World of Outlaws Preview: Knoxville Raceway Knoxville, IA-- April 30, 2009--It's always a big event when the World of Outlaws visit the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa. This week, the series will help the legendary half-mile open their 2009...
World of Outlaws Preview: Knoxville Raceway
Knoxville, IA-- April 30, 2009--It's always a big event when the World of Outlaws visit the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa. This week, the series will help the legendary half-mile open their 2009 season on Saturday, May 2 with a stellar field of cars expected to battle for the $10,000 top prize.
Donny Schatz, the three-time and defending World of Outlaws champions won two of the three events for the series at Knoxville last season, with Shane Stewart taking the win in the other, with an impressive pass of Schatz in open race track to snag the win. Schatz has won four of the last seven races for the World of Outlaws at the track, with Joey Saldana and Terry McCarl also picking up wins during in that span.
In the last 30 years, there have been 17 drivers earn A-Feature wins with the World of Outlaws at the half-mile. Of those, nine are currently competing with the World of Outlaws and will be in action on Saturday, May 2. Steve Kinser, the 20-time series champion leads that list with 19 A-Feature wins. He has nearly 60 total wins at the half-mile in his career.
Danny Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws champion, is the all-time winningest driver at Knoxville, with 92 career victories, to go along with his record eight track championships. Terry McCarl is second all-time with six track championships and is among the Top-Five in all time wins at the track as well.
The World of Outlaws will make two visits to Knoxville Raceway this year, with the second of those coming on Saturday, June 27, with $10,000 going to the winner in each of those events.
Slidejobs- Knoxville Raceway
What a record: Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion, has an amazing track record at Knoxville Raceway, having scored nearly 60 wins in his career at the half-mile, with 21 of those being in A-Feature events with the World of Outlaws. He won for the first time with the series at the track in 1978 and has been victorious in 22 different years at the track. His most recent win at the hallowed track came in 2005 and he has won a record 12 Knoxville Nationals. The native of Bloomington, Indiana won his first race of the 2009 season last weekend at Tri-State Speedway in his home state and took over the lead in the World of Outlaws championship standings in the process.
Defending champion: Danny Lasoski picked up his record eighth Knoxville Raceway track championship last season on the strength of three wins, to bring his all-time leading total to 92 at the track. He has won 12 times over the years with the World of Outlaws at the track he considers to be his home track. He will make his first start at the track aboard the No. 6 this season for car owners Lonnie Parsons and Don Lamberti, both of Iowa.
"We're always excited to go back to Knoxville and I'm really looking forward to it this year," said Lasoski. "Our goal has never changed and winning at Knoxville and winning the Knoxville Nationals is our top priority. Going back for an Outlaws race, it would make it even sweeter if we could win that one."
Not far behind: Terry McCarl has six Knoxville Raceway championships to his credit, along with 43 career wins at the half-mile just a stone's throw from his home in Altoona, Iowa. He won for the first time with the World of Outlaws at Knoxville in 2007. He enters this weekend's event solidly in the Top-10 in the series standings on the strength of eight Top-10 finishes.
Fast everywhere: Joey Saldana leads the World of Outlaws with five wins this season and has won on a variety of tracks, ranging from a ¼-mile to a blazing fast half-mile. After a second-place performance last weekend in his home state of Indiana, Saldana is currently second in points entering this weekend's pair of events. In his career at Knoxville, Saldana has five wins, including last season on a preliminary night during the Knoxville Nationals. He has been victorious three times in his career with the World of Outlaws at the track, where his father Joe won sprint car racing's biggest event in 1970. The second generation driver has finished eighth or better in 14 consecutive races at Knoxville.
Continuing to pick up wins: Donny Schatz, the three-time and defending World of Outlaws champion, won three times at Knoxville last season, including his third consecutive Knoxville Nationals. He took two of the three World of Outlaws events at the track to bring his career win total at the half-mile to 10, with four of those coming in A-Feature events with the series. He has won three times this season, all on half-miles and enters the event third in points.
"I spent a few years not being that good on big tracks, so I guess making laps and learning from mistakes probably started it," noted Schatz of his success on the half-miles. "We got some big wins early in my career at big tracks like Manzanita (Speedway) and Williams Grove (Speedway). Then we started getting around Knoxville pretty good and kept our pace going at Williams Grove. A couple of years ago, I finally won the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway."
Ten in a row: Jason Meyers has finished in the Top-10 in 10 consecutive events at Knoxville, with all five of his starts at the half-mile last season resulting in Top-Five performances. He finished second in the Knoxville Nationals, leading the first 24 laps of sprint car racing's biggest event. In his career, Meyers has two wins at Knoxville, with the first of those coming in 2001, which was also his first career World of Outlaws win, making him the only driver in the history of the series to pick up their first win at Knoxville. The native of Clovis, California has won twice this year and is currently fourth in points.
