TRACK PREP: World of Outlaws Drivers Praise Dirt Track At Lowe's Motor Speedway After Practice Concord, N.C. -- May 23, 2006 -- No matter how many times they have raced at a facility, drivers always welcome extra laps at a racetrack. On...
TRACK PREP: World of Outlaws Drivers Praise Dirt Track At Lowe's Motor Speedway After Practice
Concord, N.C. -- May 23, 2006 -- No matter how many times they have raced at a facility, drivers always welcome extra laps at a racetrack.
On Tuesday night, World of Outlaws Sprint Series racers got a taste of what to expect in Wednesday's Eckerd Outlaw Showdown as they rolled onto The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway for a practice session under near-perfect conditions.
The Outlaws last raced at the 4/10-mile Lowe's dirt track in 2003, so teams were eager to see how their cars would respond to the surface. For some drivers, it was a chance to work on a different set-up or engine combination while others used the occasion simply to get some seat time.
"This place is fast," said Mean 15 driver Daryn Pittman. "I haven't been here for a while, and you forget how fast it is. It's going to be interesting to get out there with 23 other cars."
For Pittman and his No. 21 Titan Garages & Carports Maxim, it turned out to be a somewhat bittersweet night.
"We haven't been here in a couple of years," Pittman said. "It's a lot of fun to come back. We just have to make sure we have things in line. Unfortunately we lost a motor trying to do it. We came out here and wanted to try some things with the motors and we did, and it didn't work out. It's not the end of the world. I feel like we ended up pretty good, and it gives us a little bit of confidence heading into the race knowing we got some hot laps."
For veteran Tim Shaffer, who is filling in for injured Terry McCarl in the No. 24 Big Game Treestands Eagle, he had to get used to a new ButlerBuilt seat that was installed in the car just before he took rolled onto the track.
"I like this place, and I've been good here in the past," said Shaffer, a native of Aliquippa, Pa. "I can help Terry out and I can help myself out to. Hopefully, we can do some good for both of us."
McCarl offered some simple advice to Shaffer when turning over the reigns.
"Go win the thing, and don't tear the car up," Shaffer said with a smile.
Lowe's Motor Speedway's Roger Slack and his crew have relentlessly worked to give the drivers the best possible surface on Wednesday night. It appeared on Tuesday night that their hard work has paid off.
"We hopefully learned some good things," said Craig Dollansky, driver of the No. 7 Karavan Trailers Maxim. "The track was in great shape, probably the best I have ever seen it. Randy Grove does a great job of preparing the track, and we are really looking forward to running here. I'm sure they will re-work it after tonight. I think it will be in good shape tomorrow, and we'll be going around here pretty good."
Bill Rose, who was one of 10 drivers making appearances earlier in the day at Eckerd stores are the Charlotte area, has experience at the Lowe's dirt track, but he still was glad for a few extra laps before Wednesday's Eckerd Outlaw Showdown.
"It was nice to get a night out with no pressure, where we could really work with things," said Rose, a Plainfield, Ind., driver contending for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented By Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt. "We made some changes to the wing and things like that. I think we'll be pretty good. It was definitely smooth and fast tonight."
Another contender for the freshman hardware is Justin Henderson of Sioux Falls, S.D., in the No. D1 Jolt Energy Gum/Race Girl Schnee. He also was thrilled to get a few laps on a track that he had never even seen until Tuesday evening.
"The car felt really good," said Henderson, who even had to sleep fast on Tuesday night to join Becca Anderson early Wednesday morning for an appearance on a local Fox television affiliate. "We tried some things. When we went out for our actual qualifying session we were a little too tight and we loosened it up on the right rear. The car feels really good. I'm excited for the race. It helped a ton. I am very happy we had the practice session. The motor is running really strong. We need to change our fuel a little bit for tomorrow, but now we know where we sit."
The Eckerd Outlaw Showdown will pay $10,000 to the winner of the A-Main event.