Returning to a Familiar Place: Tri-City Speedway a Home Track for Lasoski Pontoon Beach, IL-- May 8, 2008-- Every win is special to Danny Lasoski, but his victory at Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Illinois last season holds extra ...
Returning to a Familiar Place: Tri-City Speedway a Home Track for Lasoski
Pontoon Beach, IL-- May 8, 2008-- Every win is special to Danny Lasoski, but his victory at Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Illinois last season holds extra significance and will always be near and dear to him, because it was the first Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event that his friend Kevin Gundaker and his wife Tammy promoted at the track.
Lasoski made history as well last season becoming the first Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series driver to win at Tri-City Speedway after it was reconfigured from a half-mile to a very racy 3/8-mile. The 2001 series champion will return to the track just outside of St. Louis on Friday, May 9 in search of the fourth win of his career at the facility
"Kevin (Gundaker) and I have been good friend for quite a long time, and to win the first World of Outlaws race that he had put on was pretty special," shared Lasoski. "I know that I will never forget it and hopefully he won't either."
Lasoski had a great deal of success at Tri-City over the years when it was a half-mile, winning twice and racking up 21 Top-Five finishes. In his first start at the track in 1982, he finished second, and in his last seven starts at Tri-City with the old configuration, he finished seventh or better in each race. He quickly got up to speed on the smaller design of the track last year, turning the seventh fastest lap in time trials, finishing second in the third heat race, and following that up with a fourth-place run in the Crane Cams Dash to earn a second-row starting position for the 35-lap A-Feature.
"We are very excited to head back there," he said. "Kevin Gundaker and his whole family have done such a great job down there. I was really partial to the big half-mile and when he told me he was going to shorten it up, I was really skeptical. He did a great job with it. We went down there last year and won and hopefully we can win again. There is a lot of competition this year, and we'll go there and do the best that we can."
Lasoski battled Jason Sides lap after lap in the early portions of the 35-lap contest last season, thrilling the crowd with the constant side-by-side racing. The pair continued to jockey for the lead until the 10th lap when Sides had a tire go down, and Lasoski inherited the lead. He would remain on the point for the rest of the way, fighting off a hard charging Daryn Pittman at the end to earn the $10,000 top prize by just one-tenth of a second.
"It was a welcome relief," Lasoski said with a smile of the reconfiguration of the track. "It was actually the first time I had ever been to Granite City (Tri-City Speedway) and I could see where I was going, because the lighting was so good. They have made a really good race track and its three lanes wide. You can run on the top, middle and bottom. We are looking forward to heading back there."
A busy month of May began last weekend for the World of Outlaws and Lasoski is ready to hit the road in the next couple weeks, including a trip to Pennsylvania next week. He has spent countless hours in the shop over the last few months, and while it has helped him to get caught up on things, he also points out that all of the time spent working on the race car can lead to unnecessary changes. Beginning this weekend at Tri-City Speedway, the series will kick off a stretch of 11 events in the next three weeks.
"It gets tough and you always think you need time off to build parts, but you catch yourself wearing bolts out, because you take stuff off so much and keep putting it back on," he explained of the recent breaks in the schedule. "I think now the weather has changed and we should be able to race hard for the next month. When that happens, everyone will need a break with the next month of racing that we will do, especially in Pennsylvania."
While Mother Nature has interrupted a large portion of the early season for the World of Outlaws, Lasoski found a few other races to stop at along the way, in order to stay sharp. He won an event with the American Sprint Car Series (ASCS) at State Fair Speedway in Oklahoma City at the end of March and recently competed at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri, where the World of Outlaws will make their debut in September, along with competing at Sedalia's State Fair Speedway last Sunday night, where he earned a Top-Five finish.
"It sure helped me eat," he deadpanned of finding races to go to during the breaks in the schedule. "I don't make any money unless I race, so I had to find somewhere to race."
With one of the strongest batches of cars ever assembled, following the World of Outlaws this season, time trials continue to play a very large role in determining how the night will unfold for the drivers. Last weekend at Knoxville Raceway, Lasoski was third quickest with a very strong 47-car on-hand, which helped put him in a good position all night. He wound ninth in the A-Feature to earn his third Top-10 finish of the season. He was victorious earlier this season during the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida.
"Those first two laps are essential," said the native of Dover, Missouri. "You have to go out and a lay a lap down and you can't have any faults."
Lasoski will look to turn a quick lap in time trials on Friday night at Tri-City Speedway, a track he has been visiting for nearly 30 years. He has gained a loyal legion of fans at the suburban St. Louis track over the years, which is just a few hours from his home in Missouri. He looks to have another strong run at the track this weekend, as the World of Outlaws will hold their 51st race at the facility dating back to 1979.
"If I had to call a place home, along with Knoxville, Tri-City (Speedway) would be another one," he said. "We always enjoy racing there and are looking forward to it."
On Friday, May 9 at Tri-City Speedway, Reserved tickets in the Top-Five rows will be $32, with General Admission tickets $30. Children 12-under will be admitted free to the general admission seating area with a paying adult. The Grandstand gates will open at 12:00 p.m. Central on Friday, May 9. For tickets call 1-800-617-9077. There will be autograph session at the track featuring Craig Dollansky, Chad Hillier, Terry McCarl, Jason Sides and Shane Stewart at 5:30 p.m. prior to the event.