Pittman, Stewart Geared Up for World of Outlaws Sprint Series Race in Muskogee Colorado Springs, CO -- April 18, 2005 -- With more than 90 race nights a year from coast to coast, the odds are pretty good that every competitor racing on the World...
Pittman, Stewart Geared Up for World of Outlaws Sprint Series Race in Muskogee
Colorado Springs, CO -- April 18, 2005 -- With more than 90 race nights a year from coast to coast, the odds are pretty good that every competitor racing on the World of Outlaws Sprint Series tour will eventually drive in front of a hometown crowd.
On Friday night, two racers will have the eyes of family and friends, not to mention their engine supplier, following their every move as the Outlaws compete for the first time in Muskogee, Okla., at Outlaw Motor Speedway, where gates open at noon, hot laps begin at 6:30 p.m. and racing at 7:30 p.m.
Mean 15 driver Daryn Pittman hails from Owasso, Okla., and top rookie contender Shane Stewart is a native of Bixby, Okla., which also is home to the Wesmar Racing Engines that can be found in both their cars.
"Any time I can go home and race in front of my friends and family it's pretty exciting," said Stewart, who is the only driver on the tour with experience at the relatively new 3/8-mile, 11-degree-banked oval in Muskogee. "Oklahoma City was the closest I used to get to home, Muskogee actually is a little closer. I've already been told that there's plenty of friends and family that are coming, and [car owner] Kevin Rudeen is also coming. Hopefully we can put a good show on for them. We're excited. We're excited to be home."
Although Friday marks the series' debut at Outlaw Motor Speedway, racing in Oklahoma is nothing new for the Outlaws. Through the years the series has raced in Lawton, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and it added a race May 9 in Pocola near Ft. Smith, Ark.
"We used to race at Tulsa Speedway, which is only about five miles from my house," said Pittman, who is eighth in points, one spot behind Stewart. "It was always exciting to go there and race. It's just good to get back and have people come watch you race that never get to see us. There are a lot of sprint car fans or people who race themselves in micros or other forms of racing. It's always good to go home and get to see those people and let them come out and see what you've been doing.
"I've never been to Muskogee, but I've heard it's an awesome facility and a really nice racetrack. Last year, I think the closest we got to home was Oklahoma City. This is definitely a lot closer. Any time we're around that area it's a lot of fun and brings back a lot of memories."
In addition, a large contingent of people from Wesmar Racing Engines is expected to cheer on Pittman and Stewart, as well as Terry McCarl, who also uses Wesmar horsepower.
"They're excited about it," said Pittman, 26. "This is as close as they'll get to see any of their engines run around home. All their employees are going out there. We've got a brand new one we're putting in for that weekend. They're looking forward to that, and all their employees coming out and seeing me and McCarl and Shane and other people who run their engines go around the racetrack."
Posting a strong finish as a way of saying thanks to the company that helps power him around the track also is important to Stewart.
"They work really hard for our race team getting us motors," said Stewart, 28. "To be able to put a good showing on for them will be something that will definitely be on my mind. They're a really big benefactor to our team so having all of them there supporting us will be exciting."
Stewart might be the only driver on tour to have raced -- and won -- at Outlaw Motor Speedway, but it doesn't mean that either he or Pittman is heaping on any extra pressure Friday.
"I try to give it 100 percent every night," Stewart said. "Obviously when everybody is there, people might think it puts more pressure on my shoulders but it really doesn't. I try to race each night to my fullest. That's just another race on our schedule, it just happens to be closer to my home than any other racetrack. Hopefully we can have a good showing in front of all them and let them know the No. 26 Rudeen Motorsports car is capable of winning a race."
For Pittman, he believes his Titan Racing USA team will quickly adapt to Outlaw Motor Speedway.
"I generally I have a pretty good track record for when we go to places for the first time, or places where it's probably going to be the first time 95 percent of the people are going to be going to it," Pittman said. "Generally, we do pretty good and catch on pretty quick it seems. I think Shane Stewart and maybe a few locals who run pretty decent will probably be the only ones who have actually been there and might have a little one-up on us, but that's why these guys are the best. It doesn't take them very long to get caught up and then be going as fast or faster than anybody that's ever been around there."
Even if they succeed Friday night, there won't be much time to celebrate because the series races Saturday night in the Wichita Twister Showdown at 81 Speedway in Park City, Kan., meaning no matter what the result the crew will be busy.
"The thing that most people don't realize is that the crew is really what has to go through the grueling schedule," Stewart said. "Not only do they have to race that night, but they've got to go to the car wash and get everything cleaned up and then travel four or five hours. Generally when they get to bed it's 3 or 4 in the morning, but then they've got to get up and maintenance the car for the next race. There's a lot of time in there that the crew has to go through more than the driver. The driver, he gets in his motorhome and he might drive a couple of hours and pull into a rest stop and rest."
A rest might be in order, though, after what will no doubt be a thrilling feature. But even Stewart knows that whatever advantage he might have when the teams roll their cars from the haulers could be gone by the end of hot laps.
"These Outlaws guys are pretty adaptable to any racetrack they go to," Stewart said. "They adapt well. This is our job. It'll be an exciting race. It's a high-banked racetrack with plenty of speed. It'll be exciting. There's no doubt about that."
All access tickets are $45, or $20 for children 12 and under. Outlaw Motor Speedway is on Highway 69 at the Wainwright exit, 8 miles south of Muskogee and 11 miles north of Interstate 40. For more information, go to www.outlawmotorspeedway.com.
For information about the Wichita Twister Showdown on Saturday at 81 Speedway, go to www.81speedway.org or www.slspromotions.com. To get to 81 Speedway, go north of Wichita on Interstate 135 to exit 16, then 0.7 miles west on 77th. With the event promoted by SLS Promotions, reserved tickets are $32 and general admission tickets are $30. Children 6-12 are $15 and reserved tickets for 12 and under are $15. There also is a $35 pit combo, which includes one general admission ticket plus one pit pass available only for purchase in advance.