Eldora series spotlight - Jason Sides

True Outlaw Jason Sides Ready to Tackle Eldora: Looks to Improve on 3rd-Place Run Earlier this Season Rossburg, OH-- May 30, 2008--Jason Sides has been an "Outlaw" for most of his career. In addition to wheeling his familiar No. 7s at tracks...

True Outlaw Jason Sides Ready to Tackle Eldora: Looks to Improve on 3rd-Place Run Earlier this Season

Rossburg, OH-- May 30, 2008--Jason Sides has been an "Outlaw" for most of his career. In addition to wheeling his familiar No. 7s at tracks from coast-to-coast, the native of Bartlett, Tennessee does most of the work and maintenance on his race cars and also can be found driving the truck and trailer from race-to-race. This season, he has traveled far and wide to in an attempt beat Mother Nature and find races to compete in, in true "Outlaw" fashion.

After competing on Friday night with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio, Sides will have one of the shortest drives all season as he makes the 138-mile trek southwest from the high-banked 1/3-mile to the historic Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, where the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series will compete on Saturday, May 31.

Sides finished third at the high-banked half-mile on April 11 in the series first of four separate visits to the track this season. He won his first career World of Outlaws event at Eldora Speedway in 2004, taking the checkered flag in the Kings Royal to add his name to an illustrious list of winners of the famed event.

"I'm looking forward to getting back there and seeing if we can run like we did last time there," said Sides, the 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year with the World of Outlaws. "It will be good to head back over that way. Early last year we ran decent there and this year we ran decent there at the beginning of the year. Hopefully the track will be similar to what we ran on earlier this year."

Sides consistently ran on the low side of the track aboard the Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim in his first start at Eldora this season and usually has his car set-up to run on the bottom at the half-mile. Like the rest of the drivers, Sides is still getting a feel for Eldora after they added new clay prior to the 2007 season and reconfigured the track a little bit.

"If they can keep it somewhat wet around the bottom, then you can run the top and bottom," he noted. "Some people like to run the top. I don't really care for it. The bottom suits us a little better. To run around the bottom is shorter for me and I can kind of like that."

Sides has been one of the busiest drivers in all of sprint car racing this season, already having competed a total of 24 times despite one of the most rain filled springs in World of Outlaws history. He began the 2008 campaign with a pair of races in Australia in January at Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway, where he earned two Top-10 finishes. Once back in the United States, he competed four times in Florida prior to the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. This is when he really began to pound the pavement in search of races while trying to dodge the rain.

When rain forced the cancellation of the second night of scheduled racing at Eldora on April 12, Sides quickly headed south for a race at Checkered Flag Speedway in his home state of Tennessee, some 456 miles and seven-plus hours away. Another of his long hauls came after the event at Tri-City Speedway in Illinois was postponed and he quickly headed over 500 miles west to Oklahoma, City to get a race in.

"I haven't missed any miles on the truck, that's for sure," he jokingly said. "It has helped me stay sharp driving-wise as well. We just try to keep going and keep this thing afloat. As many races as we can run, is what we need. The more you can run, the more you can make and that keeps this all going."

A number of the events he has competed in this season while battling the rainouts have been with a 360-powerplant under the hood versus the 410 he is used to running with the World of Outlaws. The versatile driver has been able to make a fairly smooth transition as he has racked up seven Top-10 finishes in a 360-sprint car, the type of machine he cut his teeth racing when he began racing a sprint car. One of the tracks that he competed at and had a very strong run at was Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri, where the World of Outlaws will compete later this season.

"The biggest difference is not so much the engines, but the tires are totally different," he explained of jumping between his normal 410-sprint car and a 360-sprint car. "The track tire with the ASCS (American Sprint Car Series) is a 16-wide and like an SC25 compound. With that hard of a tire and that narrow of a tire, it makes it tough when we go and run that, being used to the SC12 that we run with the World of Outlaws."

Sides enters the pair of events in Ohio this weekend, 13th in the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship standings, just 54 markers out of the Top-10. His third-place run at Eldora last month marked his best finish of the young season. He also picked up a Top-10 finish at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida to wrap up the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals, coming home seventh in the finale. He has had a couple of other Top-Five runs cut short by bad luck.

"The season is not quite going how we want yet," shared Sides. "We need some more Top-10's and some more Top-Fives. That would be better for us."

When asked what it takes to have a good night at Eldora, Sides offers one simple word: qualifying. In April, he was fourth in time trials, which lined him up in the fourth position of the first heat race. He transferred from that event in the A-Feature, while also earning a spot in the Crane Cams Dash, where he would finish ninth. In the 30-lap A-Feature, he steadily worked his way to the front to earn his fourth career Top-Five finish at the track.

"Everything is based on qualifying at Eldora," he said. "I go back to the one lap or two lap qualifying and the one lap can kill you if you have a bad lap. In my mind it needs to be two laps whether you have 20 cars or 100 cars. Qualifying is that important."

On Saturday, May 31 at Eldora Speedway tickets for those ages 16-over will be $25 with tickets for those ages 12-15, $12, while tickets for children ages 7-11 will be just $6, with kids 6-under admitted free of charge. For more information on tickets visit www.eldoraspeedway.com or call the Eldora Speedway ticket office during normal business hours at: (937) 338-3815.

-credit: woo

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Jason Sides