WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES: THE WEEK AT A GLANCE Colorado Springs, CO -- April 19, 2005 WHAT For the first time in the circuit's history, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series rolls into Outlaw Motor Speedway Friday in Muskogee, Okla., for a...
WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT SERIES: THE WEEK AT A GLANCE
Colorado Springs, CO -- April 19, 2005
For the first time in the circuit's history, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series rolls into Outlaw Motor Speedway Friday in Muskogee, Okla., for a $10,000-to-win event, followed by a return trip Saturday to 81 Speedway in Park City, Kan., for the $10,000-to-win Wichita Twister Showdown.
Outlaw Motor Speedway is on Highway 69 at the Wainwright exit, 8 miles south of Muskogee and 11 miles north of Interstate 40. For more information, go to www.outlawmotorspeedway.com.
81 Speedway is north of Wichita on Interstate 135 at exit 16, then 0.7 miles west on 77th.
At Outlaw Motor Speedway, gates open at noon Friday with qualifying at 6:30 p.m. and racing at 7:30 p.m.
At 81 Speedway, pit gates open at 2 p.m. Saturday and grandstands at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6 p.m. and qualifying and racing to follow.
At Outlaw Motor Speedway, all access tickets are $45, or $20 for children 12 and under.
At 81 Speedway, with the event promoted by SLS Promotions, reserved tickets are $32 and general admission tickets are $30. Children 6-12 are $15 and reserved tickets for 12 and under are $15. There also is a $35 pit combo, which includes one general admission ticket plus one pit pass available only for purchase in advance.
ABOUT THE TRACKS
Outlaw Motor Speedway is a 3/8-mile, 11-degree-banked oval with three grooves.
81 Speedway 3/8-mile, semi-banked oval, where Steve Kinser established the track record in an Outlaws event of 13.395 seconds on Oct. 16, 2004.
TELEVISION THIS WEEK
At 8 p.m. ET Wednesday (April 20), The Outdoor Channel will broadcast coverage of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series event from Eldora Speedway.
All the action from Outlaw Motor Speedway can be seen at 9:30 p.m. ET on April 27 on a Dirtvision Cybercast. For more information, go to http://www.dirtvision.com.
Coverage of the race Saturday from 81 Speedway will be broadcast May 4 on The Outdoor Channel.
NEWS & NOTES
Schedule expands: The World of Outlaws Sprint Series has added a race May 9 at Tri-State Speedway in Pocola, Okla., near Ft. Smith, Ark. The series has never raced at this high-banked, 3/8-mile clay dirt track. This is the 33rd year Tri-State Speedway has been racing, and among its former track champions are NASCAR stars Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin. Advance tickets are $30 and pit passes are $45. For more information, go to http://www.tri-statespeedway.com.
Hot streak: Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award contender Tim Kaeding admits he's aggressive on the racetrack. But that's how he's managed to finish in the top five in the past four events, including back-to-back nights at intimidating Eldora Speedway where he had only raced once before. Kaeding's run in the No. 83 Dennis Roth-owned Beef Packers car began April 2 at I-55 Raceway with a third-place run, then continued on Eldora's high-speed half-mile with a fifth-place finish in the preliminary feature followed by a runner-up finish to Steve Kinser in the main event. Finally, Saturday at Tri-State Speedway, Kaeding put together another strong race to finish fourth. What's most impressive, though, is that Kaeding has been able to move forward after starting in the middle of the field with daring moves on the high side of the tracks.
Unfamiliar surroundings: The race Friday at Outlaw Motor Speedway in Muskogee, Okla., will be the first time the World of Outlaws Sprint Series has raced at the 3/8-mile oval. The race will mark the fourth time the Outlaws have competed at a track this season for either the first time, or the first time in more than five years. The others were Volusia Speedway Park, where the series ran twice for the first time since 1981; Bakersfield Speedway, where the series had not raced since 1995; and Batesville Speedway, where the series' only other appearance was in 1993. In those races, Jeff Shepard and Steve Kinser won at Volusia, Craig Dollansky at Bakersfield and Kraig Kinser at Batesville.
Circle time: Each race this weekend -- Friday at Outlaw Motor Speedway and Saturday at 81 Speedway -- is on a 3/8-mile oval. The series has raced three times this season on tracks that size, at Pike County Speedway, Houston Raceway Park and Batesville Speedway. Steve Kinser held off Brooke Tatnell to win at Pike County, Donny Schatz edged Steve Kinser at Houston and Kraig Kinser dominated at Batesville.
Advantage, Stewart: The race at Outlaw Motor Speedway in Muskogee will be a first for nearly every driver that tours with the World of Outlaws Sprint Series, except for Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award leader Shane Stewart, who is from Bixby, Okla. Stewart has won at Outlaw in an American Sprint Car Series event.
Power planted: Wesmar Racing Engines, used by Shane Stewart, Daryn Pittman and Terry McCarl, is based in Bixby, Okla., and is expected to have quite a few employees on hand Friday night for the World of Outlaws Sprint Series debut at Outlaw Motor Speedway in Muskogee, Okla.
IROC & roll: Danny Lasoski and Steve Kinser raced in Round 2 of the International Race of Champions event last Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. After a wild race, Lasoski, who won the event at Texas in 2004, finished seventh and Kinser finished eighth. Champ Car racer Sebastien Bourdais held off NASCAR star Mark Martin to become a first-time IROC winner. Round 3 will be Sept. 8 at Richmond International Raceway. IROC series sponsor, Crown Royal, is running a contest to select the IROC series' all-time greatest drivers. Steve Kinser is one of four open-wheel drivers to be included in the list at http://www.crownroyalracing.com, where fans can vote for their favorite IROC racer.
Victory parade: Steve Kinser's win last weekend at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind., was his fourth victory of the season. Next on win list is Donny Schatz with three victories. Kraig Kinser was the hottest driver on the circuit in early April, winning on back-to-back nights at Batesville Speedway and I-55 Raceway. He also has a preliminary feature win at Las Vegas. Craig Dollansky has won a feature and a preliminary, while Tim Shaffer and Jeff Shepard have each won a feature.
Looking back: While the World of Outlaws Sprint Series races Friday at Outlaw Motor Speedway for the first time, it will returns Saturday to 81 Speedway in an event promoted by SLS Promotions. The series raced at 81 Speedway Oct. 16, 2004, for the first time since 1992, and Danny Lasoski picked up the victory in the 30-lap feature after making a move on Tim Kaeding at the mid-point of the race.
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), 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), Brandon Wimmer (No. 7tw owned by Wimmer-Luck Racing), and the No. 35 Rick Wright-owned car.
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.
Tune into the Web: If fans can't get to Outlaw Motor Speedway or 81 Speedway to see the racing this weekend, 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, a Mean 15 racer from Elk River, Minn., who is second in points and has a main-event win and a preliminary feature victory this season
On this racing this weekend: "Wichita is a real nice racetrack. SLS Promotions does a real good job putting that event on. Muskogee will be interesting to see what we've got there and see what we can do."
On setting up for a new track: "You just try to establish the size of the track and what kind of dirt you're dealing with. You just need to start off on the right foot and try to make adjustments throughout the night depending on what the racetrack does."
On racing back-to-back nights: "It's very demanding on the crews, for the most part. It's tough for them to get done with Friday night's race and go to the car wash and get things ready to go for the next day. Depending on how far it is for them to travel, it's a pretty short night for them. It's difficult for the crews, mainly, but in this series you run so many races at so many different racetracks you pretty much get used to it and just try to go in and establish what you need to do at each track."
On a favoring one size speedway over another: "I used to kind of like the big tracks but now I'm enjoying the short tracks as much as the big tracks. Short tracks are a lot of fun."
Tim Kaeding, a Mean 15 racer from San Jose, Calif., who is running for top rookie honors and has posted three consecutive top-five finishes in the past four Outlaws features
On new racing at a new track: "It's just like most of these racetracks this year, we're going there blind. I've never been to a lot of these racetracks. It's just a learning curve every night we go out. We just need to make sure we get a decent setup on the car at the beginning of the night and just go from there. Hopefully we can capitalize on a couple of people's mistakes."
On his string of top-five runs: "We had a great run at Eldora. It was only our second and third time ever going there so to run fifth and second was great. I've seen a lot of other guys go there and they either end up in the fence, over the fence, through the fence -- for us to go there I think it suits my driving style, wide-open, get on the fence and hold on. Everywhere we go now from here is just a learning curve for us. We're just going to go out, enjoy it as much as we can and be as fast as we can every night."
On racing at shorter tracks: "I like the smaller tracks. I like being able to race with guys, be racy, dicey -- it's a good show for the fans, that's the biggest thing. You get on some of these big tracks, everybody checks out and there's no passing except for in the back. You get on some of these shorter tracks and it just makes for great racing. The fans are what we do this for and when you get on the short tracks and have four or five races within one race it's great for the fans to be able to say, 'Hey, this guy started 13th and he ran second.' It just makes it a little more enjoyable for the fans on the shorter tracks."
Kraig Kinser, a Mean 15 racer and the 2004 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award winner from Bloomington, Ind., who has two main event wins and a preliminary feature victory this season
On going to new tracks: "Last year I went to a lot of tracks that I hadn't been to. You just get there and look at it and try to see what you can relate it to. I've found myself relating a lot of tracks to different tracks. It's tough to go there when you don't know how to start up with your setup. You just try to put the basics in and go from there. You just wait and see how the track goes."
On racing back-to-back nights: "Depending on how far it is, usually the crew washes the car. If it's a pretty far haul they drive all night long. It's real hard on the crew guys because they've got to get up early and start working on the cars. You feel the miles in between. If you get a couple of days off you find ways to get in some sleep."
Steve Kinser, a Mean 15 racer from Bloomington, Ind., who is coming off his series-leading fourth victory of the season and will be making his first appearance at Outlaw Motor Speedway
On finishing eighth in the IROC race last Friday at Texas Motor Speedway: "Everybody had some tight racecars and had some trouble turning. It made for a lot of pushing. Everybody was pushing the front ends and having trouble getting them around there. It was a little bit different than what it was when we tested there. -- It is fun. You go there to have fun, but when it comes down to racing everybody gets pretty serious about it and wants to run good."
On fellow touring Outlaws Daryn Pittman and Shane Stewart racing in front of their crowd: "It's always a lot of fun to run in your own area. No matter what area it is, it's somebody's area. It's also nice to not have to drive very far to the races and get to go home. All these guys take every race one race at a time. Once we get inside the gate, we don't even know what state we're in or where we are. We just know we're at another race."
Danny Lasoski, a Mean 15 racer from Dover, Mo., and 2001 series champion who won the World of Outlaws Sprint Series feature last year at 81 Speedway
On finishing seventh in the IROC race last Friday at Texas Motor Speedway: "In previous years it's basically been a one-lane racetrack on the bottom. Well, lo and behold it was a two-lane track. There were times when it was three- and four-abreast. It got to be pretty rough. I made it to fourth and I was really pushing hard to get into the top three because that's where the bonus points are paid. I kind of tried to knock the wall down. It was driver error, I just pushed too hard. I went in and they put another tire on. I went to the back and made it back to fourth again when Kurt Busch wrecked. We started the race over and I tried to go around Matt Kenseth on the top and went from fourth to sixth and when I did Helio Castroneves and myself hit the fence again. We ended up seventh and still rolling so I guess that's a victory in itself, not parking it."
On racing at Outlaw Motor Speedway for the first time: "We'll go in there and try to compare it to somewhere we've been. If not we'll just roll the dice and put a basic setup in this thing and see how it rolls around there."
Paul McMahan, a Mean 15 racer from Nashville who powered to a third-place finish Saturday at Tri-State Speedway
On going to a new track: "You just go in with your basic setup that you would run at most of the racetracks and once you get there it will be like when we went to Batesville this year, we really didn't know anything about it. You get there, look at the track and make a few adjustments and go from there. They're all round and have dirt on them."
Jason Meyers, a Mean 15 racer from Clovis, Calif., who is fourth in points entering this weekend
On racing at Outlaw Motor Speedway: "It's just like going somewhere for your first time. Typically, you go in and compare it to another place we've been. The biggest thing about going to a nice new place, which supposedly [Outlaw Motor Speedway] is nice even though I've never seen it, is that it's good for the sport. I've heard a lot of good things about it. Hopefully it is what people have said it's been. It'll be good for the fans, the racers and even the sponsors that are involved. It might be a nice new place to help in bringing the Outlaws to the new frontier they're trying to go for."
On finishing strong at short tracks: "For us, it's been up and down all year. We started off real strong and I thought things were going in the right direction. We haven't necessarily been terrible but we haven't been as strong as we started off. We've been searching a little bit, trying some different things to get back to that baseline that makes us good everywhere. Typically I'm better in the half miles but in the last year or so it's been on the short tracks where we've got our wins. We try to be competitive on all of them, whether it's a half-mile or a short track. Every week we're just trying to get to where we can be up front every night."
