Lernerville - Shaffer spotlight

Shaffer Looks Forward to Lernerville Tim Shaffer doesn't get to race at his home track of Lernerville Speedway very often anymore. Last season he raced there once with the World of Outlaws, and this season he will have two chances to compete at...

Shaffer Looks Forward to Lernerville

Tim Shaffer doesn't get to race at his home track of Lernerville Speedway very often anymore. Last season he raced there once with the World of Outlaws, and this season he will have two chances to compete at the track which is near and dear to him. His first chance will come on Tuesday, May 15 as the series begins a stretch of five races in six days, with the First Commonwealth Bank Clash.

After a runner-up finish last Saturday night at Lake Ozark Speedway in Missouri, he enters the event with a steady stream of momentum, as he closes in on his first A-Feature win of the season.

"It's always exciting to go back to Lernerville," said Shaffer, driver of the Casey's General Stores Maxim. "The key to doing well is to not try too hard. I struggled there for a few years when I got out on the road, and it seemed like I was trying too hard. When I ended up slowing down, it seemed like everything got better. I was up there a couple weeks back and the track looked great and the lighting looked great."

With the demanding schedule that the World of Outlaws contest from February until early November, Shaffer enjoys being able to spend time at home when the series returns to his Lernerville Speedway. It gives him a chance to catch up with family and friends that he normally does not get to see very often when he is on the road.

"Anytime you can spend time at home is great," he said. "My wife and I have a four-year old son, so anytime I get to spend with them during the season is definitely quality time. You try to do as much as you can with the time you have. Being home, we'll get to see a lot friends and people I used to race with. It?s a special event for me. It's where I grew up and that makes it even more meaningful."

Shaffer has one World of Outlaws win at Lernerville, that coming in 2005 in the famed Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup. He won the track championship at Lernerville in 1993, and is one of only 19 sprint car drivers that can lay claim to that honor in the storied history of the track. The always optimistic driver would like nothing more than to add the trophy from the First Commonwealth Bank Clash to his mantel.

"You always want to go home and do good, but it doesn't always seem to work that way," explained the 1999 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. "There are times that you can't wait to get back and there are times you think, 'I hope we go back and don't struggle.' When you go home it often seems like that is when you have problems."

Shaffer has a simple plan heading back to Lernerville, after competing once last season at his home track. He missed the final four months of last season after suffering broken vertebrae in a horrific accident at Knoxville Raceway, and spent the entire off-season working to get back in shape to climb back into the cockpit. With nearly 90 night of racing this year, Shaffer knows that a driver and a team?s fortune can change in a heartbeat.

"The main thing is for us to go back and try out best," he stated. "If we have a good night, we have a good night. If we don?t we don't, that's just part of racing."

With one of the most competitive seasons in the history of the World of Outlaws shaping up, Shaffer knows that he and his team have to be on top of their game every time they hit the track, whether that is for hot laps, time trials, a heat race, the Crane Cams Dash, or the A-Feature.

"The World of Outlaws deal is so tough, with 27 cars following the series," he commented. "You are going to have some good nights and you are going to have some bad nights, there is a lot of up and down out here. The first thing we have to focus on is making the show."

Shaffer has racked up seven Top-Five finishes so far this season. He is just outside of the Top-10 in the championship point standings. He has set quick time once in time trials, and also has a win in the Crane Cams Dash that earned him a pole position

"Things are going fairly well for us, but we still have our ups and downs," admitted Shaffer. "We just have to be more consistent. We've had some good runs, but we are not consistently there. For seven months last season the team had a different driver, so at times it feels like this is a new team and a lot of it is communication, and that is all coming back. Hopefully we can get everything back quick and continue to get better. Dirt track racing is a struggle. It is a hard deal and it seems like it get tougher each year and we get more competition."

While the racing on the track is as tough as it has ever been, Shaffer is quick to point out that that is not the only challenge a driver and team faces when following the always demanding World of Outlaws schedule which stretches from February until early November. He is confident that his team is prepared for the bulk of the schedule and can handle the ever-changing situations that present themselves at the track each and every night.

"You try to do as much extra work in the shop as you can to be prepared for anything," he said. "Just traveling up and down the road can throw you off. It's not as much the racing, but living with your crew and everyone getting along. It's a big thing to keep everyone happy and that is a hard thing to do out here. To be successful, you need a team that can get along night in and night out and not tear each other's head off."

On Tuesday, May 15, adult reserved tickets will be $27, while reserved tickets for seniors will be $24, and reserved tickets for those ages 17-under will be $22. Adult general admission tickets will be $25, while general admission tickets for seniors will be $22, and general admission tickets for those 17-under will be $20. General admission tickets for children 10-under will be free.

-credit: woo

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer