FARGO, ND - For the past two months the only kind of luck Danny Lasoski has experienced has been bad luck as his status has dropped from being the Pennzoil World of Outlaws (WoO) hottest driver to one that is just trying to break back in the...
FARGO, ND - For the past two months the only kind of luck Danny Lasoski has experienced has been bad luck as his status has dropped from being the Pennzoil World of Outlaws (WoO) hottest driver to one that is just trying to break back in the win column.
"We thought we had a shot at the championship earlier in the year, but the middle stages of this season have been really tough on everyone here at Roth Motorsports," said Lasoski. "We're working really hard to try and find what might be going wrong and we're certainly not giving up. Our goal is to continue giving 110% the rest of the year."
Lasoski, who hails from Dover, MO, is one of the most popular drivers in the Outlaw series. The 1999 season was only his third full-time campaign racing with the World of Outlaws after an spending most of his career racing weekly at legendary Knoxville Raceway and selected WoO races. Racing has always been is true passion and since being nicknamed "the Dude" by his grandfather early in life, he's tried to use that victory lane smile as much as he could along the way.
"This sport has been really good to me," said Lasoski, who currently ranks fifth in the WoO Standings. "I'll race whenever I can and with the way things ended last year we were really excited about the 2000 season."
Following last season's runner-up finish in the point standings, "the Dude" was considered a favorite to claim this season's title. He started the 2000 season in Florida competing with the All-Stars driving a radical looking "test" car for Eagle Chassis that is co-owned by NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart. He won seven of the eight races held and his confidence was soaring to start the WoO series in California in late February back in his familiar #83. A second place finish in the opener was followed by a victory on night number two at Perris Auto Speedway in Southern California. He won four of the first six events including wins at Devil's Bowl Speedway, Joplin 66 Raceway and the new Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. He finished April with a thrilling victory at Knoxville Raceway and started May by sweeping a two-night program at I-80 Speedway in Nebraska.
"It seemed like we could do no wrong earlier this season," Lasoski commented.
"The breaks were going our way and we had a super fast car that seemed unstoppable. We've had some mechanical failures that have kept us from finishing races lately, but we're really looking forward to the rest of the season. When a team can have their downs like we've had recently and stick together and stay focused that a sign of a good team."
The Outlaw points chase is a battle that takes place from February to November, but as the heat of the summer approaches, sprint car racing's biggest events are on our their way as well. Next weekend, the King's Royal will kick off "the month of money" and it's a known fact that Lasoski isn't the biggest fan of Eldora Speedway. His sights are set on the final race for big money races, the Amoco Knoxville Nationals in August. Winning the Nationals was his career pursuit and after finally winning the race in 1998, he was forced to settle for a heartbreaking second in last year's event. "It's no secret that the Amoco Knoxville Nationals is the premiere race in my eyes and that's what I focus on," said Lasoski, a seven-time Knoxville Track Champion and all-time leader in feature wins with 69 at the half-mile dirt oval. "I have focused on that race ever since I wanted to be a racecar driver. Winning it is all that I ever wanted to do, and even though we got one in 1998, my goals haven't changed."
"We just got beat last year. We didn't let it get way, and that happens sometimes. In the last two years, I've experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. I can tell you that we're going to do everything we can to win that race, because I hate losing."
Losing races can hurt a team. When Lasoski joined Dennis Roth's Beefpackers Team to start the 1998 season, it was a team built to win the championship. After winning the Amoco Knoxville Nationals in 1998, they were contenders just about every night for the next season and a half. However, the #83 sprinter hasn't pulled into victory lane since May 6th (17 events), but Lasoski continues to be positive.
"We put everything we've got on the table every time we roll out," continued Lasoski. "We're not giving up on the point deal. I've lost 200 points already this year so I guess if it's feasible to lose it that it's feasible to gain it. Steve (Kinser), Sammy (Swindell) and Mark (Kinser) haven't had what you would call really bad luck. We've dropped out of fives races that's not what we're use to here with this team. We've had fluke things happen, but sometimes lady luck shines on you and sometimes it doesn't."
Last season heading to Fargo, Lasoski was in second in the standings with six victories and trailed Mark Kinser by 152 points. He had 22 top-fives and 31 top-tens in 36 starts. This season the win total is the same, but he trails Steve Kinser by 297 points after finishing in the top-five 14 times and 23 in the top-ten in 31 races.
The numbers aren't the only difference from last year. Lasoski used a rare night off from the Outlaws last week to get back to victory lane again driving the orange and white #20 that he dominated earlier this season in. The rumors are that he and Stewart will team up for 2001 WoO tour. Many question how Lasoski can stay focused on this season with his current team when all of the talk is about his plans for next year.
"We can't worry about anything but 2000 right now," said Lasoski. "I've got to be focused on being the best I can be every night. We're still trying to get back to where we were at the start of the season. We're still guessing around here. Maybe it's a little bit tires, a little bit motor or even the driver. I call all of the shots when it comes to setting the car up, so if it's not right on I've got to make up for it. Right now, we're not getting the job done."
A few years ago, Lasoski might be thrilled with a season of six victories and a top-five finish in the Outlaws, but that was then and this is now. Winning changes your perspective and for Lasoski the sooner he gets the #83 car back to victory lane the better his chances will be for the rest of the season.
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws 2000 season has been one of the most competitive in series history and in the last five days four different drivers have stopped in victory lane. Steve Kinser started the weekend by leading all 30 laps at Route 66 Raceway and beating Sammy Swindell and Dale Blaney to the checkered flag. On Friday, Johnny Herrera passed Blaney to win the Iowa Ethanol Classic preliminary at Knoxville Raceway.
Herrera was poised to claim Saturday's "A" Feature at Knoxville as well leading 34 of the 50-lap race, but couldn't hold off a hard-charging Donny Schatz. A late yellow flag provided Stevie Smith one more shot, and he passed Schatz to win the race.
Mark Kinser claimed his third Eagle Nationals by executing a terrific move to get through slower traffic on the high-banked Eagle Raceway Sunday night. Kinser took the lead from Sammy Swindell and held off cousin Steve in the 40-lap affair.
On Monday night, Mark Kinser made it two in a row in the 40-lap "A" Feature in Sioux Falls, SD.
The Outlaws will travel to Fargo, ND for three nights of racing beginning on Thursday. Saturday's program will be aired live on TNN Sports beginning at 9:00 PM (ET). On Monday night, the traveling sprint car set will compete at Cedar Lake Raceway located just east of Minneapolis/St. Paul.