World Traveler: Sides Looks to Defend Win at Ohsweken Ohsweken, ON-- July 22, 2008--When Jason Sides first saw Ohsweken Speedway last season, it reminded him a lot of the movie "Field of Dream," as the race track sit directly behind ...
World Traveler: Sides Looks to Defend Win at Ohsweken
Ohsweken, ON-- July 22, 2008--When Jason Sides first saw Ohsweken Speedway last season, it reminded him a lot of the movie "Field of Dream," as the race track sit directly behind track owner/promoter Glenn Styres house. The track is the product of many years of hard work and Styres love for racing, especially sprint car racing. For many years, a dream of his was to have the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series visit the high-banked 3/8-mile in his backyard, which happened for the first time last season, with Sides winning the series debut at Ohsweken.
This season Sides and the rest of the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series will have two chances to compete at Ohsweken, as the series takes to the track on Tuesday, July 22 and Wednesday, July 23 for two full nights of racing. The cameras from SPEED will also be on-hand to capture all of the action.
"Turns one and two are right off the back of his (Styres) house," noted Sides. "He could stand on his porch and watch the race. It's pretty neat to see that. Everyone pitches in up there to help out at the track and that makes it really good for us."
Prior to the World of Outlaws event at the track last season, countless improvements were made to Ohsweken Speedway to accommodate the series, including adding thousands of addition seats which sold out just as quickly as they were installed. Even more improvements have been made this season, as Styres continues to transform the facility into one of the premier dirt tracks in Canada, which has Sides and his fellow World of Outlaws drivers excited to return to the always racy track.
"It's a good track," said the 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award winner. "The promoter does a great job up there, taking care of all of the teams. The fans all come out early and are excited to see us. That makes it good for everybody, and I am definitely looking forward to going back there."
When Sides won last season at Ohsweken, it was the World of Outlaws first trip to Canada since 1981. He joined three-time series champion Sammy Swindell, a fellow Tennessee native as the only series winners north of the border. Since then, 20-time series champion Steve Kinser, along with two-time defending series title winner Donny Schatz have added win in Canada, as they both won at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton last August.
"It's a good accomplishment to have my name on that list," said Sides, who drives the Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim. "It would be good to go back there and repeat, and if we can't do that, it would be good to run in the Top-Three. We'll see how the qualifying goes and go on from there."
Sides, who is one of several World of Outlaws drivers that makes an annual trip to Australia in the off-season to race, enjoys competing in front of international fans who are very passionate about sprint car racing and only get to see the best drivers in the world a couple of times each year. Last season at Ohsweken, the fans began lining up to get tickets in the early afternoon and were still filing through the gates as the heat races were taking place. By the time the A-Feature rolled around, the largest crowd in the history of the track was assembled.
"It is great to race at places where the fans get so excited," Sides noted. "They had such a big response last season that they are having us there for two nights this year. That's good to see. It's a long trip there, so it will be good to have two nights of racing on a very good track. Good racing and a good crowd makes the travel worth it."
The events at Ohsweken will be the seventh and eighth for the World of Outlaws this season on a 3/8-mile track, and the first since July 3 at Huset's Speedway. Sides had a strong run at Tri-City Speedway in Illinois earlier this season which is also a 3/8-mile facility. In addition to having a good baseline from last season's visit to Ohsweken, Sides has a couple of other tracks that he can compare it to.
"It reminds me of Sharon (Speedway) in Ohio, with the shape of the race track and the width of it," he explained. "It was a very nice surface there last year. We won there, so that helps, but I really liked the track anyway and it was racy."
The events at Ohsweken come amidst a very busy month of July for the World of Outlaws, as the series will compete a total of 15 times in a 27-day period at 12 tracks in nine states and one Canadian province and travel countless thousands of miles. For Sides, who does a majority of the work on his car and also drives the truck and trailer, this is a very demanding stretch of races, especially during the heat of the summer, but he takes it all in stride.
"I guess it is a lot of determination and we just enjoy racing," he deadpanned when asked about what it takes to stay motivated in the heat of the summer.
Last season at Ohsweken, Sides turned in the ninth fastest lap in time trials which put him on the front row of the first heat, where he finished second to earn a spot in the Crane Cams Dash. He finished fourth in the dash to earn a second row starting spot in the 13-lap main event, where he used a very strong start to get around Donny Schatz and Joey Saldana on the opening lap. He then shadowed Sam Hafertepe Jr. for a number of laps, before taking the lead from him on the 14th circuit. He then held off a hard charge Schatz along with Jac Haudenschild late in the event to earn the $10,000 to prize.
"You need to have a good qualifying effort and make it into the dash to start up front," he noted when asked about what it will take to win again at Ohsweken. "Last year we started on the second row and got to the lead about halfway through. You need to turn good consistent laps at a track like that."