WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES: THE WEEK AT A GLANCE Colorado Springs, CO -- April 5, 2005 -- WHAT: The World of Outlaws Sprint Series helps to open historic Eldora Speedway's 2005 season with a two-night show, April 8-9. With a total purse...
WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES: THE WEEK AT A GLANCE
Colorado Springs, CO -- April 5, 2005 --
WHAT: The World of Outlaws Sprint Series helps to open historic Eldora Speedway's 2005 season with a two-night show, April 8-9. With a total purse near $100,000, the preliminary feature will be a $5,000-to-win race followed a day later by the main event, worth $12,000 to the winner.
WHERE: Eldora Speedway is about 2.5 miles north of Rossburg, Ohio. From Toledo (150 miles), go south on I-75 to Wapakoneta, west on US 33, continue west on State Route 29 to Celina, south on US 127 to North Star, turn right at traffic light, continue to Eldora Speedway. From Dayton (55 miles), north on I-75 to I-70, west on I-70 to exit 24, north on State Route 49 to Greenville, north on US 127 to North Star, turn left at traffic light, continue to Eldora Speedway. From Indianapolis (105 miles), east on I-70 to Ohio exit 10, north on US 127 to North Star, turn left at traffic light, continue to Eldora Speedway. From Columbus (105 miles), west on I-70 to exit 24, north on State Route 49 to Greenville, north on US 127 to North Star, turn left at traffic light, continue to Eldora Speedway. From Fort Wayne (65 miles), south on US 33 into Ohio, south on US 127 to North Star, turn right at traffic light, continue to Eldora Speedway.
WHEN: On Friday and Saturday, the gates will open at 4:30 p.m. with warm-ups and qualifying beginning at 6:30 p.m. and heats at 8 p.m.
ABOUT THE TRACK: Eldora Speedway is a high-banked, half-mile oval. The banking in the turns is 24 degrees and the banking on the straights is 7 degrees. Current points leader Craig Dollansky established the track record in a World of Outlaws Sprint Series race when he turned a lap around Eldora in 12.707 seconds on April 13, 2002.
TELEVISION THIS WEEK
At 8 p.m. ET Wednesday (April 6), The Outdoor Channel will broadcast coverage of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series Texas Shootout at Houston Raceway Park.
The Outdoor Channel will broadcast coverage of the race Saturday from I-55 Raceway on April 13 and coverage of the race this weekend at Eldora on April 20.
NEWS & NOTES
* Rising son: Kraig Kinser won his second and third career World of Outlaws Sprint Series main event features Friday and Saturday at Batesville Speedway in Locust Grove, Ark., and I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo. The series' top rookie in 2004, Kinser also won the preliminary feature last month in Las Vegas and is sitting third in points as the series rolls into Eldora Speedway, where Kraig's father, Steve, has won 30 "A" Features.
* Opening day: Baseball season has begun across the country, but two previous attempts to drop the green flag on NASCAR star Tony Stewart's first season as owner of Eldora Speedway were canceled by inclement weather. Therefore, the Outlaws are looking forward to the opportunity to help launch a new era at one of the most historic racetracks in the world. Stewart purchased the speedway from legendary owner Earl Baltes in November, and promptly appointed Larry Kemp as promoter and general manager and Larry Boos as director of facility and race day operations. Stewart also owns the No. 20 Bass Pro Shops car driven by Danny Lasoski.
* Race of ages: Only twice since 2000 have drivers less than 30 years old won a World of Outlaws Sprint Series main event at Eldora. Daryn Pittman was 24 when he won in 2002, as was Jason Meyers when visited the winner's circle in 2003.
* Point man: Craig Dollansky and Steve Kinser are waging quite a battle for the overall series lead. After Dollansky opened a 14-point lead March 11 at Las Vegas, Kinser climbed back to move into a tie after finishing third Friday night at Batesville Speedway. However, Dollansky edged back ahead by four points with a second-place run Saturday at I-55 Raceway.
* Gaining ground: Australian Brooke Tatnell was turned away by the Immigration and Naturalization Service when he tried to enter the United States in February to drive the Rush Racing machine on the 2005 World of Outlaws Sprint Series circuit. By the time the situation was resolved and Tatnell was allowed into the U.S., he had missed both races at Volusia, as well as events in Tulare, Calif., and Bakersfield, Calif. However, World of Outlaws Sprint Series officials this week awarded Tatnell 75 points for each event because he had made the attempt to compete.
* Rookie race: In the battle for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award, Shane Stewart of Bixby, Okla., is leading the way. But thanks to Tim Kaeding's third-place run Saturday at I-55 Raceway and Brandon Wimmer's pole and top-10 finish March 19 at Houston Raceway Park, the race for the top rookie honor will go down to the end of the 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. Kevin Swindell, 16, 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: Since the series returned from a weekend off, Kraig Kinser has been the hottest driver on the circuit, posting wins at Batesville Speedway and I-55 Raceway during last weekend. Donny Schatz has won three main event features season, Steve Kinser has won two main events, Craig Dollansky has won a feature and a preliminary, and Tim Shaffer and Jeff Shepard have each won a feature.
* Looking back: The World of Outlaws Sprint Series raced five times last season at Eldora. In the opening round in April 2004, 19-time Outlaws champion Steve Kinser took the checkered flag for the 30th time in his career at Eldora. To win, Kinser drove past Danny Lasoski deep in Turn 1 and won the "A" Feature by three car-lengths.
* 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.
Tony Stewart, a star on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit, owner of the No. 20 Bass Pro Shops car driven by Danny Lasoski, and new owner of Eldora Speedway after he purchased the track last November from legend Earl Baltes
* On what made Eldora a good track to buy: "It's a great facility. It holds the two biggest dirt track races in the country and holds probably the second and third biggest open-wheel races there from the sprint car side. It has seven major events there every year. It's just a great facility. It's unique. You can't go anywhere else in the country and find a facility that's like Eldora. The thing that makes it so great is that it's Eldora. It's like going to the Indianapolis 500 or the Kentucky Derby. Yes, there are people who go there to watch the race, but at the same time it's a happening. You go through the parking lots after the races are over and everybody's camping. It could be two or three o'clock in the morning and everyone is having a blast. It's not like going to a regular racetrack. When you go to an event at Eldora you go to a happening."
* On owning race teams: "Owning race teams gives me another challenge in life. It keeps me excited while giving me a break. When I come back to NASCAR I'm excited and I don't get burned out so easily. Having five USAC teams and one World of Outlaws team, that's plenty of stuff to split my attention from what's going on with my full-time job here in NASCAR to where I don't get wrapped up in trying to over-analyze things. It allows me to refresh my brain a little bit."
* On being Eldora's owner: "Eldora is a place where I've gone as a spectator, as a crew member, as a driver and as a car owner. I know a lot about the facility. It's a new venture for me. Kenny Schrader and Dave Blaney are drivers that have gotten into owning racetracks and now I've added my name to the list. In buying Eldora, the circumstances were just right. It wasn't something where we were looking to buy a racetrack, but Earl and Berneice Baltes, who owned Eldora, came to us and said we'd really like you to have this facility. I think they know my passion for open-wheel dirt track racing and they know that I've run dirt late models and modifieds and almost every type of car that races at Eldora. They know how much I respect the history of that side of the sport and how much I want to preserve it, while also looking ahead to see what we can do to make the facility grow."
* On the learning experience of owning Eldora: "I'm learning how to spend a lot of money in a very short amount of time. It's something of a balancing act for me. I'm trying to be very conscience of not changing the atmosphere of Eldora, but at the same time trying to add to the experience at Eldora. I'm now learning the simple things like adding restrooms and other little odds and ends that you just don't think of as a driver or a crew member."
