WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES: THE WEEK AT A GLANCE WHAT The World of Outlaws Sprint Series returns to action this week with events April 1 at Batesville Speedway in Locust Grove, Ark., for a $10,000-to-win race and April 2 at I-55 Raceway in...
WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES: THE WEEK AT A GLANCE
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series returns to action this week with events April 1 at Batesville Speedway in Locust Grove, Ark., for a $10,000-to-win race and April 2 at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., for another $10,000-to-win race.
Batesville Speedway is about seven miles west of Batesville in Locust Grove on Heber Springs Road at the junction of SR 14 and SR 25.
For I-55 Raceway, take Interstate 55 to Herculaneum exit (#178), head east on U.S. 61/67, go north to Herky-Horine Road, then 1/2-mile west.
At Batesville Speedway, pit gates open at 4 p.m. with grandstands opening at 5:30 p.m. and racing at 8 p.m.
At I-55 Raceway, pit gates open at noon and grandstands at 3 p.m.
At Batesville Speedway, tickets range from $25-$30 in advance or $30-$35 on race day. For more information, call (870) 251-1200.
At I-55 Raceway, tickets are $30. Call (636) 479-3219 for more information.
TELEVISION THIS WEEK
At 8 p.m. ET Wednesday (March 30), The Outdoor Channel will broadcast coverage of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series J.D. Byrider World of Outlaws Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Coverage of the race Saturday from I-55 Raceway will be broadcast April 13 on The Outdoor Channel.
NEWS & NOTES * Rest stopped: After a rare early season week without racing, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series won't go another week without an event until the season ends in late October at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
* On the point: Craig Dollansky passed 19-time series champion Steve Kinser to claim the World of Outlaws Sprint Series points lead by 14 points March 11 at Las Vegas. But Kinser's victory March 18 at Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, Miss., and a second-place run the following night at Houston Raceway Park has moved him to within two points of Dollansky heading into this weekend's races at Batesville Speedway and I-55 Raceway.
* Hot Schatz: Donny Schatz went into the weekend off having won two of the past three main events to climb to third in the standings. He capped off the first part of the season with a thrilling late lap duel with Steve Kinser, holding on for his first victory at Houston Raceway Park where he had previously finished second twice. Schatz, the 1997 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, leads all drivers with three feature victories and he's off to the best start in his World of Outlaws Sprint Series career.
* How I spent my spring break: World of Outlaws Sprint Series racers rarely want to take any time away from racing, but some didn't mind having the Easter weekend off. It gave many of the drivers and teams a chance to regroup and refocus after a challenging couple of months on the road, going from Australia to Florida to California, Arizona, Nevada, Mississippi and Texas. Most racers used the time to spend with family. Mark Kinser's son was on spring break; Steve Kinser got to watch his youngest son, Kurt, wrestle in a tournament and then added some green back into his car's color scheme; Tim Shaffer was able to hang out with his 4-year-old son, Timmy Jr.; and Paul McMahan decaled his son's quarter-midget and then watched Brayden drive in his first race of the year. Of course, for some drivers, housework called. California native Jason Meyers finished moving early in the week so he could race locally on Saturday night and Joey Saldana finally put a dent into some landscaping that's been calling his name since he moved into his house a year ago.
* First lady of concrete: Erin Crocker, in her first ARCA RE/MAX Series race, won the Pork Pole Award last Friday at the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway and finished 12th in the PFG Lester 150 on Saturday. Crocker, in an Evernham Motorsports Dodge, qualified with a speed of 164.602 mph. Last season, she became the first woman to win a World of Outlaws Sprint Series A-main when she drove to victory Oct. 29 in the preliminary feature at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. Crocker is only the third female driver in ARCA RE/MAX Series history to qualify for a pole position. Patty Moise won pole awards at Talladega twice in 1988 and again at Daytona in 1989. Shawna Robinson won the pole at Michigan in 2000. In the race, Crocker led the first 28 laps before six-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel made a pass for the lead, with Chad Blount eventually capturing the checkered flag. "It was neat learning to pass cars on the outside here on the concrete track," Crocker said. "I learned a lot as the race progressed. Running out front was great, but I learned a lot more working traffic while coming up through the field. Not only did I learn a lot, it is nice to have my first race and first pit stops behind me. I feel like I passed a ton of cars out there and gained a lot of knowledge overall."
* March Madness: The World of Outlaws Sprint Series will be racing Saturday in Pevely, Mo., just south of St. Louis, which is the host city for the NCAA men's college basketball Final Four. However, most of the drivers are so completely focused on racing they could only guess at the teams remaining in the tournament (Illinois, Louisville, North Carolina and Michigan State). Says Joey Saldana, a Hoosier State native: "I'm for Indiana teams, but this year we got shut out so I really don't know. The next closest team would be Louisville so hopefully Louisville can win it."
* 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 checkered 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.
* Looking back I: The World of Outlaws Sprint Series returns to Batesville Speedway for the first time since 1993, when Andy Hillenburg captured the checkered flag. The series attempted to race at Batesville twice in 2004 but rain eventually forced the race to be canceled.
* Looking back II: Craig Dollansky, coming off of a serious back injury at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2003 and ankle injuries at Manzanita Speedway in early 2004, led all 40 laps in a dominating performance to capture the A feature on April 17, 2004, at I-55 Raceway. Later last season in August, Missouri native Danny Lasoski earned his first victory at I-55 Raceway.
* 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 webmaster*dirtvision.com..
* 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.
