WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES: THE WEEK AT A GLANCE WHAT The World of Outlaws Sprint Series returns March 18 to Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, Miss., for a $10,000-to-win race and March 19 to Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas, for the...
WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES: THE WEEK AT A GLANCE
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series returns March 18 to Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, Miss., for a $10,000-to-win race and March 19 to Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas, for the Texas Shootout, a $10,000-to-win event promoted by SLS Promotions.
* For Pike County Speedway, take I-55 to exit 8, then 0.2 miles east on Gillsburg Rd. (SR 568).
* For Houston Raceway Park, take I-10 east of Houston to exit 798, go 3 miles south on SR 146, 0.8 miles southeast on FM 1405, then 1 1/2 miles northeast on FM 565.
* At Pike County Speedway, general admission begins at noon, with pit gates opening at 2 p.m. and racing at 7 p.m.
* At Houston Raceway Park, pit gates open at 2 p.m., grandstands at 4 p.m. and hot laps beginning at 6:30 p.m.
* At Pike County, tickets are available ranging from $35 to $40. Call (601) 684-9230 for more information.
* At Houston Raceway Park, advance tickets are available by calling HRP at (281) 383-RACE, or event promoter SLS Promotions at (815) 344-2023. General Admission tickets and pit passes will be available at the gate on race day.
* The World of Outlaws Sprint Series is at http://www.theworldofoutlaws.com.
* Houston Raceway Park is at http://www.houstonraceway.com.
* SLS Promotions is at http://www.slspromotions.com.
ABOUT THE TRACKS
* Pike County Speedway is a high-banked, 3/8-mile clay oval. Jason Johnson established the track record in an Outlaws event when he circled the track in 13.391 seconds on March 21, 2003. Mark Kinser has won four times at Pike County, more than any other driver in an Outlaws event.
* Houston Raceway Park is a semi-banked, 4/10-mile oval. Mark Kinser's 13.083-second lap on April 8, 2000, is still the track record in an Outlaws event.
* At Pike County, feature winners include Jeff Shepard on March 21, 2003; Mark Kinser on March 25, 2002; Mark Kinser on April 9, 2001; Stevie Smith on April 5, 2000; Mark Kinser on March 19, 1999; Mark Kinser on Feb. 13, 1998; Steve Kinser on March 14, 1997; Jac Haudenschild on March 15, 1996; Danny Lasoski on April 2, 1995; and Dave Blaney on March 23, 1994.
* At Houston Raceway Park, feature winners include Steve Kinser on March 27, 2004; Steve Kinser on March 22, 2003; Mark Kinser on March 24, 2002; Mark Kinser on April 7, 2001; Steve Kinser on Oct. 14, 2001; Steve Kinser on April 8, 2000; and Steve Kinser on Oct. 21, 2000.
TELEVISION THIS WEEK: At 8 p.m. Eastern Wednesday (March 16), The Outdoor Channel will broadcast coverage of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series event from Feb. 26 in Bakersfield Speedway. The action from the J.D. Byrider World of Outlaws Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will air March 23 and March 30, with racing from Houston Raceway Park being broadcast on April 6.
NEWS & NOTES
* New point man: Craig Dollansky took over the points lead with his third-place finish in the feature at Las Vegas. It marked his fourth top-five finish in a main event this season and moved him 14 points ahead of 19-time series champion Steve Kinser. "It's just good to have a strong start to the year," Dollansky said. "If you can get started off strong it definitely helps you down the stretch. We just need to keep working hard."
* What happens in Vegas -- Well, if you're Donny Schatz, you hope what happens in Vegas also happens in Magnolia, Miss., and Baytown, Texas. After qualifying for the dash in the preliminary feature of the J.D. Byrider World of Outlaws Nationals last Thursday, Schatz took the checkered flag in the main event Friday night to regain some of the momentum he had after winning the 2004 season finale in Las Vegas and the 2005 season opener in Australia.
* A Texas welcome: The event Saturday at Houston Raceway Park is being promoted by SLS Promotions. This marks the second of 12 events the group is putting together this season, although the first one at Manzanita Speedway was postponed by rain until Oct.11. One of the group's owners, Scott Boyd, also is involved in the ownership of Craig Dollansky's car, but that doesn't mean Dollansky is putting any more emphasis on winning at Texas than any other event. "For me, SLS promotes several races throughout the year, but it doesn't matter if I'm going to a SLS event or I'm going to a Fred Brownfield event, I'm going there to win."