On racing back-to-back nights in different cities: "It's difficult on the crews. I got a great team that works very, very hard and they are what makes that easy on me. As a driver I'm going to another racetrack, but those guys work really hard all night to get the car and everything ready. They drive about four hours, get up and do all their maintenance. Not a lot of sleep for the crew. I try to get in there and help when I can, but pretty much they take care of things. That's what makes us competitive. That's what separates the experienced teams from the younger teams. The experienced guys kind of know how to go through that and how to pace themselves. They're definitely not out having a good time the night before a race. They know to get their rest during the week so they're ready for that."
Brian Paulus, a Mean 15 racer from Mechanicsburg, Pa.
On what to expect Friday night at Outlaw Motor Speedway: "We were told that Muskogee is a pretty wide-open fast racetrack. We have a couple of minor changes that we make to the car and you pretty much just play it by ear. You turn a couple of laps and you know what the car is doing so you make an adjustment here or there and do what you can. Hopefully we're the fastest guy to catch onto the new setup for that track."
Daryn Pittman, a Mean 15 racer native to Owasso, Okla., about an hour from Outlaw Motor Speedway in Muskogee
On racing in Oklahoma: "We used to race at Tulsa Speedway, which is only about five miles from my house. It was always exciting to go there and race. It's just good to get back and have people come watch you race that never get to see us. There are a lot of sprint car fans or people who race themselves in micros or other forms of racing. It's always good to go home and get to see those people and let them come out and see what you've been doing. I've never been to Muskogee, but I've heard it's an awesome facility and a really nice racetrack. Last year, I think the closest we got to home was Oklahoma City. This is definitely a lot closer. Any time we're around that area it's a lot of fun and brings back a lot of memories."
On preparing to race in front of the home crowd: "Same as you do any other time. It's no different. Even when we go back to certain racetracks, we carry over a few notes but something's always different. That's the great thing about dirt racing. The track and the dirt does something different every time you go to a place. I generally I have a pretty good track record for when we go to places for the first time, or places where it's probably going to be the first time 95 percent of the people are going to be going to it. Generally, we do pretty good and catch on pretty quick it seems. I think Shane Stewart and maybe a few locals who run pretty decent will probably be the only ones who have actually been there and might have a little one-up on us, but that's why these guys are the best. It doesn't take them very long to get caught up and then be going as fast or faster than anybody that's ever been around there."
On Wesmar Racing Engines located in Bixby, Okla.: "They're excited about it. This is as close as they'll get to see any of their engines run around home. All their employees are going out there. We've got a brand new one we're putting in for that weekend. They're looking forward to that, and all their employees coming out and seeing me and Terry McCarl and Shane Stewart and other people who run their engines go around the racetrack."
On added pressure racing in front of the home crowd: "Not any more than any other night. I've got enough weight on my shoulders trying to pay my own bills. It is a lot of pressure, but it's a lot of fun just to be able to be in that atmosphere where you have that many people watching it."
Shane Stewart, a Bixby, Okla.-native who is leading the race for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award
On racing in Oklahoma: "Anytime I can go home and race in front of my friends and family it's pretty exciting. Oklahoma City was the closest I used to get to home, Muskogee actually is a little closer. I've already been told that there's plenty of friends and family that are coming, and [car owner] Kevin Rudeen is also coming. Hopefully we can put a good show on for them. We're excited. We're excited to be home."
On added pressure of racing at home: "No. I try to give it 100 percent every night. Obviously when everybody is there, people might think it puts more pressure on my shoulders but it really doesn't. I try to race each night to my fullest. That's just another race on our schedule, it just happens to be closer to my home than any other racetrack. Hopefully we can have a good showing in front of all them and let them know the No. 26 Rudeen Motorsports car is capable of winning a race."
On having Wesmar Racing Engines at the feature: "They work really hard for our race team getting us motors. To be able to put a good showing on for them will be something that will definitely be on my mind. They're a really big benefactor to our team so having all of them there supporting us will be exciting."
On racing back-to-back nights in Muskogee and Wichita: "The thing that most people don't realize is that the crew is really what has to really go through the grueling schedule. Not only do they have to race that night, but they've got to go to the car wash and get everything cleaned up and then travel four or five hours. Generally when they get to bed it's 3 or 4 in the morning, but then they've got to get up and maintenance the car for the next race. There's a lot of time in there that the crew has to go through more than the driver. The driver, he gets in his motorhome and he might drive a couple of hours and pull into a rest stop and rest. It wears on the whole team, but this part of our schedule is not near as grueling as it will be in July and August. Racing on the weekends is not too difficult on the crew, but when we start racing a lot it can wear your team down. I think that's what makes Danny [Lasoski] and Steve [Kinser] and those guys so good. They know where the good car washes are, they don't have to spend time searching around for those. They know where they can stay where there is truck parking at the motels. Little things like that people don't think about. We can't just pull into a regular motel and go park our truck, we have to have truck parking. Little things like that, once you've been out here for quite some time you learn the ins and outs of that and it saves you time."
On what to expect during his first time through the complete schedule with the Outlaws: "I don't know. I raced all winter in Australia. I flew straight from Australia to Florida to start racing our season here. I'm crossing my fingers I hope I don't hit a wall. I don't think I will because we're so pumped up this being our first year to do it. The main thing that's been going on so far with our team is just being consistent, and I think we've kind of done that. Anytime you can consistently run in the top 10, crack the top five a few times, hopefully you'll get a couple of wins. A couple of wins doesn't sound like that much, but when you're out here racing with these guys a lot it is."
On racing at short tracks: "Generally the car isn't such a big factor as much as the driver. The driver actually plays a big part in racing on small racetracks. A driver is a really big benefactor where you don't have to rely on your 850-horsepower motor to get you qualified in the top 10 to actually be able to race with these guys. I think the smaller tracks definitely open up the door for news teams like ourselves to have a better chance of winning the races, but it goes back to Wesmar and we've got a good enough motor that we're competitive even on the big tracks."
Joey Saldana, a Mean 15 racer from Brownsburg, Ind., who finished fifth Saturday night at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.
On approaching a new track: "For us, we've just got to get our motors running. It doesn't matter where we go, we've still got to qualify. I heard the track is pretty nice. If it's nice as what I've heard, it should be a good show. Last year, Wichita was awesome. It was real racy and you could pass."
Donny Schatz, a Mean 15 racer from Fargo, N.D., who has three victories this season
On racing at new facilities: "We do the same thing virtually everywhere. You just hope you have good conditions, hopefully they have a good facility, hope you got a racetrack they have prepared very well. That's about all you can do. Until you can see it and get a couple of hot laps on there, guys are kind of behind the eight ball. We normally adapt to new tracks a little better than we do the ones go to a couple of times because we try to go back to the same thing we've done in the past and sometimes it doesn't work. That's how it goes. That's the part of racing that makes it exciting and enjoyable and why you have a different winner almost every night."
Tim Shaffer, a Mean 15 racer from Aliquippa, Pa., who earned a victory earlier this season in Tulare, Calif.
On racing for the first time at a track: "It's pretty exciting because hopefully nobody else has been there either. A new place like that is pretty interesting. I think it makes it more fun for everybody because everybody is on the same playing field."
On having new tracks on the Outlaws tour: "It's neat to go somewhere new. Shane [Stewart] will have a little bit of experience, but he'll be there with a different group of guys now, too. You're going to have 24 good cars running on that thing so I don't think he's going to have an edge, either."
Brooke Tatnell, an Australia native and driver of the No. 8 Rush Racing car who started on the pole and finished second last Saturday at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.
On Muskogee and Wichita: "I raced there last year or the year before, one of the first races they had. I enjoyed the place. It's a pretty awesome facility. It was new when I went there. For Wichita, driving the No. 66 car [last year], that's basically their home track. I enjoy short track racing, and I enjoy the half miles, too. Short tracks are what I grew up on so I love the little bull rings."
On getting settled for racing in the U.S.: "In sprint car racing, does it ever settle down? The biggest thing is that we never had a problem once I got off the plane. Once we got past that hurdle everything's been pretty smooth for us. Our biggest thing is, we've run eight races and had four top-fives, which is impressive and I'm happy with that but the nights we haven't been top five it's been like a roller-coaster ride, we've been up and down. It's not that we've been that far away, but it doesn't take much to lose five spots with these guys nowadays."
On his succeeding with a virtually new team put together in the off-season: "We've got a lot of bonus programs with this race team with sponsors and we've got to pick up the pace to get them. We're happy with it. We're really fortunate. The guys have been working really good. Not many new teams have come straight out. I've worked with my crew chief before but not with the other two guys. I haven't worked with the car owners. The motors are an all-new program. The shocks are a new program. I'm really happy with it. I think we've made a lot of people in the past two years stand up and take notice. People are starting to take notice that we're not just a gimmick, we are something to be reckoned with."