Surging Down the Stretch: Jason Sides Looks to Keep Momentum Going at Nodak Speedway Minot, North Dakota-- August 16, 2008--The heat of the summer and the always demanding schedule often wears teams out on the road with the Advance Auto Parts...
Surging Down the Stretch: Jason Sides Looks to Keep Momentum Going at Nodak Speedway
Minot, North Dakota-- August 16, 2008--The heat of the summer and the always demanding schedule often wears teams out on the road with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series by the time that August comes around and their performance begins to slip as the season winds down, but that is not the case for Jason Sides and his team, as they continue to gain momentum and record solid finishes as the second half of the season rolls on.
Sides wrapped up the month of July on a very strong note, finishing sixth at Paducah International Raceway in Kentucky and followed that up with an impressive fourth-place performance in the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series inaugural event at 34 Raceway in Iowa. He also picked up Top-10 finishes at Wilmot Speedway and Charter Raceway Park in Wisconsin to begin the month of August. The 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year heads into final two races of the Gerdau Ameristeel Northern Tour at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan, North Dakota and Nodak Speedway in Minot, North Dakota this weekend in the midst of a string of five consecutive Top-10 finishes.
"Not a whole lot has changed recently," said Sides, who pilots the Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim. "We did swap cars after Williams Grove, and it seemed like we gained some momentum going into the (Knoxville) Nationals. Hopefully we'll have some more good luck and be able to keep it going for the rest of the year."
Sides will be making his second start at Nodak Speedway in Minot on Sunday, August 17 as the World of Outlaws will contest the final of four scheduled races in the state of North Dakota this season. In his career, Sides has 10 Top-10 finishes in North Dakota, with three of those being Top-Five performances. He finished ninth on Tuesday night at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo.
Last season in his debut at Nodak Speedway, Sides began the night by turning in the fourth quickest lap in time trials and followed that up with a third-place finish in the first heat race which was easily the toughest heat race of the night, as it was won by 20-time series champion Steve Kinser, with two-time defending series champion Donny Schatz finishing second. Also in that heat race was Joey Saldana, Kerry Madsen and Sam Hafertepe Jr. By virtue of his strong time trails effort, Sides earned a spot in the Crane Cams Dash, where he finished ninth to earn a fifth row starting spot for the 35-lap A-Feature event. He was running in the Top-10 in the A-Feature, when a mechanical failure ended his night on the 16th lap.
"We were pretty good that night," he recalled. "It was a little wet, but we were good. We blew the rear end up and didn't get to finish like we wanted, but from what I understand, it seemed like we were running pretty good."
Nodak Speedway will be the second consecutive high-banked 3/8-mile that the World of Outlaws compete on in the state of North Dakota, following the series inaugural visit to Dacotah Speedway in Mandan and is part of a stretch that will see the series race eight times in a 10-race period on tracks that size. Sides has picked up Top-10 finishes in each of the last three races on 3/8-mile venues, including a season-best fourth-place performance at 34 Raceway in Iowa on July 30.
"The 3/8's (miles) usually make for better racing, because the cars stay closer together than the half-miles," noted the native of Bartlett, Tennessee. "It is better racing all together, with lapped traffic thrown into the mix. It's a good little place up there and we hope to have a good run."
With the "Month of Money" and the Knoxville Nationals, where they had a Top-10 run on their qualifying night and a solid finish in the main event, behind them, Sides and his team are geared up for the stretch run of the season, and this is a time of the year that he really enjoys, especially the forthcoming trip to the always scenic Pacific Northwest.
"It really is a lot less stressful after Knoxville," he noted. "You go to the West Coast and it's always fun to go out there. I'm looking forward to the end of the year, but at the same time, when you get to the end of the year, after about two weeks at home, you are ready to go racing again. It's always better the second half of the year."
Sides began this weekend 13th in the World of Outlaws championship standings, on the strength of 10 Top-10 finishes this season. With a number of tracks coming up that he has traditionally run strong at, the veteran driver would like nothing more than to make a trip to Victory Lane. His more recent win with the series came last season on a 3/8-mile track at Ohsweken Speedway in Canada. The main focus for Sides and his team is to keep the momentum they have going right and continue to run at the front of the field.
"We would like to get a couple of wins before the end of the year," he said. "Some good Top-Five runs would make it a good and strong end of the year for us."
On Sunday, August 17 at Nodak Speedway, reserved seats in Sections P-Q-R-S-T of the grandstand will be $33 for adults and $15 for those ages 12-under, while reserved tickets in Sections K-L-M-N-O of the grandstand will be $30 for adults and $15 for those 12-under. General admission tickets in the north and south grandstands will be $30 for adults, $12 for those ages 6-12, with kids 5-under admitted free of charge with a paying adult. Pit Combos are also available for $38 if purchased in advance and include a reserved seat and pit pass.
Two-day tickets are also available for the race at Dacotah Speedway and Nodak Speedway for $64 if purchases in advance. For Tickets contact SLS Promotions at: 815-344-2023 or visit www.slspromotions.com.