Series drivers reflect on Manzanita Speedway

World of Outlaws Veteran Drivers Reflect on Manzanita Speedway It will be a bittersweet weekend at Manzanita Speedway as the World of Outlaws make their final trip to the half-mile located on the corner of 35th & Broadway in Phoenix on Saturday,...

World of Outlaws Veteran Drivers Reflect on Manzanita Speedway

It will be a bittersweet weekend at Manzanita Speedway as the World of Outlaws make their final trip to the half-mile located on the corner of 35th & Broadway in Phoenix on Saturday, March 28 for a full night of racing with $10,000 on the line to the winner. Six drivers that will be in action this weekend have won at the track with the series and each looks to add their name to the records books as the final series winner at the legendary track.

Jac Haudenschild, who will be inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame this year, has shown his versatility over the years at Manzanita Speedway. He has four career wins, in three different types of race cars. He won his first race at the track in a non-wing sprint car in 1991 and followed that up the same year with a win in a midget. He won with the World of Outlaws in 1992 during the Slick 50 Winter Series, and was also victorious with the series at the half-mile in 1998.

"I always liked running Manzanita," said Haudenschild, who pilots the Owens-Corning Fiberglass Maxim. "I like the big fast half-miles. Manzanita always has been a nice track to race at and we are going to miss it."

Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion, has an amazing record at Manzanita Speedway over the last 30 years. He has won a total of 21 times, including seven victories in the famed Western World and has finished in the Top-10 over 50 times dating back to 1979, when he earned his first win at the half-mile. He has finished in the Top-10 in nine of his last 11 starts at the track aboard the Quaker State Maxim.

"I've always enjoyed running there," said Kinser. "I've been racing there since the late 70's. It's always been a good race track for us and I've had a lot of success there. I've always enjoyed going to that area and racing, but I guess nothing lasts forever. That's just sort of the way it is."

Donny Schatz looks for his fourth career win at Manzanita Speedway this weekend in the historic event that will cap off the World of Outlaws tenure at the track. The three-time and defending series champion made his debut at the track in 1996, at the tender age of 18. Just three years later, he won both nights of the Western World at the track. He was victorious most recently at Manzanita in 2007. He has won three of the four events contested on half-mile tracks this season and is the current series point leader in the Armor All J&J.

"I was lucky enough to win there 10 years ago in the Western World," said Schatz. "That was one of my first big wins and 10 years is a long time ago. I've won there a few times since and I would like to go there and get a win this time. It would be like winning the last race in 1999 before the Millennium, which will always have a soft spot in my heart."

Sammy Swindell, the three-time World of Outlaws champion, has won 18 times at Manzanita Speedway over the years and also has over 50 Top-10 finishes. He too has won at the track in winged and non-wing sprint cars, and also has a couple of wins at Manzanita in a midget on the inner 1/3-mile.

"It's one of the first places I went to, back in the (19)70's," noted Swindell, who drives the Tom Rolfe Trucking Maxim. "We went out the first full year that I really ran sprint cars. We went out for the Western World and had a great time. It's been a great place to visit. It's been a great challenge of a race track and has a lot of history, so I hate to see it go.

Danny Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws champion, had three career wins at Manzanita, including the 1991 Western World, which was held that year on the inner 1/3-mile track of the famed half-mile. He was victorious with the World of Outlaws in 2006 and 2007 at the track. He looks for his first win of 2009 aboard the Casey's General Stores Maxim this weekend.

"I always love going to the Phoenix area," shared Lasoski. "All the fans there are fantastic. The history of Manzanita Speedway is very neat. I was lucky enough to win the Western World once and a few Outlaws races there. It's a real special race track for me and we really hate to see it go."

Craig Dollansky won a preliminary feature with the World of Outlaws at Manzanita in 2005, which began a string of seven consecutive Top-10 finishes which he looks to extend this weekend at the half-mile. The native of Minnesota is in his first season driving for NASCAR star Kasey Kahne and has four Top-10 finishes, including a fourth-place performance last weekend in the finale at Thunderbowl Raceway in California aboard the Direct TV Maxim.

"Manzanita has always been a pretty racy track over the years when we have been there," said Dollansky. "It sounds like this is going to be the last one, so it will be different not having that place there. We are looking forward to going back one more time this weekend."

Jason Meyers is the only current full-time driver that hails from the West Coast and Manzanita Speedway has always been a special track for him. He scored his first win at the half-mile last season, passing three-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz just past the halfway point of the 30-lap contest in the GLR Investment KPC.

"Being from the West Coast, Manzanita was certainly the greatest half-mile that we got to go to," said Meyers. "It's been a great race track for a lot of years. There is a lot of history there. We won that race last year and would certainly like to go back and win it again."

Joey Saldana has finished on the podium a couple of times at Manzanita Speedway, but has yet to claim that elusive win at the half-mile. He will seek to accomplish that feat in the final World of Outlaws event at the track this weekend. He has won three times this season including on a half-mile at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida last month aboard the Budweiser Maxim for Kasey Kahne Racing. In his career he has 11 Top-10 finishes at Manzanita, including five in a row.

"My dad had some success there in the Western World when it used to be a pretty big race," said Saldana. "For myself, I have never won a race there and it would be neat to go out and win the last race there. My dad has had success there and hopefully we can finish it off with a win to say that I have been able to win a race at Manzanita like my dad has."

On Saturday, March 28 at Manzanita Speedway, General Admission tickets for adults will be $30, with general admission tickets for children ages 7-11 just $15 and kids 6-under will be admitted free into the general admission section. Reserved tickets for the race are $32 and $35. For ticket information call the track at: 602-276-7575 or visit www.manzanitaspeedway.us.

-credit: WoO

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Danny Lasoski , Kasey Kahne , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Craig Dollansky , Jason Meyers , Joey Saldana , Jac Haudenschild