Outlaws to Open Millennium at Kings Speedway

HANFORD, CA (February 21) - Danny Lasoski can't wait for the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series to open the 2000 season. Who could blame him? Last year's season-opening victory at Kings Speedway started "The Dude" on his second straight...

HANFORD, CA (February 21) - Danny Lasoski can't wait for the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series to open the 2000 season. Who could blame him? Last year's season-opening victory at Kings Speedway started "The Dude" on his second straight career year. He won 11 "A" Features and pressured Mark Kinser for the series championship down to the season finale. "I'm just glad to win anything - hot laps, heats, whatever," Lasoski said. "My guys (Mark Ellis, Jack Hickman and Craig Stevens) are really working hard and Dennis Roth has given me the best equipment available. We just want to have a good, consistent year and win the title." Lasoski would dearly love to duplicate last season's victory when the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series opens the 2000 season at Hanford's semi-banked, 1/3-mile oval for the second straight year Friday. Following the Kings event, the series will race at Perris Auto Speedway. "We're going after the championship this year," Lasoski says. "We're excited about this season, and we're going to try to bring the first championship of the new millennium back to Missouri." "The Dude" will have plenty of competition waiting for him, however, as more teams than ever plan to race for the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship this season. Kinser, who won his second championship in four years in 1999, would like nothing more than to give Mopar a second straight title. He led the series with 19 "A" Feature victories, 12 Channellock Dash poles and 543 "A" Feature laps led last season. He also ranked first in Vivarin Fast-Time Awards for the sixth straight season. Steve Kinser came close to doubling his number visits to victory lane from the previous season, but dropped to third in the point standings. "The King of the Outlaws" drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim into the top 10 in 54 of 69 races, including 11 "A" Feature victories. Although he didn't lead the series in victories as he did in 1998, Stevie Smith had fewer peaks and valleys last season. He moved into fourth place in the standings in early August by winning successive "A" Features at Hagerstown Speedway, Orange County Fair Speedway and Eldora Speedway. Smith won five main events and two Preliminary Features while finishing fourth in the point standings last year. Sammy Swindell, a three-time winner at Kings Speedway, is another veteran with a burning desire to return to the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series throne. The three-time champion finished fifth and third in the two years since his last title. Donny Schatz, the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' hottest driver the last month of the 1999 season, continued his winning ways in Australia during the winter. He won six straight "A" Features "Down Under" and has his sights set on the 2000 series championship. Tim Shaffer received the first Rookie of the Year award honoring Kevin Gobrecht at the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Awards Banquet last November. The honor capped an outstanding season for the Pennsylvania racer, who drove the #11H Vivarin Eagle into ninth place in the point standings. Signing a major sponsorship contract with Luxaire late in the 1999 season gave Andy Hillenburg high hopes for the new millennium. The 1988 Rookie of the Year won Preliminary Features in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Sunflower Shootout at Heartland Park Topeka, on opening night of the Duel in the Dakotas event at Red River Valley Speedway and on the second night at the Gold Cup Race of Champions last year. Daryn Pittman, the runner-up in the 1999 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year race, started his own team and promptly hired Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series veteran mechanic Kenny Woodruff as his crew chief during the off-season. Pittman's #3 sprinter will be a J&J chassis powered by Shaver engines. Brooke Tatnell, the 1999 Vivarin Perseverance award winner, joined rookie car owner Lonny Parsons and the Casey's General Stores team before embarking on an outstanding season with the World Sprint Car Series in his native Australia during the winter. Lance Blevins replaced Jimmy Carr in the #21 PC Joey J&J following the Schick Protector Razor Winged Thunder event at the Terre Haute Action Track last May 22nd. Blevins raced into 10th place in the "A" Feature in his 1999 debut at Lernerville Speedway and eventually finished 13th in the point standings. Dale Blaney is excited to return to brother Dave Blaney's #93 Mopar-powered Amoco Maxim for the new millennium. Dale, who drove several sprinters on his way to a 14th-place finish in the 1999 point standings, is still searching for his first Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series "A" Feature victory. After a season of jumping from circuit to circuit, Jac Haudenschild returns to the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series in Jack Elden's #22 Maxim. Despite racing in only 38 of the series' 69 events last season, "The Wild Child" won three main events and ranked 16th in the point standings. Eight-time Knoxville Raceway championship car owner Guy Forbrook hired former Rookie of the Year Greg Hodnett to drive his #V12 Wirtgen Maxim with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series this season. Forbrook was Steve Kinser's crew chief when "The King of the Outlaws" became the first driver/owner to win both championships in the same year in 1998. Joey Saldana, the 1996 Rookie of the Year, returns to the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series with HEM Saw sponsoring his #17 sprinter. Joey earned 10 Vivarin Fast-Time Awards, won two Channellock Dash races, and recorded 15 top-10 "A" Feature finishes in 27 events last season. Randy Hannagan, another former Rookie of the Year, started driving Junior Holbrook's #8H Energy Release Maxim late last season. "The Hurricane" recorded three top-five finishes in 17 events and finished 28th in the point standings. P&P Motorsports' #28 Verdelli Farms Maxim will sport a new silver and gold color scheme when Brian Paulus returns to "the greatest show on dirt." Paulus, who will also race in USAC's Silver Crown Series, was the first recipient of the Vivarin Perseverance Award in 1996. Pennsylvanian Jeff Shepard and Danny Wood from Oklahoma should wage a fierce battle for the 2000 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year award. Shepard will drive the #4J Maxim while Wood steers the #21W Pepsi Avenger. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' 1999 season features 73 events over 105 race dates at 46 facilities in 25 states and more than $10 million in purses, contingencies and point fund awards.

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Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Andy Hillenburg , Tim Shaffer , Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Brian Paulus , Brooke Tatnell , Daryn Pittman , Joey Saldana , Randy Hannagan , Dave Blaney , Mark Ellis , Jac Haudenschild