Continuing Rain Forces Huset's Speedway to Postpone World of Outlaws Event Brandon, SD -- April 30, 2006 -- Donny Schatz opened April by completing a weekend sweep of World of Outlaws events with his victory at I-55 Raceway. On Sunday, Mother ...
Continuing Rain Forces Huset's Speedway to Postpone World of Outlaws Event
Brandon, SD -- April 30, 2006 -- Donny Schatz opened April by completing a weekend sweep of World of Outlaws events with his victory at I-55 Raceway. On Sunday, Mother Nature closed out the month by matching Schatz's feat with a rainy sweep of Knoxville Raceway and Huset's Speedway.
On Saturday, Knoxville Raceway officials had to postpone the World of Outlaws event because of rain. Sunday morning, officials at Huset's Speedway were forced to make the same decision when a storm front backed up and drenched the 3/8-mile oval overnight. Make-up dates are being planned for later this season at Knoxville and Huset's. It marks the third postponement in a row after heavy rain on April 21 forced the World of Outlaws to delay an event at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway to July 7.
Three consecutive rainouts for the Mean 15 drivers, their teams and World of Outlaws officials who travel with the series from coast-to-coast each year has everybody itching to get back on track.
Nobody is more disappointed by the weather than Justin Henderson, one of six contenders for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented By Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt. Henderson, a native of Sioux Falls, S.D., raced weekly at Knoxville Raceway and Huset's Speedway before joining the Mean 15 in 2006.
"It really hurts our race team because we need to switch our momentum around," said Henderson, who has two top-10s this season. "We were hoping to do that at Knoxville and Huset's. We pulled down a new car, we've got a new shock program. We really wanted to get everything going in the right direction. It's going to be a lot tougher on us going to U.S. 36 Raceway and 81 Speedway, two tracks I've never been to. We'll see what we can do there. I'm still confident in the new shock program and the new car. We're a lot better than we were."
Henderson isn't afraid to push his Jolt Energy Gum/Race Girl Schnee Powered By Hollywood Engines to the limit, and he is excited to take his machine to high-banked U.S. 36 Raceway.
"I hear it's a real fast racetrack," Henderson said. "I'm excited to go there because I love fast-paced racetracks. It's a lot of fun. You get the whole car planted and squatted down with the wing and it makes it a lot of fun. It's kind of like Eldora, you can squat the whole car down with the wing. I'm excited to go there and Wichita, too. It's kind of a little bit more of a cowboy-up mentality there.
Mike Woodring, who fields a JEI for Becca Anderson, another contender for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented By Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt, is logging quite a few miles from his New York-based shop in fruitless efforts to compete because of all the wet weather.
"Obviously it's tough being a car owner," said Woodring, who also fielded World of Outlaws cars for current NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Erin Crocker. "We look at fuel costs and all the costs of driving back and forth. Last week we drove back to New York from Lawrenceburg, Ind. It was about a 1,500-mile round trip after we rained out on Friday and didn't have to race again until this weekend."
Rather than returning to his shop before Friday's Missouri High-Banked Nationals presented by Weld Wheels at U.S. 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo., Woodring and Anderson will spend the week in the Midwest.
"We just have to look at fuel prices and stuff now and make a decision about staying out on the road considering that our shop is based out of New York," said Woodring, who knows that by the middle of May the World of Outlaws will be racing every few days within four to five hours of his shop. "With not having a lot of work to do and it being pretty early in the year and not having a race weekend we'll just go down to Osborn. I guess we take this time to relax a little bit because in a few more weeks we'll be giving anything to have a day off."
One person not used to taking a day off is Brooke Tatnell, driver of the Race Outfitters/Castrol Eagle who races nearly year-round between the World of Outlaws Sprint Series season and events in his native Australia.
"You never get used to rainouts," said Tatnell, whose Rush Racing shop on Saturday served as a makeshift studio for an episode of Elbows Up! to air on The Outdoor Channel at 8 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday. "You build up all week to race because this is what we love to do. It's a major disappointment when it rains. It's like getting up on Christmas morning and there're no presents to unwrap. You never get used to rainouts. It's hard mentally. The biggest thing is we all have to support families. It's very disappointing. We can all joke around about it, but the reality of life, and it's no one's fault because you can't help Mother Nature, but it's very, very tough financially to survive. This is the greatest of great jobs. It has the highest of highs, but it has the lowest of lows, and rain is a low."
Daryn Pittman is aiming to repeat the highest of highs on Saturday, May 6, in the Third Annual Wichita Twister Showdown at 81 Speedway in Park City, Kan. Last season, Pittman earned his first victory of the 2005 season when he dominated the show at Wichita to give his Titan Racing USA Maxim team some needed momentum.
"The rain is just a let down," said Pittman, whose team is based near Indianapolis. "We feel like we're struggling a bit and we want to race and we want to get better, but we can't do it sitting in the trailer. It makes for an easy week for the guys, but everybody this time of year is itching to get on the racetrack and run two or three nights a week and we're not even getting any in. We can't control Mother Nature so we'll make the best of it and look forward to the next weekend."
Pittman's victory in last season's Wichita Twister Showdown also made Reeve Kruck the first Australian car owner to earn a World of Outlaws A-feature victory, a day Pittman will never forget.
"We went into the day as bummed as any team on the road," said Pittman, a native of Owasso, Okla. "We struggled the night before and blew up a brand new motor. We were running about as good as we are right now. We're looking forward to going back there to turn things around again. It was a big turnaround and confidence booster for us last year. It's a great facility and a good turnout fan-wise. Anytime we can perform in front of good crowds like that, it's a lot of fun."
The rain also has shuffled the World of Outlaws television lineup on The Outdoor Channel. With rain falling during the day on Saturday in Iowa, many teams gathered at the Rush Racing shop in Des Moines along with John Gibson, Brad Doty and The Outdoor Channel crew to film an episode of Elbows Up! to air on Wednesday, May 3.
In addition, next Friday night's event -- the Missouri High-Banked Nationals presented by Weld Wheels -- will be televised by The Outdoor Channel on May 10.
The World of Outlaws schedule picks up with Friday's highly anticipated Missouri High-Banked Nationals presented by Weld Wheels on May 5 at U.S. 36 Raceway followed May 6 by the Third Annual Wichita Twister Showdown at 81 Speedway just outside Wichita, Kan. The series then heads toward its first East Coast Swing with events May 12 at Attica Raceway Park in Attica, Ohio; the Ohio Challenge II on May 13 at K-C Raceway in Chillicothe, Ohio; Thunder on the Hill on May 16 at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa.; and the Commonwealth Clash on May 19 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., that sets the stage for the $50,000 Challenge on May 20 at Sharon Speedway.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series is brought to the fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire and The Outdoor Channel. Promotional Partners include AMB i.t., Choice Hotels and The University of Northwestern Ohio. Associate sponsors are ButlerBuilt Motorsports Equipment, Maxim Racing and RacinSoles. Contingency sponsors include DART Machinery, MSD Ignitions and Wrisco Industries.