2008 World of Outlaws Season Review: Lucas Wolfe Concord, NC-- November 12, 2008--Lucas Wolfe knew it would be no easy task taking to the road full-time time with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2008, for the first time in his...
2008 World of Outlaws Season Review: Lucas Wolfe
Concord, NC-- November 12, 2008--Lucas Wolfe knew it would be no easy task taking to the road full-time time with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2008, for the first time in his career, and on top of being a rookie and visiting countless tracks for the first time in his career, his season was interrupted for two months as he recovered from a back injury sustained in June. Despite missing 22 races as he recovered from the injury, he was able to claim the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award, adding his name to an illustrious list of past recipients of the honor, which includes three-time defending champion Donny Schatz, as well as Joey Saldana, Kerry Madsen, Chad Kemenah and Kraig Kinser among others.
The native of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania picked up nine Top-10 finishes during his rookie campaign, including a season-best runner-up performance late in the season in his first visit to North Central Speedway in Minnesota.
"It's definitely an honor to receive an award named after Kevin, especially being from the same area as him," said Wolfe. "I want to thank the Jim and Laura Allebach for giving me the chance to come out here this season and hopefully we'll be able to pursue this for many years to come."
The 22-year old picked up his first Top-10 finish of the season just six races into the season at the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio. He would follow that up with his first Top-Five finish of the year at his home track of Williams Grove Speedway in May. Two weeks later, he was running in the Top-Three at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway live on SPEED aboard the Allebach Racing Maxim and was in contention for his first series win when a loose fuel line ended his bid.
"We had a few nights where we ran really well, but you always want to do better than you did, that's only natural," he noted. "It was a difficult year with the rain and the weather early in the year, missing a lot of races. Then missing some of the busiest months with an injury didn't help. Those are all things that will make you stronger in the future. We were able to learn a lot and see a lot of places that we had never seen. When we go out and do it again, we should be better and hopefully we learned as much as we could out here this year."
Despite missing the two months of action, Wolfe was able to gain priceless experience from coast-to-coast as he visited over 20 tracks for the first time in his career, including his first trip to Canada to compete at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton. He also made his first trip to the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in California for the famed event, which draws one of the strongest fields of cars the series competes against all season.
"It's a very difficult deal out here," shared the rookie. "There are a lot of guys that have done this for a lot of years and have a lot of experience. You definitely have to put your time in to be successful. You just won't be able to show up and do it right away. To experience places for the first time and go through many different situations that I hadn't experienced racing locally in Pennsylvania helped make us stronger. That's what you need to do out here and we were able to do that this year. We were able to benefit from a number of things. If I look at this point next year, I'll be even stronger yet, but at this point I'm very happy with our progress and think it will be good for the future."
Wolfe won his first Crane Cams Dash of the season at Cottage Grove Speedway in Oregon in September, and led early in the A-Feature before finishing a very solid sixth in his debut at the high-banked ¼-mile. He picked up back-to-back Top-Five finishes late in the season at Orange County Fair Speedway in New York and North Central Speedway in Minnesota. With his father Randy turning the wrenches, the team gained a lot of momentum late in the season.
"They definitely help, and you need them every now and then," Wolfe said of the Top-Five finishes. "We ran pretty consistent in the last two or three months of the season. I think we were pretty competitive. There were many nights where we were in the right position and some nights in the position to win races. That's all you can ask for out here. We are out there racing against the best guys. That definitely helped us with confidence for the remainder of the year."
Wolfe, who competed against a number of drivers that have been racing longer than he has been alive, did not let this aspect faze him. He viewed each time he hit the track as another chance to learn from the best in the business, as he continues to hone his skills behind the wheel. He raced his way into the Crane Cams Dash 11 times this season to earn Top-10 starting spots in A-Feature events.
"I don't know if it intimidating, it's actually exciting, because each night you drop the back door down, you are racing with the best guys," he noted. "It's an honor to be at that point of your career and have the opportunity to do it. I'm happy that I have had that opportunity and hopefully we'll be able to continue it in the future. It's the opportunity of a lifetime."
With the 2009 seasons quickly approaching, Wolfe will have a chance to regroup as he continues to finalize his plans for next season. He competed for the final time last weekend in Maryland, picking up a solid eighth-place finish.
"I hope to stay busy," said Wolfe. "Hopefully we'll get everything worked out and everyone come back and do this again."
The 2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series seasons kicks off February 6-8 at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida with the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH.