," 1995 Skoal Outlaw Series champion car owner Casey Luna said. "The fellowship and camaraderie we have here with the World of Outlaws is like nothing I've ever experienced in my life. I feel very, very proud to be a part of the World of Outlaws. You are family. Everybody here believes in what they are doing and they work very hard at it. I am also very thankful to all of you here who have allowed us to race with you year after year. You make us feel very good about what we do. You allow Beverly and I to do something that is very dear to our hearts. "This is so much more than racing and traveling the country day-in and day-out. It provides the opportunity to compete. This may sound like a political speech, but the opportunity to compete like this is what America's all about." The 200 or so in attendance also received a warm feeling when the series' founder and owner, Ted Johnson, announced that TNN: The Nashville Network had agreed to televise three live events and three more on a tape-delayed basis in 1996. The feature programs of the May 24-25 Williams Grove Speedway event, Eldora Speedway's King's Royal (July 19-20) and the Knoxville Nationals (August 14-17) will all be televised live on TNN between 10 p.m. and midnight (EDT). Each event's preliminary programs will be taped, then aired on Saturday nights later in the season. Dave Bowman, who was instrumental in securing the World of Outlaws' first live national television package, relayed TNN's impressions of the network's experience with the Amoco Knoxville Nationals in August. "TNN was very, very pleased with all aspects of the Amoco Knoxville Nationals telecast," Bowman said. "It was scheduled into a time slot that is not normally dedicated to motorsports programming (10-12 p.m. EST), and generated a 1.1 Nielsen rating. That is a tremendous rating, and it provided the vitality of not only the Amoco Knoxville Nationals, but of the World of Outlaws series in general." "The bottom line of the entire experience is that the World of Outlaws put on a tremendous show for the fans in the grandstands, and on television. Knoxville was a live race, and we proved we could do it, and do it with class. "TNN has believed for some time that the World of Outlaws could be very successful with live national exposure. They were willing to proceed only when sponsors financing, track owners and the World of Outlaws organization itself could agree on an overall deal that would provide a solid foundation to build on for years to come. The Amoco Knoxville Nationals made that happen. "It took a while and a lot of hard work by a lot of people to get this done. Now that we have a live series in place, things will begin to change. Live television will educate a whole new audience about the excitement of the World of Outlaws series. Not only will they watch on television, but they will attend the races. When sponsors see this audience building, we believe they will want to participate to a greater extent also. All of this will not happen overnight, and we will measure our success two or three years from now. TNN and the World of Outlaws are convinced that we are poised to see an impressive level of growth." Johnson added that the World of Outlaws is working with other networks to acquire even more television coverage. He also said the televised races will feature inflated purses. Tom LoBosco, representing the World of Outlaws' major sponsor, U. S. Tobacco, congratulated the members of the Vivarin Racing Team for winning the 1995 championship. "The applause shouldn't stop there," LoBosco added. "Everyone in this room, whether you're a driver, owner, crew member, a World of Outlaws staff member, a promoter or a family member, you deserve a round of applause. You're a part of bringing this great series, "the greatest show on dirt," to tracks all across the country. "U.S. Tobacco has been a proud sponsor of the World of Outlaws for 15 years now, and I'm proud to announce tonight that we are continuing our sponsorship into 1996 as the Skoal Outlaw Series. Along with that will be an increase in the point fund." Jack Elam, owner of J&J Auto Racing, presented the 1995 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year Award and a new J&J chassis to Randy Hannagan. "I want to thank my brother, Terry, for making this possible," Hannagan said. "It's always been a dream of mine to come out and race with the World of Outlaws. I couldn't have done it without him, my sponsors and my crew. "There were some tough times this year. At times, I thought about quitting. But I'm not a quitter. I made the decision that I was going to follow the whole tour. It paid off; I beat Steve Kinser in my first year," he said jokingly. Snap-on Tools' representative Ed Covington announced Kenny Woodruff, crew chief for Luna's championship team, as the Mechanic of the Year. Fourteen-time series champion Steve Kinser missed 21 of the 72 