Jason Meyers, driver of the Elite Racing Team, LLC, No. 14 Elite Landscaping Maxim who is fourth in points
On racing at Batesville: "I've never raced there. We actually got rained out twice last year. All you can really do is compare it to another track that you race at and try to get a feel for it. You guess on your gear based on what you know of other racetracks and go with your standard setup. Hot laps are always fun at a place at a place you've never been to."
On having a weekend off from the Outlaws tour: "I came home and spent a couple of days moving. My wife had everything packed up while I was in Houston. Monday we moved out of our house and I've been busy all week just trying to finish up last minute things. When we leave this week for Batesville I'll be gone from home for six months so I'm trying to do all those little things that you can't do when you're not home."
On the NCAA Tournament: "I'm a racer through and through. That's all I know anything about. The guys on my crew, Steve [Swenson] and Brian [Sundby], are into that. They've been picking teams each week and I sit there and listen to them talk about it. If it's got a motor in it, I'm interested in it. When I was younger I played some ball sports and I still enjoy playing recreationally, but I'm pretty focused on racing to be honest with you."
Steve Kinser, 19-time World of Outlaws Sprint Series champion from Bloomington, Ind., and driver of the Steve Kinser Racing No. 11 Quaker State Maxim
On going to Batesville Speedway, where the series hasn't raced since 1993: "Right now we just we hope get there and the weather's clear. We tried to go there a couple of times last year and didn't make it. Every race means something, as far as winning a championship and that's what we're trying to do. -- We've had a lot of success going to first-time racetracks. Even though this isn't a first-time racetrack, it's a place we haven't run in a long time. You basically go at it the same as you do every other night. You try to be prepared to run. It's not a whole lot different than anything else."
On getting back to the racing grind: "We're looking forward to racing, especially after having a weekend off. It's a little early in the season, I'm not used to having a weekend off. I'm sort of sitting here twiddling my thumbs wishing I was racing. There are times in the middle of summer when you'd love to have a weekend off, but this early in the year you don't look forward to it."
On keeping his team sharp: "We're working here in the shop. There's plenty of work to do here, don't get me wrong. There's always work to be done to get us through the hard months. I'm spending it right now changing some of my color back. I wasn't happy with my car not showing up on the racetrack so I put some green back in things and working on motors, basically. Any time we get any spare time in the shop, it's no different than December or January. We're preparing for the rest of the year. Our free time does not go to a whole lot of play. As much as we race, we can't all just say we've got a week off so we'll shut the doors and come back on Monday and go to work. These guys work for success. It's their lives, they want to win as bad as I do. That's what you got to have to have a successful race team."
On the NCAA Tournament: "I've always been an [Indiana University] fan, with the success of the basketball program, especially with Bob Knight and Mike Davis. [Davis] hasn't had the greatest year this year, but I think in his second year as coach he took them to the finals. That's always controversy around here. I've always followed March Madness quite a bit. I watched Louisville play, they're not far from us, and Illinois play, a Big 10 team. I've always enjoyed college basketball. I don't follow close enough to know [who will win it all]. Of course, being around the Big 10 Conference, I probably would look to a Big 10 team like Illinois. But my hobby and my life is racing."
Danny Lasoski, driver of the Tony Stewart Motorsports No. 20 Bass Pro Shops machine
On the series racing at Batesville for the first time 1993: "When you go to any place where we've never been, you try to compare it to someplace where you have been and get a ballpark analogy of where you've been and try to get a setup to start with. Probably Steve Kinser would be the only guy who has been there before, so he might have a little advantage. But we've been to so many places across the country I'm sure something compares to it."
On the week off from racing: "We've been hitting it really hard in the shop. Our performances are not up to our standards yet and everybody here is working their tails off to try to rectify that as quick as we can. Jimmy [Carr] took the truck and trailer back to Featherlite to get a couple of little details done on it. We've also been repairing everything we've torn up since we left for Florida so this is a welcome week off to regroup and get our Bass Pro Shops car back in running order."
On this weekend's events: "First of all, I think Batesville is going to be a great asset to the World of Outlaws. And going from there to Pevely, everyone knows we love to get [co-promoters] Ken Schrader's and Ray Marler's money."
Joey Saldana, an Indiana native and driver of the Larry Woodward-owned No. 2 Volcano Joe's Coffee car
On racing at Batesville: "I've never been there. You just go with the same outlook as any other track. For myself, our motors haven't been running very good so it doesn't matter where we run, we've got to get our motors running better if we're going to have a shot anywhere we go, no matter if I've run there before and run good or if I've never been there before. Hopefully we can get things turned around."
On the weekend off from racing: "My guys are working hard trying to get motors figured out. But I built a new home about a year ago and I'm trying to get some landscaping done. I've got a lot of work to do in two weeks."
On the NCAA Tournament: "I'm for Indiana teams, but this year we got shut out so I really don't know. The next closest team would be Louisville so hopefully Louisville can win it."
Paul McMahan, driver of the David Helm-owned No. 11H Selma Shell machine
On racing at Batesville: "I've never been to Batesville Speedway. I lived in Batesville when I was worked for Johnny Herrera when he was driving for Ron Pack and I never knew they had a racetrack there. We lived about 10 miles from the racetrack and never knew there was a racetrack there."
On preparing for a track where you've never raced: "We'll go in with a basic setup that we use at 90 percent of the racetracks we go to. Whenever we start off at a place we've never been to, we have a basic approach to what we're doing and after hot laps start making changes."
On the NCAA Tournament: "The only time I watch basketball is when they get to the Final Four. I've kind of been paying attention because I've always liked Bobby Knight, but he lost [Thursday] night.
After racing at I-55 Raceway Saturday, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series travels April 8-9 to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, for its first event this season at the famous dirt oval. The series will make its first appearance of the season April 16 in Indiana when it runs at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt.