Outlaws drivers express excitement for 'Down Under' Event GRANVILLE, NSW, AU (January 5) -- O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series drivers have ruled America's dirt tracks for years. Now they're excited about the opportunity to compete in the series'...
Outlaws drivers express excitement for 'Down Under' Event
GRANVILLE, NSW, AU (January 5) -- O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series drivers have ruled America's dirt tracks for years. Now they're excited about the opportunity to compete in the series' first overseas event -- the World of Outlaws 'Down Under' -- this week.
Fourteen drivers from sprint car racing's premier series will battle Australian racers for $148,000 in a special, international event at Parramatta City Raceway Thursday through Saturday.
"I think racing in Australia is the best thing that could ever happen to the World of Outlaws," said Joey Saldana, who won the opening-night feature in last week's Sprint Car International event at Parramatta. "We'll be racing on a different continent and it can legitimately be called 'the World of Outlaws' now. I wish more people would support it. Fifteen teams were given the opportunity to go and I'm sure those who don't go will regret not going. The event is only going to help the sport. So many people are complaining about the sport now, but when it comes down to doing something positive for it, some people don't want to support it."
Saldana battled Donny Schatz throughout the $50,000-to-win finale only to finish second as Schatz won Parramatta's grand prize for the third time in four years.
"This is a great way to kick off our month of competition in Australia," Schatz said. "We decided to solely attack Parramatta City Raceway in the lead-in to the World of Outlaws show here, and winning this race is the perfect start. After having the tire go down on opening night, this is a great rebound for our Parker Stores team.
"The way Joey was pressuring me there, that was as tough and fierce a race as I have run anywhere and I was glad to come out on top. The car was set up almost perfect for the feature. I could roll the top wing back and load up the rear to keep getting the rear bite I needed and it paid off for us tonight.
"Parramatta is such a great place to race. The grandstands were packed, and the fans were pretty excited by the level of competition. When the crowd is excited, that energy transfers to the drivers and makes the event that much better. When the World of Outlaws get here, it will be a barn burner."
Following Schatz and Saldana across the line was fellow American and O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series regular Daryn Pittman.
"The World of Outlaws 'Down Under' event will be really good," Pittman said. "Since I've raced over there before, people think I should have an advantage but I never do. It doesn't take any World of Outlaws driver more than a couple of laps to figure out the racetrack. I've enjoyed racing over there, and this is one of the better racetracks in Australia. That'll be good for the fans and the racers. I think it's going be interesting how it all shakes out, but I think it's a step in the right direction for sprint car racing. It's good to open the sport a bit more and reach some new fans."
Steve Kinser, who completed his 18th O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series championship run two months ago, is ready to resume his pursuit of 500 career victories in Australia.
"I'm looking forward to going to Australia again," said Kinser, who has won 496 World of Outlaws main events. "We're going with some World of Outlaws regulars who are going to go down and put on a race for the Australian people. They're looking forward to it, too. I've always enjoyed going there. The only thing I don't like is flying that long in a plane. I've always enjoy being there and I have a lot of friends there also. They love sprint car racing down there."
Paul McMahan has raced in Australia the last three years, but only once at Parramatta City Raceway.
"I've raced in Australia before, but the World of Outlaws 'Down Under' event will be different," McMahan said. "It's going to be neat for the fans over there. The fans in Australia are like Eldora fans everywhere you go. They're really into their racing. They really enjoy the racing. They haven't been able to see very many of us together on the same track on the same night before. Ten or 15 of us will be racing against their best. From a driver's perspective, it's all good. I want to race as much as I can; that's why I go over there during our winter time. It's going to help us out, but it's really going to be the best for the fans who haven't able to see Steve (Kinser), Craig (Dollansky), me, Donny Schatz and all the others at one place like the Knoxville Nationals."
Dollansky and three-time O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series champion Sammy Swindell are excited about their first 'Down Under' racing experience.
"I'm looking forward to going to Australia," Dollansky said. "I've had some offers to go there in the past, but I haven't done it. This situation should be good exposure for race teams and for the series. I think it will be pretty exciting for the fans over there."
"I'm definitely going to race in Australia," Swindell said. "I've never been there before. I'm looking forward to going over there to see what it's like. I'm going to drive for (Australians) Barry Graham and Steven Graham over there, so we'll see how that goes. The World of Outlaws has run races in Canada and Mexico before, but never overseas. This has never happened there and I haven't been over there at all, so I don't have any idea what to expect."
Jason Meyers, who drove the #7 VMAC Maxim while Dollansky recovered from a back injury last season, is pleased to return to Australia to battle the world's best sprint car racers.
"I think the World of Outlaws 'Down Under' event will be very exciting," Meyers said. "I've been down there before and it's a lot of fun. I think what (Promoter) Brian Healy is doing is great for the World of Outlaws."
Other O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series drivers racing in the 'Down Under' event include Brian Paulus, Jason Sides, Kraig Kinser, Brandon Wimmer, Tim Kaeding and Dennis Moore, Jr.