Series notes 97-01-31

Along the World of Outlaws' Trail By Richard Day PHOENIX, AZ (January 31) - Tom Floyd, chief marketing officer of the Pennzoil Products Company, was a guest in the television booth during TNN: The...

Along the World of Outlaws' Trail By Richard Day PHOENIX, AZ (January 31) - Tom Floyd, chief marketing officer of the Pennzoil Products Company, was a guest in the television booth during TNN: The Nashville Network's telecast of Friday's races at the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series opener at Manzanita Speedway. It was the first live World of Outlaws racing he had ever seen. "There's a lot of excitement on the track," Floyd said. "The stands are full of people, and they're excited. It's quite a night. "We hope to be here (with the World of Outlaws) for a long time. We've signed a multi-year arrangement and this gives us an opportunity to showcase our products and bring something to the fans in a different venue than we ever have before. We're tremendously excited about it." Floyd gave the drivers the go-ahead to "start their engines" before the "A" Feature ... Brian Howard, who waved the flags during the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series 1997 opener at Manzanita Speedway, is the official starter for the Indianapolis 500 ... Defending Mopar Western World champion Steve Kinser was hoping to continue his winning ways at Manzanita. During the off- season, "The King of the Outlaws" won nine of 11 feature races in Australia ... Guy Forbrook, crew chief on the #22 Pennzoil Maxim, was pleasantly surprised with his new team's quick start. "We came out of the box last (Thursday) night with a new track record," Forbrook said. "This is probably one of the most groomed cars I've ever had. We've worked really hard at this. The Maxim car is working really good and the Gaerte engine is running really good, and we came out and snapped one off last night" ... Opening night at the "A.J. Foyt Mopar Cavalcade of Sprints" at Manzanita was tough on engines. A dozen power plants were replaced, including two in the #47 Casey's General Stores Maxim driven by defending King's Royal champion Johnny Herrera. Gil Sonner and Robert Hubbard changed another power plant in the #47 Friday, as did Andy Hillenburg's crew. "It wasn't the engine's fault," Hillenburg said. "We just broke a rocker arm both times. We changed the engine just to be safe. We could put another rocker arm on it, but it would probably just break in the feature." As he sat in the #47 waiting to be pushed off the for the "A" Feature, Herrera said, "I hope we have the problem solved. It's been a long two days. The guys have been working really hard getting these motors changed. All we can do now is try to get this Casey's General Stores car to the front" ... All the engine changing kept Art and Carol Malies, co-pilots for the World of Outlaws' official push vehicle, extremely busy ... Crewmen from several teams helped Scott Benic get the #3G Stealth ready for the "B" Feature after Joe Gaerte crashed in the Second Heat Race Friday. "We put a new rear end in it," Benic said. "and when we got into that guy (Dennis Moore, Jr.) on the front straightaway, we knocked the whole drive line out. We just replaced everything from the motor back" ... Jeff Swindell, driving a Ford-powered sprinter for the first time in 10 years, couldn't be happier with his new engine. "The Ford is definitely a lot smoother all the way up through the range," he said. "This Ford is the smoothest engine I've ever sat behind. "We ran really well last (Thursday) night. We were a little bit loose in qualifying tonight (Friday), but the engine is running beautifully. I'm really tickled to death they have Ford onboard the Gold Eagle J&J" ... Dave Blaney is going the other direction, driving a Chevrolet-powered sprinter for the first time in four years. "We felt pretty good (with the Chevy engine) Thursday night," Blaney said Friday. "It's not really that much of an adjustment." After dropping out midway through the 17th lap in the "A" Feature, "The Buckeye Bullet" said, "Something in the motor just broke. It quit running. We were good enough to get third - that's about all we were going to do - but it would have been nice to finish it" ... Fans of Dave Blaney, Joe Gaerte, Jac Haudenschild, Andy Hillenburg, Paul McMahan and Jeff Swindell might have had trouble recognizing their cars during Friday's TNN Motor Madness telecast. All were sporting new paint schemes ... The "A.J. Foyt Mopar Cavalcade of Sprints" was heartbreaking for 1996 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year Joey Saldana and the rest of the Mopar team. A first-corner flip in hot laps on opening night destroyed one #75 Stealth. Another was put out of commission during a second-lap crash in Friday's "A" Feature. "We've been struggling all night," Saldana said. "We had to start in the back and somebody (Scott Whitworth) just spun out and I just had no place to go. It's a shame. We came out here with two motors and two cars and we've torn them both up. I don't know what we're going to do. The engine runs really good; we've just been behind all night. We shouldn't be back there anyway; that car's fast enough to be up front. Hopefully, we'll come back" ... Faces in the crowd during the 1997 Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series opener included Indycar racers Eddie Cheever and Tony Stewart ... Lady racer Shawna Wilskey was the crew chief on the #5 sprinter driven by Keith Kauffman at Manzanita. Kauffman, who crashed into the retaining wall during the first lap of Friday's Third Heat Race, was examined at a nearby hospital and was given a clean bill of health. WoO

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Andy Hillenburg , Shawna Wilskey , Steve Kinser , Joey Saldana , Paul McMahan , Dave Blaney , A.J. Foyt , Jac Haudenschild , Johnny Herrera , Jeff Swindell