* Remembering a milestone: When the series rolls into Houston Saturday, it will mark Steve Kinser's first trip back to site of his 500th career feature victory last March. For Kinser, who won his 514th career feature in February at Volusia, moving past the milestone and all the attention it garnered was more of a relief than anything. "It was a big win," he said. "We just wanted to get it off our shoulders and get it out beneath us. We got it pretty quick early in the season. We always enjoy running at Baytown because it's a nice racetrack, a nice facility. It's always a lot of fun to race there. I can just remember it being the 500th win more than anything else. We were glad to win it. It was built up a little bit bigger than what it was to me, but it was a nice win."
* Making music: Chris Luck, co-owner of the No. 7tw GLR/Premier Transportation machine, brought a little music to the pits Friday night at Las Vegas when he had Noah Bernardo, the founder of Rescue Records, at the event. Bernardo launched the San Diego-based band P.O.D. and the group saw its first World of Outlaws race in 2004. "They had never been to a sprint car race and came last year and just loved it," Luck said. "We're looking at some co-branding ideas with them of record launches and some distribution across the country. They're very interested. They loved what they saw. They loved the extreme nature of the sport and really enjoyed themselves. We've got a lot of things we're working on for Brandon and our race team and we're really excited about the 2005 season."
* The Mean 15: The impressive 2005 edition of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series' Mean 15 racers includes Craig Dollansky (No. 7 owned by Karavan Motorsports), Tim Kaeding (No. 83 owned by Dennis Roth), Kraig Kinser (No. 11k owned by Steve Kinser Racing), Mark Kinser (No. 35 owned by Rick Wright), Steve Kinser (No. 11 owned by Steve Kinser Racing), Danny Lasoski (No. 20 owned by Tony Stewart Motorsports), Paul McMahan (No. 11h owned by David Helm), Jason Meyers (No. 14 owned by the Elite Racing Team), Brian Paulus (No. 28 owned by Pender Motorsports), Daryn Pittman (No. 21 owned by Titan Racing), Joey Saldana (No. 2 owned by Woodward Racing), Donny Schatz (No. 15 owned by Schatz Motorsports), Tim Shaffer (No. 6 owned by Parsons Motorsports), Jason Sides (No. 7s owned by Sides Motorsports), and Brandon Wimmer (No. 7tw owned by Wimmer-Luck Racing).
* On tour, too: Several other drivers have committed to running the bulk of the schedule with the World of Outlaws Sprint Series in 2005 with hopes of earning a spot in a future Mean 15. Australian Brooke Tatnell is back in the series with the newly formed Rush Racing team; Terry McCarl, who has won the past six 410 sprint championships at Knoxville Raceway; Shane Stewart, the current leader in the battle for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year title; Randy Hannagan, a long-time Outlaws competitor is running with the series again; Sammy Swindell, a sprint car legend and three-time Outlaws champion; and Kevin Swindell, a recently turned 16-year-old who became the youngest driver to finish in the top 10 with the Outlaws when finished sixth in the feature at Parramatta City Raceway in January.
* Early season winners: Donny Schatz became the first repeat feature winner this season when he took the checked flag in the J.D. Byrider World of Outlaws Nationals at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He also captured the season opening Outlaws Down Under II event in Australia. Other winners this season include Jeff Shepard and Steve Kinser at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla.; Tim Shaffer at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif.; and Craig Dollansky at Bakersfield Speedway in Oildale, Calif. Dollansky also won the Cactus Classic preliminary A-main at Manzanita Speedway before the feature was postponed by rain to Oct. 11, 2005.
* Race review I: The Outlaws return to Pike County for the first time since 2003, when Jeff Shepard took the checkered flag. It was Shepard's first victory with the Outlaws since 2001, when he won the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award. He led the first five laps from the pole and regained first place when Joey Saldana's engine lost power with 11 laps remaining.
* Race review II: Steve Kinser captured the 500th feature victory in his career when the Outlaws raced at Houston Raceway Park in 2004. Kinser slipped past pole-sitter Brooke Tatnell late in the 10th lap and held off a furious last-lap charge by Donny Schatz to claim the milestone victory by half a car-length.