events, but still finished ninth in driver points and 10th in car owner points. He congratulated Dave Blaney, along with other members of the Vivarin Racing Team, for winning the championship. "I'm going to be back for all the races next year," Kinser added. Bob Kramer, co-owner of the Two Winners Racing Team, announced that, despite rumors to the contrary, he and Tom Wimmer would have the #7TW Gold Eagle Maxim and the #8TW Kele & Associates Maxim back on the tour next season. Seventh-place driver Greg Hodnett echoed Luna's sentiments when he said, "It's like a family racing around the country with you guys, and I appreciate you making me feel like a part of it." Hodnett also paid tribute to Kinser, and welcomed him back to the World of Outlaws." Tom Motter, co-owner of the #71M EcoWater Maxim, congratulated each member of the Vivarin Racing Team, along with Jack Elden and Jac Haudenschild for finishing second "in one of the most exciting championship runs in recent times." Motter also thanked U.S. Tobacco for its continued support, along with the other series sponsors. "Thanks to Snap-on Tools for sponsoring the dashes and the heat races, Vivarin for its dash money, Goodyear for its support, EcoWater Systems for the Quick-Time Award and Wells Lamont for the Hard Charger Award. "The prize money they provide may seem small race-by-race, but they really add up through the season." "This time last year, we were all saying good-bye to Steve Kinser and talked about how much we were going to miss him," Tom's brother and co-car owner Dan Motter said. "We didn't even know who was going to drive our car. It wasn't until late December that Stevie Smith and I got together and decided he would drive for us. "We had a pretty good season as a first-year team, and we're happy with that. But that doesn't mean we're satisfied with where we are. We know we have some growing to do, and we know with Steve and Sammy (Swindell) back next year, it's going to be even tougher. "We're headed in the right direction; we're excited about that. Stevie was a big part of it, no question about it. We have really good depth on our team, too. It takes such a commitment from every member of the team to make it work. I feel like we have the best team we've ever had. I think the longer we stay together, the better we're going to be." After thanking Jac and Patty Haudenschild for their dedication and friendship, Elden congratulated the World of Outlaws' officials for an outstanding year. "I don't think the officiating has ever been better than it was this year," the runner-up in the car owner point standings said. Haudenschild congratulated Blaney for winning the championship, and added that he wish he had won it. "Jac Haudenschild has put me through some tough times in my life," Luna said. "Every time he started going good, we'd start going bad. He took some years off my life. He did the same thing when he drove for me, too. "In 1989, we had the pleasure of winning the World of Outlaws championship. It was a hollow victory because Steve, Sammy and some of the best sprint car drivers in the world weren't with us at that time. But this year, I've seen much of Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell, I don't want to see much of them any more. They're the ones who made the World of Outlaws." Then, looking toward Kinser's table, Luna said, "Steve, you have put us on the map in many ways. I commend you, and it's my pleasure to welcome you back. You are a target in many ways; you are the one who keeps us striving to be the best." Blaney, who chased Kinser for the World of Outlaws championship the past two years, received a standing ovation when he stepped to the podium. "When I was growing up, I never thought I'd be racing for the World of Outlaws championship," Blaney said. "The last couple of months, I got caught up in the points race. It kind of made me forget how lucky we are - not to win the points race, but to have the opportunity to be racing for it. "The whole reason I'm up here is because Kenny Woodruff, my wife, Lisa, and rest of the team worked so hard. They're the ones who put in all the work. They're effort would be the same whether we run 10th in the points or win the championship. It's nice that we came out on top so they have something to look back on." Johnson concluded the gala with the announcement that while the 1996 World of Outlaws schedule would have fewer events, the series would offer more money. "I'm looking forward to the years to come," he said. "It should be exciting. You've stuck around through the hard times; now I think they're going to get easier. The television package will please our sponsors and help us attract new ones. I thank everybody for their perseverance through the 1995 season. Next year is going to be a lot better." WoO*eot

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Dave Blaney , Jac Haudenschild
Teams Williams