Fast on the half-mile: Jason Sides has been fast on half-mile tracks this season with the World of Outlaws. The 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year kicked off the season with two runner-up finishes at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida. He finished third and sixth last weekend and is up to the fifth spot in points, on the strength of 10 Top-10 finishes. In his career at Knoxville Raceway, he has 10 Top-10 finishes.
Up front & battling for wins: Craig Dollansky has racked up 10 consecutive Top-10 finishes at Knoxville Raceway over the last two-plus seasons. The native of Elk River, Minnesota has 10 career wins at the famed half-mile, with five of those coming in World of Outlaws events. In the midst of his first season driving for Kasey Kahne Racing, Dollansky has nine Top-10 finishes.
A home race: Kerry Madsen hails from St. Mary's, NSW, Australian, but for the last number of years, the Knoxville area has been home. Driving for the Pella, Iowa based VerMeer Motorsports team he claimed the 2005 track championship at Knoxville. In his career at the half-mile, he has 15 wins. He finished a very strong fourth last weekend in the World of Outlaws most recent event and is just one point out of eighth in the championship standings.
Gearing up for the big one: Kraig Kinser conquered the famed Knoxville Raceway in 2005, taking home the checkered flag in the Knoxville Nationals to put his father Steve and him in the history books as the first father/son pair to win sprint car racing's biggest event. The younger Kinser won twice that season at Knoxville and looks to add to his five career Top-10 finishes at the track this weekend, as well as preparing for this year's Nationals.
"There is a little extra motivation to do well at Knoxville," noted the third generation driver. "You want to win wherever you race, but the place has so much tradition that, any time you pull into to victory lane, it's a big deal. I'm not sure if any of the other guys think the way I do, but I'm always trying to learn something that can make me better at the Nationals. Winning the Nationals proved to me that I could win a big race, but it also helped me learn that you have to be ready for anything and everything."
Running up front at Knoxville: Jac Haudenschild has 17 career wins at Knoxville, with five of those coming in World of Outlaws A-Feature events. The native of Wooster, Ohio will be inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame located just off turns one and two at the track later this year. He finished in the Top-10 in all five of his starts at the track last season.
Continuing to gain experience: While a number of drivers on the World of Outlaws circuit have been competing at Knoxville Raceway longer than Lucas Wolfe and Sam Hafertepe Jr. have been alive, the two young drivers continue to gain precious experience at the half-mile. Wolfe finished a career-best sixth at the track in 2007, while Hafertepe picked up an eighth-place run with the World of Outlaws at the half-mile last season.
A familiar track: Brian Ellenberger, who is contending for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award this season, has visited numerous tracks for the first time, but this weekend when the series visits Knoxville, he'll race at a track he has a lot of laps at during his career. He competed at the track a couple of times last year including in the Knoxville Nationals.
By the Numbers: Knoxville Raceway
0.5-Miles around Knoxville Raceway
1- Driver from the state of Iowa competing full-time with the World of Outlaws, Terry McCarl
3- Events for the World of Outlaws in the state of Iowa this season; Drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws this season that are current and former Knoxville Raceway track champions
6- Track championships at Knoxville for Terry McCarl; Events this season on half-mile tracks for the World of Outlaws through April 25
7- Drivers that have won A-Feature events with the World of Outlaws in 2009
8-Track championships at Knoxville for Danny Lasoski
12- Drivers that have won the Crane Cams Dash this season to earn a pole position
13- Top-10 finishes for Steve Kinser in the first 14 races of the season to lead the series
14.407- Track record established by Brooke Tatnell in 2006
15- Drivers that have led laps with the World of Outlaws this season
17- Drivers that have won A-Feature events with the World of Outlaws at the track
31- Points that separate Steve Kinser and Joey Saldana atop the World of Outlaws standings
81- A-Feature events contested by the World of Outlaws at Knoxville dating back to 1979
92- Career wins for Danny Lasoski at Knoxville Raceway to top the all-time win list
484- Laps of A-Feature competition contested this season through April 25
1,943- Points earned by Steve Kinser this season to lead the series
1978- Year the World of Outlaws first competed at Knoxville Raceway
10,000- Dollars the winner will receive on Saturday, May 2
51,690- Dollars in the total purse on Saturday, May 2
65,775-Dollars earned by Joey Saldana to lead the series through April 25
Tickets: On Saturday, May 2 at Knoxville Raceway, adult general admission tickets will be $27 with general admission tickets for children just $13.50. Reserved tickets for adults will be $30, with reserved tickets for children $15. For tickets visit www.knoxvilleraceway.com or call the track at 641-842-5431.