A Welcome Return: Shane Stewart Looks to Continue Hot Steak at Grays Harbor Raceway Elma, WA-- August 31, 2008-- Shane Stewart may not have been competing full-time with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series last season,...
A Welcome Return: Shane Stewart Looks to Continue Hot Steak at Grays Harbor Raceway
Elma, WA-- August 31, 2008-- Shane Stewart may not have been competing full-time with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series last season, but he truly was an "Outlaw." He raced anywhere, anytime, and won in every car that he climbed behind the wheel of from coast-to-coast. One of his biggest wins of the 2007 season came in the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series return to Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington, as he scored what could be considered an "upset" victory, as he was one of just four drivers not competing full-time with the series to visit Victory Lane over the course of the year.
He took the lead from Craig Dollansky on the final lap to pick up the $10,000 victory, which was the second of his career with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. He won a total of three events at Grays Harbor Raceway last season, which has him excited to return to the high-banked 3/8-mile on Monday, September 1, as the World of Outlaws celebrate Labor Day at the always racy track. Stewart has five career Top-Five finishes at Grays Harbor.
"It's a really good track," said Stewart. "It's a nicely shaped track. Usually it has two grooves, which is good for us. I'm really looking forward to going back there. It's always been a good track for me, especially last year."
Making the win even more special last season was the fact that he had only competed in a handful of events with the World of Outlaws prior to the 2007 Gold Rush Tour. For the event at Grays Harbor, he was behind the wheel for the always potent Mike Doyle owned machine out of Oregon. It was the first World of Outlaws win for Mike Doyle and his team.
"Any win against these guys is huge," Stewart noted. "We had a little trailer being pulled by a dually, not that our equipment wasn't good, we just didn't have the big flashy rig. To go in and beat them fair and square was big. I actually fell back to fourth on the start and came back up and was able to pass (Craig) Dollansky with a couple laps to go. It was a pretty big win for us."
The night actually got off to a less than stellar start for the native of Bixby, Oklahoma as he was 23rd in time trials, which lined him up at the back of the third heat race, since he missed the heat race inversion which puts the Top-16 drivers in time trials in the first two rows of each heat race. He worked his way to second in the heat race to earn a spot in the Crane Cams Dash. He proceeded to finish second in the dash to pick up a front row starting spot in the A-Feature.
"I knew my car was good that night," shared the 2005 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. "I told myself to patient and that was the main thing. Traffic was pretty heavy and on a short track you are in traffic a lot. My car was able to move around a little more than a couple of the other guys. It was a patience thing and you just have to play your cards right. It goes back to if it's your time to win the race, you'll win the race."
Stewart has had a great deal of success in the Pacific Northwest during his career, winning seven times in the state of Washington and winning twice in Oregon. He drove for Rudeen Racing out of Washington for about two and a half seasons, competing on a number tracks in the Evergreen state.
"The tracks are a little stickier up here, which really suits my driving style," he explained. "I've had some experience racing up here with Kevin Rudeen, who of course is based in Washington. We won a couple of Dirt Cups up here at Skagit (Speedway). We were also able to do pretty good in the Doyle's car last season. Having some experience on the tracks up here, I kind of know what they do and that helps for sure each time we come back up here."
Stewart looks at the 40 laps that will greet the World of Outlaws on Labor Day at Grays Harbor Raceway from a very philosophical standpoint, when asked what is the key the being up front at the end of the night at the high-banked 3/8-mile.
"The first 20 laps is usually where you need to be patient, and the last 20 is where you really need to be good," he said. "Patience is a big thing, but on the other side of it, on a small track, you can't have too much patience or it will be over and you'll be wondering why I the heck you didn't push a little harder. The thing that you learn racing with these guys is that when the green flag drops you have to go. It's a fast paced 40 laps, that's for sure."
Stewart won earlier this season with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa to pick up his third career A-Feature win, and he has 21 Top-10 finishes, with 10 of those being Top-Five performances this season. He is just outside of the Top-10 in the championship standings, entering the Labor Day event at Grays Harbor Raceway.
On Monday, September 1 at Grays Harbor Raceway, adult tickets will be $35, with tickets for youth ages 2-17 $17, with children ages 2-under admitted free of charge. For ticket information visit: www.graysharborraceway.net.