WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES: THE WEEK AT A GLANCE WHAT A very rare week off. That's right, after racing in Australia, Florida, California, Arizona, Nevada, Mississippi and Texas to start the season, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series will...
WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES: THE WEEK AT A GLANCE
A very rare week off. That's right, after racing in Australia, Florida, California, Arizona, Nevada, Mississippi and Texas to start the season, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series will take a much deserved week off to allow its teams to regroup and restock for the grueling schedule ahead.
WHEN & WHERE
* April 1 at Batesville Speedway in Locust Grove, Ark.
* April 2 at I-55 Speedway in Pevely, Mo.
* April 8-9 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
* April 16 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.
* April 22 at Outlaw Motor Speedway in Oktaha, Okla.
* April 23 at 81 Speedway in Park City, Kan., for the Wichita Twister Showdown promoted by SLS Promotions.
* April 29-30 at Knoxville Raceway.
NEWS & NOTES
* On the point: Craig Dollansky went into last weekend's races at Pike County Speedway and Houston Raceway Park with a 14-point lead over Steve Kinser. After Kinser's victory at Pike County and runner-up finish at Houston, he cut Dollansky's advantage to 2 points (1,231-1,229) when the series resumes racing April 1 at Batesville Speedway. Dollansky finished two positions behind Kinser at Pike County and one spot behind him at Houston, plus Dollansky's advantage took an additional hit when Kinser was credited with four bonus points for leading the most laps at Pike County.
* Back in the saddle: Donny Schatz couldn't have had more momentum to start the season. He was coming off a season-ending victory at Las Vegas and started 2005 by winning the Outlaws Down Under II event in Australia. Now, after some struggles in Florida and California, Schatz is surging through the standings. He won his series-leading third feature of the season Saturday night at Houston Raceway Park, holding off Steve Kinser by 0.27 seconds in a final-turn thriller only a week after winning at Las Vegas for the second consecutive time. It marked Schatz's first victory at Houston after two near-misses, and the 30th win in his Outlaws career. Together with a fifth-place run at Pike County, Schatz finds himself third in points and carrying the most momentum going into the weekend off.
* Rookie battles: Shane Stewart continues to lead the way among Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award candidates, finishing seventh at Pike County and fourth at Houston. His consistency has enabled him to move to seventh in points. Tim Kaeding raced to a ninth-place finish at Pike County and 16th at Houston, and he is now 15th in the standings. Brandon Wimmer had a rough go of it at Pike County, getting caught in other racers' troubles, but made up for it in Houston when he won the pole for the first time in his World of Outlaws career and led the first 12-laps of the feature, where he eventually finished 10th to move to 19th in points.
* Aussie power: Brooke Tatnell continues to be impressive since returning to the World of Outlaws Sprint Series with Rush Racing. Tatnell, an Australia native who fought through red tape to re-enter the United States, finished fifth in the preliminary earlier this month at Manzanita Speedway only a few hours after arriving at the track following a 14-hour flight from Australia to Phoenix by way of Los Angeles. Now settled a bit more, Tatnell turned in his best run of the season with the Outlaws Friday night at Pike County. He and Steve Kinser exchanged the lead as laps counted down. Kinser was able to slide back in front with three to go and hold off Tatnell by 0.8 seconds. Still, for a virtually new team that has used two different drivers while waiting for Tatnell to be cleared to enter the United States, its success no doubt will only increase with Tatnell, who made use of his waiting period by winning the Australian Sprintcar Championship.
* Elite performances: Jason Meyers continued his strong start to the season with a sixth-place run at Pike County. Meyers, of Clovis, Calif., has his Elite Racing Team machine sitting fourth in the standings with seven top-10 finishes.
* Rising son: Kraig Kinser, last season's top rookie from Bloomington, Ind., has stepped into the spotlight this season. He's fifth in points and nearly pulled off a sweep of the two-night Las Vegas event earlier this month. Kraig, the son of 19-time champion Steve, survived a dust storm in Turns 3 and 4 at Las Vegas to win the preliminary and fought hard to the finish in the main event, eventually wrapping up second-place. "He's into his second season and it looks like he's come out running good this year," Steve Kinser said. "I think he's going to be OK."
