2009 World of Outlaws Season Review: Jason Sides Concord, NC--December 7, 2009-- Jason Sides has always been one of the hardest working and most hands on drivers in the pit area. That perseverance and dedication paid off this past season for the...
2009 World of Outlaws Season Review: Jason Sides
Concord, NC--December 7, 2009-- Jason Sides has always been one of the hardest working and most hands on drivers in the pit area. That perseverance and dedication paid off this past season for the native of Bartlett, Tenn. as he put together a career year on the World of Outlaws trail, winning twice and finishing fifth in points on the strength of a career-best 47 Top-10 finishes with 24 of those being Top-Fives. He set career highs in laps led, fast time honors and wins in the Crane Cams Dash to earn pole positions.
The season kicked off for the veteran driver with two consecutive runner-up finishes in the Florida DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park and following the second night of the season, Sides was tied for the series point lead, marking it the first time in his career he sat atop the standings.
"It was a really good season for us," said Sides. "I would have liked to have gotten a few more wins and we had the opportunity to get a few more wins, but two is good. That is two more than we had last year. Our goal is to always better our year from the one before and we did that this year. It was a very good year for us."
The 2009 season marked the sixth full season for Sides on the road with the World of Outlaws and he used that experience at many of the tracks he has been visiting now for a number of years and also got up to speed quick at the tracks he has only seen a time or two. He reached Victory Lane for the first time in 2009 at Ohsweken Speedway in Canada in July, marking his second victory at the 3/8-mile. After nearly picking up a couple of more wins, he returned to top of the podium at the famed Eldora Speedway in late September during the Four Crown weekend. It was his second career win at the half-mile, where he was victorious in the 2004 Kings Royal to earn his first career World of Outlaws A-Feature triumph.
"I think being around the race tracks more has been a big part," shared the 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year of his success in 2009. "The longer you are out here, the more you understand it and learn it. You are always learning something out here. Being out here for a long time has definitely helped."
For a number of years, Sides did most of the work on the his race car himself as well as driving the truck and trailer up and down the road, with usually just one crew member to help, but that changed this past year as he had two full-time crew members, with Doug Rankin back on board again along with Shane Finch who has been with Sides for a number of years in the past. A couple of times throughout the season Sides also had longtime sprint car racer and fellow Tennessean Terry Gray help turn the wrenches as well.
"It takes a load of myself to let those guys work on the car," noted Sides. "I still handle the motors for the most part, but they can handle everything and I don't have to worry about it. I can focus on driving even more then."
Sides was fast right out of the box on most nights in 2009, setting quick time on 10 occasions in time trials, second only to series champion Donny Schatz. Sides also raced his way into the Crane Cams Dash 42 times to earn Top-10 starting spots in feature events. He won five dashes this past season to earn pole positions in feature events.
"You have to be confident with your car and your equipment and everything," stated Sides of what it takes to be fast. "I tested some stuff last year and this year that has helped us, knowing where we need to start each night. Making the dash and knowing that you'll be starting in the first five rows is a big plus as well. Anytime you can do that, you know that you have a good start spot and that always helps the confidence."
Having been around the series for a number of years, Sides marvels at how tight the competition has become and notes that it takes an all around strong night to be in contention for victories, especially with all the locals stepping up their game at the tracks that the series visits from coast-to-coast.
"It really does get tougher each year and it seems like everyone is getting more equal that anyone can win on any given night," he admitted. "It makes it tough for sure."
With the 2010 season quickly approaching, Sides is back home in Tennessee gearing up for that. He also took some time to relax and spend with his family before getting back to work in the shop.
"I'm going to go home and be home for a while before we start working again, so I'll get some time to regroup and relax," he said.
The 2010 World of Outlaws season kicks off on February 5-7 with the 39th annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park, where Sides picked up two runner-up finishes and led a number of laps this past season.
By the Numbers Jason Sides 2009:
2-A-Feature wins for Sides this past season
3- KSE Hard Charger Awards for passing the most cars in the feature in 2009
4- Career A-Feature wins for Sides with the World of Outlaws
5- Wins in the Crane Cams Dash to earn pole positions for Sides this past season
7- SuperClean start awards for the best start in a racing event during a race night for Sides in 2009
10- Times that Sides was fastest in time trials this past season
10.872- Track record set by Sides at Skagit Speedway on September 4
24- Top-Five finishes this past season for Sides, which was a career high
47- Top-10 finishes in 2009 for Sides, another career high 149- Laps led for Sides this past season
8543- Points earned by Sides to finish fifth in the standings
181,780- Dollars earned by Sides in 2009