* Tune into the Web: If fans can't get to Pike County Speedway or Houston Raceway Park to see the racing Friday and Saturday, they can experience the excitement of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series live on Dirtvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network, where announcer John Gibson keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the event. To listen to the audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo. Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. Companies who are interested in advertising on the new DIRT Radio Network should contact Mark Noble, DIRT MotorSports VP Sales and Marketing, at 719-884-2141. For technical support or questions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Hear it firsthand: RACEceiver is the Official Driver Communicator of DIRT MotorSports. A compact radio receiver that conveniently fits into a driver's pocket, a RACEceiver allows each driver to hear directions from series officials, which greatly enhances the safety and timeliness of events. A similar version available to fans will allow RACEceiver users to hear what information series officials are relaying to the drivers. For more information about RACEceiver, visit www.raceceiver.com, call 866-301-7223, or look for their sales trailers at various events.
Donny Schatz, driver of the No. 15 Parker Stores car and winner of last week's J.D. Byrider World of Outlaws Nationals at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
* On building from the momentum gained at Las Vegas: "We need to just keep winning races. We're not focusing on seconds and thirds. We need to win races, it's the plain flat bottom line. You win a lot of races, things are going to go your way and the points will take care of themselves. We don't need to be falling out. We were really good the first night down in Florida, had a good start but just didn't finish that way. Hopefully we've got all the bad stuff behind us. I think we'll be all right. These guys work awfully hard and I've been a tough guy to deal with lately with the way we've been running so maybe this will ease my blood pressure a little bit. -- It's a chemistry. It's not just one person, it's a lot of people. These guys work awful hard, but the only thing I can do is get in the car and go so I got to just keep fighting that way."
* On Pike County Speedway: "It's been a decent place to go. I missed out on it the last time we went because I was doing some Silver Crown racing in Phoenix. I haven't been there in a while. When you get down near New Orleans it's kind of nice if you get a little time to go there. I'm sure the boys will get a chance to go down there."
* On Houston Raceway Park: "Houston's a nice facility. It's a nice racing surface."
Steve Kinser, a 19-time series champion and owner of Steve Kinser Racing
* On son Kraig's performance this season: "He's been running good all year. He's only had one bad race and other than that he's run good the whole time. He's into his second season and it looks like he's come out running good. I think he's going to be OK."
* On winning No. 500 last year at Houston Raceway Park: "It was a big win. We just wanted to get it off our shoulders and get it out beneath us. We got it pretty quick early in the season. We always enjoy running at Baytown because it's a nice racetrack, a nice facility. It's always a lot of fun to race there. -- I can just remember it being the 500th win more than anything else. We were glad to win it. It was built up a little bit bigger than what it was to me, but it was a nice win."
Danny Lasoski, driver of the Tony Stewart Motorsports No. 20 Bass Pro Shops machine
* On recovering from early season qualifying struggles: "We'll keep plugging away and get closer and closer, we just need to get consistent. When we get consistently in the top five we're going to win our share. The sign of a good team is that you don't let one bad night ruin your season. You just look ahead to the next night because we have 100 nights."
* On racing at Pike County Speedway: "It's amazing. If you show up at noon there's people in line ready to go in the grandstand. They totally support World of Outlaws racing. It's exciting for us to come down there. They cook crawfish and all that stuff we're not used to having so it's a good time to go down there."
* On Houston Raceway Park: "It's probably one of the nicest facilities we go to all year. It's a great place to go racing and we hope the grandstands are full."
Mark Kinser, in his first season driving for car owner Rick Wright
* On his season so far: "Well, we're shaking down a couple of new cars. I've never worked with this team and they've never worked with me but I think we're pretty well on track. We've had a couple of top-fives and a couple of top-10s so we're not doing too bad."
* On racing at Pike County Speedway, where he has won four times with the Outlaws: "We've run very good at Pike County and had a couple of good runs at Houston, so when you're going to places where your batting average is up, it always makes it go a little bit smoother."
Brandon Wimmer, rookie driver of the No. 7tw Wimmer-Luck car
* On running for the rookie title: "It's difficult. It's not just running against Tim [Kaeding] and Shane [Stewart], it's running everybody every night. We've struggled here at the beginning of the year but we'll get going pretty soon. It's difficult every night. You got to go out and do your best every night and hopefully we end up on top at the end of the year."
