2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Tony Bruce Jr. Concord, NC-- January 20, 2009--Last season at 23 years of age Tony Bruce Jr. did something that it takes some drivers an entire career to accomplish and that was to win a World of...
2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Tony Bruce Jr.
Concord, NC-- January 20, 2009--Last season at 23 years of age Tony Bruce Jr. did something that it takes some drivers an entire career to accomplish and that was to win a World of Outlaws A-Feature event. Now that he has the first win out of the way, he is focused entirely on returning to the winner's circle in 2009, as he continues to establish himself in the upper echelons of sprint car racing world.
Bruce and his team have spent the off-season working feverously in their shop in Liberal, Kansas as they gear up for another go around on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series trail, which stretches from February until early November, with 80-plus races on the calendar.
"The winter months bring anxiety along with everything else," said Bruce. "It's cold outside and you are working in the shop and you can't wait to get to Florida. I'm ready to get back racing."
This will be the fifth time in his career that Bruce has opened the season in the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida. With all of the World of Outlaws drivers in attendance, along with competitors from the All Star Circuit of Champions, and the always tough Pennsylvania Posse, the field will be one of the toughest he faces all year. Bruce picked up a Top-10 finish on the third night of the six nights of racing last season. The Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH will again feature six nights of sprint car racing, with the World of Outlaws taking to the blazing fast half-mile February 6-8, with $10,000 on the line each night to win.
"Our big goal for every Florida Speedweeks is to make every A-Main," Bruce said. "If you make every single A-Main in those six nights that you are there, you will probably run up front in at least one of them. Making the show is the main thing and then you go from there."
Experience is still the number one goal for Bruce each and every night be climbs into his race car, as he continues to compete against drivers who were winning races and championships before he was even born. Bruce finished a very solid 14th in the World of Outlaws championship standings last season, seven spots better than the 21st place showing in his rookie season of 2007.
"It definitely is important," he said of experience. "There is nothing I can ever do to make myself equal to Steve Kinser. As many laps as I can get helps with knowing things that are going on around the race track, and moves that are made. Laps definitely come into play."
Bruce picked up his first career World of Outlaws A-Feature win last season at 34 Raceway in Iowa, holding off 20-time series champion Steve Kinser for all 35 laps of the series inaugural visit to the high-banked 3/8-mile. While the pressure of picking up the first win is no longer on his shoulders, Bruce points out that the expectations instantly became higher each night he took to the track after that triumph.
"Once you win once, everyone expects you to win another one," Bruce stated. "I think the added pressure is already there anyway. We're out there to win races and that is our job, first and foremost. We put enough pressure on ourselves that I don't really have to pay attention to anyone else."
With another strong field of drivers taking to the road this season with the World of Outlaws, Bruce knows that he and his team will have to on their "A-Game" each and every night. The 2009 schedule will consist of 80-plus races from coast-to-coast, on a wide variety of tracks ranging from tight ¼-mile bullrings to a couple of sprawling 5/8-miles where the cars reach breathtaking speeds.
"It definitely will be just as tough this year," said the third-year driver. "The Outlaws are the best in the country and that's where it's at. Every night you have to race Steve (Kinser), Donny (Schatz), (Jason) Meyers and those guys. It's always going to be the best competition."
After shuffling around a number of crew members last season, Bruce will welcome one new crew member in 2009 to join Joe McCarthy, who was with him for a large part of the 2008 campaign. In fact, McCarthy was his only crew member at the time of his victory at 34 Raceway last season. Bruce will continue to be one of the most hands-on drivers in the pit area, doing a lot of the work on the race car himself and driving the truck and trailer when needed.
"Joe (McCarthy) is still with us and we have a new younger kid as well," he noted. "We'll just kind of go from there and see what happens."
Bruce picked up three Top-Five finishes last season on three vastly different tracks. In addition to his win on the high banks at 34 Raceway, he finished fourth at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa and was fifth at Billings Motorsports Park in Montana. He has one main goal for 2009 as he strives to return to Victory Lane against the best sprint car drivers in the world.
"Consistency is the main thing," shared the native of Liberal, Kansas. "Obviously I want to win races and that is our goal. The more consistent we get the more wins that we'll get."
The 2009 World of Outlaws season opens on February 6 at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida, with the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH. For more information on the event, including tickets, visit: www.dirtcarnationals.com.