World of Outlaws Wrap-Up: WoO Fest at Lone Star Speedway Concord, NC--October 26, 2009 Getting better with age: Joey Saldana added another win to what has already become a career-high this season with his triumph in the inaugural WoO Fest at...
World of Outlaws Wrap-Up: WoO Fest at Lone Star Speedway
Concord, NC--October 26, 2009
Getting better with age: Joey Saldana added another win to what has already become a career-high this season with his triumph in the inaugural WoO Fest at Lone Star Speedway over the weekend. It marked the second time in 2009 that he has won at the high-banked half-mile and marked his 19th A-Feature triumph of the year and 20th overall victory. The native of Brownsburg, Indiana has 57 career World of Outlaws A-Feature wins which place him eighth on the all-time list. He has won a total of 44 times in World of Outlaws action including preliminary features since joining Kasey Kahne Racing prior to the 2006 season.
"As a driver, I think I just keep getting better every year," shared Saldana after his win. "Some guys it takes longer than others. I wish I would have been as good I am now when I owned my own car. It just takes a lot of time and patience and it takes owners like Kasey Kahne to stand behind people and giving them opportunities. I've been in and out of cars and all you can do is start over again. This is my fourth year with these guys and I think you are just starting to see the gelling."
Spreading the word: Prior to heading to Lone Star Speedway last week, Jason Meyers, who is currently second in the World of Outlaws championship standings as he chases his first series title, was the Guest Speaker at the October gathering of the Rotary Club of Visalia, which was held at the Marriott Hotel in Visalia, California. The native of nearby Clovis, California also brought one of his sprint cars to display. After presenting a 20-minute speech entitled "Racing with the Outlaws" Meyers met personally with attendees and signed autographs as well.
"It was neat to be a part of that," said Meyers. "I grew up around those communities and my racing career started in those communities around there. It was cool to go and be part of something like that for Don Sharp and Sharp Insurance who has been a long time supporter of the Elite Racing team. It was great to meet a lot of the local business owners as well. There were a lot of people there that have a lot of racing in their backyard and had not experienced it. Hopefully we made some race fans and we definitely enjoyed the day and the experience that we had."
A successful inaugural WoO Fest: Sam Hafertepe Sr. and his wife Lisa along with their staff at Lone Star Speedway put in countless hours gearing up for the inaugural WoO Fest. With a Halloween theme, the grounds were dotted with decorations and Halloween related items, with plenty of candy handed out to the kids in attendance. The event was the World of Outlaws second visit of the season to the half-mile, which the Hafertepe family is in their first season operating it, after purchasing the track late last year. Since the spring race, they had added new clay to the race track and also made numerous other improvements around the facility which received rave reviews from drivers and fans alike.
"We're happy that everyone turned out," said Sam Hafertepe Sr. "It was a good deal and a good night of racing."
Like father like son: Sam Hafertepe Jr. played a big role in the inaugural WoO Fest and even spent the afternoon on Saturday circling the half-mile in the water truck to help prepare the racing surface. He ended up finishing second for the second time this season with the World of Outlaws in the 30-lap A-Feature, as he continues to close in on his first career victory with the series. During his post-race interview on the front straightway, the 23-year old thanked all the fans for coming out on what was a picture perfect afternoon and evening, with not a cloud in the sky and explained some of the plans his family has for the track down the road.
"The fan base out here is awesome," said the younger Hafertepe. "I can't thank you fans enough for sticking it out. We've really worked hard and I appreciate all of you coming out to see us. We're going to keep races like this coming in and keep up the excitement in East Texas. It's been dead out here and we are going to have some late model races, some modified races and plan on having some big shows. If you all stick around and support us, we'll be here for a long time."
Experience counts: Jason Sides made his 12th career start at Lone Star Speedway over the weekend, the most of any full-time World of Outlaws driver and used all of those laps to his advantage as he came home fifth in the 30-lapper. For the native of Bartlett, Tennessee it was his 24th Top-Five finish of the season which continues to add to a career-best season that he is having. He has picked up 46 Top-10 this season which is a career-high as well. His previous career highs came during in 2003, the year he claimed the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award, as he picked up 25 Top-10 finishes and 10 Top-Fives during that campaign to finish sixth in points. He has won twice this season and is currently fifth in points with just the World Finals remaining on the calendar.
First time visitor: Fred Rahmer made the first racing trip of his career to the state of Texas for the inaugural WoO Fest. It was the second track he made his debut at this season with the World of Outlaws, as he also competed in the inaugural Ironman 55 at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Missouri back in August. The multi-time Lincoln Speedway and Williams Grove Speedway track champion was one of three National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductees in the field, joining 20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser along with Jac Haudenschild. Rahmer and Haudenschild were both inducted into the Hall of Fame this past May.
"It looked like everything was going to be rained out back home, so we decided to head on down the road."
Another first timer: Brad Sweet made his first visit to Lone Star Speedway as well over the weekend driving for Kasey Kahne Racing. He won the second heat race in convincing fashion to earn a spot in the Crane Cams Dash. He wound up finishing 11th in the 30-lap A-Feature as he continues to fill-in in the No. 19 machine as a teammate to Joey Saldana.
"This is a pretty nice place and it's very very fast," said Sweet during the dash draw. "I just try to treat it like other tracks that I have been to and go from there. I'm glad to be here racing tonight."
Making the trip south: Terry McCarl and his team made the nearly 12 hour tow south to Lone Star Speedway for the inaugural WoO Fest. It was the native of Altoona, Iowa's second start of the season at the half-mile, as he also competed when the World of Outlaws make their return to the East Texas track back in April. He wound up finishing seventh to earn his 21st Top-10 finish of the season with the World of Outlaws.
"It is a long way down here, but the Hafertepe family does a great job here," said McCarl during the dash draw on Saturday night. "Sam always supports my events (The Front Row Challenge at Southern Iowa Speedway) so I wanted to make sure to help them out as well. Plus we race for a living, so if I didn't race this weekend, I may have had to get a real job."
Up next: The third annual World of Outlaws World Finals at the Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, November 5-7, which features both the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series and the World of Outlaws Late Model Series.