* 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 is the series' first three-time winner this year after winning the Texas Shootout Saturday night at Houston Raceway Park. He also took the checked flag in the J.D. Byrider World of Outlaws Nationals at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and in 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.; Craig Dollansky at Bakersfield Speedway in Oildale, Calif., and Steve Kinser at Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, Miss. Dollansky also won the Cactus Classic preliminary A-main at Manzanita Speedway before the feature was postponed by rain to Oct. 11, 2005.
* 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.
Craig Dollansky, World of Outlaws Sprint Series points leader and driver of the No. 7 Karavan Motorsports machine
* On the week off: "We've been traveling quite a bit. We were gone to Australia for a month and there's some things that we need to get caught up on just back home to get prepared for the long season ahead of us, getting the motor home ready and the apparel trailer and different things like that. We just have to get prepared to run the entire season."
Donny Schatz, driver of the No. 15 Parker Stores car and winner of a series high three features in 2005
* On having a week without racing: "It's not really a week off. It just allows us to get home and finish up the stuff we missed out on in the winter. If we're going to change anything after running for a month we know what's going to work and what isn't. It gives us a chance to catch up and get a little more organized and get ready for when we leave this time because we'll be gone for a while. More or less, we'll finish everything we didn't do in the winter and make sure we've got enough stuff to go quite a while."
Jason Meyers, driver of the No. 14 Elite Racing machine who is fourth in points
* On having a week off: "It's Easter weekend so it's kind of nice that they've given us that weekend off so we can go home and be with our families. For the past two years I've spent Easter on the road so it's nice to be home. It's a nice family time. Me personally, we're moving out of our home right now so we're going to be home and be busy that week. It gives us a time to catch up on our personal life a little bit. We work so hard during the winter to get the season started. The first part of the season we've traveled so much to Florida and back to the West Coast and Australia and all that. I think it's probably going to give everybody a nice time to go home and catch up. Maybe you've worked out a few things with your team and found some things you liked or didn't like and you can go home and maybe get rid of the things you didn't like and add to the things you liked. I think it's a nice gesture, both personally and from a business standpoint to have that weekend off."
Tim Kaeding, driver of the No. 83 Beef Packers car who is second in the race for top rookie honors
* On what to do with a week off: "Absolutely nothing. I just go home to California, hang out with my friends and stuff, go quad riding and keep my energy up. It's just little stuff, be a goofball, clean the house. It's nice to go home and relax for a couple of weeks and then hit it full bore after that. I probably won't be home for about three months after that so it's kind of hard, but you get over it. When you get lonely you just go out and have fun and try to meet as many people as you can."
Mark Kinser, a two-time World of Outlaws Sprint Series champion from Oolitic, Ind., and driver of the No. 35 Wright One Construction car
* On the series returning east and having a weekend off: "I'm a lot closer to home. I got a lucky break because we got a weekend off and that happens to be my boy's spring break from school so we'll make the most of that, too."
Tim Shaffer, driver of the No. 6 Casey's General Stores car and a winner this season at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif.
* On having a week off: "I get to go home and spend time with my boy. I've got a 4-year-old now [Timmy Jr.] and just to be home with a weekend off is going to feel like I'm doing something wrong, but I'll get to spend time with the family and that's very important because we don't get to do that too often."
Danny Lasoski, driver of the Tony Stewart Motorsports No. 20 Bass Pro Shops car
* On how he'll spend the week off: "We have to go back and regroup. We tore up a lot of stuff prior to Vegas. We'll go back and regroup a little bit and get stocked up because after that we don't have a break for a while so we got to be ready to go."
After a well-deserved week off, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series heads April 1 to Batesville Speedway in Locust Grove, Ark.; April 2 to I-55 Speedway in Pevely, Mo.; and April 8-9 to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.