Terry McCarl, driver of the No. 24 Big Game Tree Stands car
* On racing at Pike County Speedway: "I've always run real well there. I like that place. It's a real racy little track. Usually you can race all over the place because it doesn't lay rubber. The last time we were there, they sold the grandstands out and I saw a man and a woman -- the guy had a sport coat on and the woman had a dress on -- who bought pit passes standing in the infield behind a little snow fence. I couldn't believe it. That's what's fun about traveling with the World of Outlaws, when you go to tracks like that. Last year we went to a place in Louisiana and I sat up in the stands and watched the first set of hot laps, and these fans are used to seeing stock cars cruise around their track, and first of all we scared the hell out of them and then as soon as the checkered flag flew I turned around they were all smiles from ear to ear, they freaked out, there were people high-fiving. If you haven't seen a sprint car on a short track, they're crazy. A sprint car on a little dirt track like that at 100 mph and these guys are used to seeing street stocks, holy crap. It was the neatest thing. I turned around and the whole crowd, honest to God, was high-fiving. That was really awesome. That's what's fun about going to tracks like that which don't get to see us but maybe once a year."
Brian Paulus, driver of the No. 28 Arnold Transportation machine
* On racing at Pike County Speedway: "The fans in Mississippi are very fanatical. They're very die-hard. When they show up to the race, they show up 100 percent to support the guy that they've been cheering for the past five to 30 years."
Daryn Pittman, driver of the No. 21 Titan Racing car
* On racing at Pike County Speedway: "The fans down there are incredible. The racetrack is really good. I think I've run second there twice and I think I've destroyed two cars there so I've either been one side or the other. It's definitely a fast three-eighths."
* On competing at Houston Raceway Park: "Houston is one of the most underrated racetracks we go to. It is the nicest facility, nicest everything and the racetrack is excellent. Out of all the newer racetracks we go to, I think everybody would agree that's by far the nicest one we go to. Hopefully we get some good weather."
Joey Saldana, driver of the No. 2 Volcano Joe's Coffee car
* On the Pike County Speedway fans: "They're pretty intense. The grandstands will be packed and we're still in there working on our racecars. It's pretty intense. When you go to a place like that with that many fans, that's obviously where we got to be."
* On Houston Raceway Park: Of all the newer tracks they've built like Charlotte, Fort Worth and even Vegas, Houston's probably one of the best. Hopefully they get a good turnout and we get to go back because that's definitely one of the nicer we facilities we race at."
* On his season to this point: "At Bakersfield we had a good shot at winning and Craig [Dollansky] just beat me in lapped traffic. That's probably been the highlight of our year so far. We know we can race with these guys, we just can't seem to qualify. If you don't qualify with the Outlaws, you're in deep trouble."
Tim Kaeding, rookie driver of the Dennis Roth-owned No. 83 Beef Packers car
* On racing at Pike County Speedway and Houston Raceway Park for the first time: "You try to find five or six guys who qualify good on a regular basis, like Steve [Kinser], Danny [Lasoski], Craig Dollansky. You try to find five or six guys in hot laps that run a good line around the racetrack who are fast and just try to mimic their lines for qualifying to try to get as close as you can to running where they're running. It's just a learning curve. This year Dennis knows it's a learning curve for us and we're just coming out here to try to get more seat time. Hopefully, if everything goes good through the season we can come back next year and go for the points championship."
Jason Meyers, driver of the No. 14 Elite Racing car
* On Houston Raceway Park: "Houston is honestly the best-designed facility we go to and it's a great-shaped racetrack. Last year was probably the best I've ever seen that racetrack. With SLS taking over the promotions they did a great job having it slick up to a cushion. They always had a problem where the whole thing would slick off and then it would take rubber and it was very boring race. Last year they had it slick to a nice curb about two-thirds of the way up the track and it was a great race. Hopefully they can do that again."
Tim Shaffer, driver of the No. 6 Casey's General Store car
* On the fans at Pike County Speedway and Houston Raceway Park: "We don't run down there very often and when we do we get a hell of a good crowd there."
After racing in Texas, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series takes a weekend off before the series hits Batesville Speedway on April 1, I-55 Speedway on April 2, and Eldora Speedway for a two-night show April 8-9.
WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES SPONSORS
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series is brought to the fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, and The Outdoor Channel. Promotional Partners include AMB i.t., RACEceiver, HUMMERSGONEWILD.COM, Zippo Lighters, The University of Northwestern Ohio, and Timberwolf. Slick 50 is an Associate
Program Sponsor and Contingency sponsors include DART Machinery, MSD Ignitions, and Wrisco Industries.