Tim Kaeding, a Mean 15 racer in the Dennis Roth-owned No. 83 Beef Packers car
* On Eldora: "I've only run there one time and we ran second. It's one of those racetracks that can scare you to death. You just got to pray you don't crash too hard. It's a fun little racetrack. I love it. Hopefully we can get our momentum going decent to where we can finish decent there."
Kraig Kinser, a Mean 15 racer who won the 2004 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award and a winner in the past two World of Outlaws Sprint Series features
* On racing at Eldora Speedway: "It's got a lot of history there. A lot of great, great racing comes there. The first couple of times you go there you're out to lunch. You can't expect much. You have to run a lot of laps around there to be real successful. There's a point to where you can push it, but you don't want to push it too far because it's an unforgiving track. If you make one mistake there it's going to hurt you and the car. You have to respect the track. I don't know exactly what it is. Growing up around sprint car racing, it was the track you watched out for, it was the track you prepared for all month when you knew you were going to Eldora. You put on the best stuff, you're strongest stuff. If you can't put on new wings, make sure they're strong and don't fall apart. You just prepare yourself for Eldora."
Steve Kinser, a 19-time champion who has won 30 features at Eldora in his career
* On the half-mile Eldora track: "I think the banking just helps put on good races no matter if it's slick and you get right up on the wall and run, I enjoy running it like that, or even down around the middle, it's still a track you can move around and do some passing. It's a fast racetrack and I think everybody just enjoys going there."
* On the history of Eldora: "Eldora is a track everybody wants to win on. It's got a reputation with Earl and all the years. We've always had a lot of success there, and I've always enjoyed running there. I've run there for quite some time and it's just a track that's fun to race as a driver. You can really get out there and put your leg on it and run hard for 30 or 40 laps."
* On the fans: "It's going to be one of the first races we'll have up toward the Midwest so everybody has been pretty well locked up all winter so I'm sure they're all ready to come out and watch the race."
Danny Lasoski, a Mean 15 racer and former series champion who drives a car owned by Tony Stewart Motorsports
* On Eldora: "Earl started everything with the big money shows, the big races for not only for sprint cars but also stock cars. He put on a great show no matter what it is. Having Tony buy the place brings it up another level, having him love dirt tracking like he does. We're going there and there's nothing more that I want than to go get some of his money."
* On Tony Stewart: "He comes there as my car owner, my friend and also the track owner. But there's no favoritism whatsoever. I don't want anybody thinking Danny Lasoski gets a favor because I don't, but I wouldn't mind running the water truck."
Terry McCarl, a six-time 410 sprint division champion at Knoxville Raceway who is running with the World of Outlaws in 2005
* On racing at Eldora: "I haven't been to Eldora since 1997, but I really like it. I like banging the fence. If you don't like to run on the fence, running at Eldora won't be one of your favorite racetracks. I remember the very first time I went there I drove Junior Holbrook's car and in the feature I quit counting after 13 times I hit the fence coming off of Turn 2. It's just real high-banked and you're going really fast. You're actually going faster than you even know. That's what makes it difficult. With the wings on the car, when you're turning on that kind of banking it's hard to see in front of you very far so it's kind of scary and dangerous. You see a lot of guys get run into that normally wouldn't by good guys because you're going so fast you can get slowed down and you can't see ahead because of the banking. It's an intimidating track because it's kind of scary with the speeds. If you don't like to go fast, you don't like Eldora."
Paul McMahan, a Mean 15 racer in the David Helm-owned No. 11H car
* On racing at Eldora: "Eldora is cool just because of the high banks, the crowd is one of a kind. The King's Royal is the biggest race of the year at Eldora and the crowd is crazy, but even the normal Outlaws races there are pretty impressive in their own right. Eldora is just cool. The speed, you race right up against the fence. There's a lot of racing going on, a lot of slide jobs. It's just one of those places you always want to win."
Jason Meyers, a Mean 15 racer and winner in 2003 at Eldora
* On why Eldora is special: "What makes Eldora special is the races that are held there throughout the year and just the prestige that comes with the place, the people who have won there. Nobody goes to Eldora their first time and does well. It takes a little while to get used to Eldora, the speed, the banking. For that big of a place, stuff happens really fast. Normally on the big tracks things get a little more spread out and it's a little slower pace as far as reaction times. Eldora's not that that way. It's not just other racers, it's a matter of keeping on top of your racecar because your racecar can get out from underneath you real quick. NASCAR has the track too tough to tame in Darlington, and Eldora is one of those places that can bite you, too. It's just the speed, the size and everything that goes with it."
Lonny Parsons, owner of the No. 6 Casey's General Store car and a winner earlier this season at Tulare, Calif.
* On Eldora Speedway: "It's steeped in history, that's one aspect of it. Secondly, it's a super-fast place. It's kind of scary from the aspect of a car owner because it puts so much strain on all the equipment that you pretty much just bite your lip the whole time the car is out there. It's just a wide-open joint. It's kind of intimidating, really, and always has been. I think that's what adds to the allure of it."
* On new owner Tony Stewart taking over the historic track: "I don't think there will be a lot of big changes. Tony Stewart is smart enough to know that Earl Baltes has been pretty successful over the years and it's pretty hard to knock success. There are always some improvements that can be made in little things, but all in all it's one of the most successful places in the country."
Donny Schatz, a Mean 15 racer and a three-time main event winner this season
* On Eldora: "It's a nice place to go. When you first go there I guess it's kind of one of those intimidating places and everybody remembers it. It's a big fast half-mile with a wall by you. We've had success there and we've had failure there. We're hoping we can go there with everything right and be competitive. We look forward to it. This time of the year, it's always cool so we keep that in the back of our minds. Plus it's under new ownership with Tony Stewart. He's a race fan as well as the track owner and I think he'll bring a lot of fun things there. Earl always did a great job, but he wanted to move on. To be a part of it, and Tony Stewart involved is a big asset for Eldora Speedway."
Tim Shaffer, a Mean 15 racer and a two-time winner at Eldora
* On what it takes to win at Eldora: "It's really demanding. Your engine program better be strong and you've got to have a racecar that's going to roll around there because physically as a driver you can not make up for a car there. That place is so demanding, there's nothing like it. To run good there is tough to do."
Jason Sides, a Mean 15 racer and winner of the 2004 King's Royal at Eldora
* On returning to the track as a former winner: "It's the same race for everybody, we just happened to get lucky that night. It's got a lot of prestige and all, just going to Eldora itself. It will be a little different without Earl not owning it, but for the most part it will still be the same."
Shane Stewart, the current leader for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award
* On what it means to win at Eldora: "It's prestige. Anybody who can win a race at Eldora has got their game on. It's an easy track to race, but a tough track to win at. I think that's one reason why I like it. It's pretty tough to tame, especially when you get right up against the fence."
Brooke Tatnell, driver of the Rush Racing machine and winner of the Australia Sprintcar Championship earlier this year
* On Eldora: "There's so much history around the place, that's the biggest thing. It was also one of the first places I ever went to where you drove at that high a speed. When I first went there you raced six inches off the wall, it was pretty awesome. For me, it's probably the one racetrack that I first figured out how to drive at better than anywhere else. I've had my moments there. I've had some glory moments of having good runs there and I've had nights of ending up in the hospital. I don't know what it is about the place. Whether it's history or the past of the Rutherfords and those guys who ran there that I grew up watching as a kid in Australia, that place is just something special. There's nothing else like it."
Brandon Wimmer, an 18-year-old Mean 15 racer and Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award contender
* On what makes Eldora so exciting: "I think it's just the history of Eldora. So many things have happened in the past. The history is so great at that track that its atmosphere is completely different from any other track we go to. It's a really special track and I really like going there."
The series will make its first appearance of the season in Indiana when it runs April 16 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt. It then shifts back West for races April 22 at Outlaw Motor Speedway in Muskogee, Okla., and April 23 at 81 Speedway in Wichita, Kan., before closing out the month at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa.