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Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Thunderbowl Raceway The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is set for two full nights of racing on Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23 at Thunderbowl ...

Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Thunderbowl Raceway

The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is set for two full nights of racing on Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California. The high-banked 1/3-mile has hosted the series nine times dating back to 2003, including three events last season. Another three dates are on the calendar for the 2008 campaign.

After a rainout last weekend, this will be the fourth event of the nine-plus month tour that will take the series from coast-to-coast and up to Canada twice. Craig Dollansky leads the championship standings, after earning three Top-Five finishes during the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida to open the season. Jason Meyers, who hails from Clovis, California, just 30 miles from Thunderbowl Raceway, also earned three Top-Five finishes and is just 10 markers behind. Both drivers will be seeking their first win with the series at the high-banked 1/3-mile.

A strong field is expected for the first sprint car event of the Northern California season, with 20 drivers currently following the World of Outlaws full-time. Also in action will be Tim Kaeding, who won at the track last season and is currently seventh in World of Outlaws points. Also in action will be 20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser, two-time defending series titlist Donny Schatz and 2001 champ Danny Lasoski, among others.

2007 Event Recap(s):

In the first of three races for the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at the high-banked 1/3-mile last season, Joey Saldana chased down pole sitter Jac Haudenschild in the second half of the race to pick up the $10,000 win on February 23.

Saldana charged around Haudenschild on the bottom of the front straight-a-way on the 24th lap to earn the 23rd A-Feature win of his career.

Saldana lined up on the outside of the front row for the 35-lap contest and lost a spot early, before powering his way around Tim Shaffer on the 11th lap, before setting his sights on Haudenschild for the next 13 circuits.

Late in the race, Saldana endured some very heavy lapped traffic and had a couple of close calls, as the slower machines forced him to change lines and take evasive measures. After a late restart, he pulled away and had nearly a quarter of a lap lead on Haudenschild when the checkered flag flew. Shaffer wound up third, hometown favorite Jason Meyers was fourth and former Thunderbowl winner Terry McCarl was fifth.

The following night, Tim Kaeding scored one of the most emotional wins of his career, as he dominated the event from start to finish, driving a team car for Steve Kinser Racing.

Kaeding dedicated the win to his grandmother who passed away earlier in the week. He began the night along with his brother Bud by turning a tribute lap for their grandmother. He capped the night off by pulling a wheelie down the front straight-a-way after the checkered flag and then turning donuts for the enthusiastic crowd that was on hand.

Kaeding took the lead on the opening lap when pole sitter Jason Meyers jumped the cushion exiting the first turn. From there, the native of San Jose opened up some very sizeable advantages, while enduring a couple of cautions and a red flag period with nine laps remaining.

With the laps winding down, Terry McCarl made a valiant charge at Kaeding. He closed to within a couple car lengths in heavy traffic with less than 10 laps remaining. After starting in the 11th spot, the native of Altoona, Iowa burst into the Top-Five within the first 12 laps of the event. Donny Schatz finished third, with Justin Henderson fourth and Jason Meyers fifth.

The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series wrapped up their trio of visits to Thunderbowl Raceway last season with the inaugural Dave Helm Memorial on October 13. The event honored the long time car owner who passed away in February of 2007, and called Selma, California home, which is a half-hour from Tulare.

Donny Schatz continued a late season tear as he picked up his third consecutive victory, which helped him cement his second consecutive series title.

The North Dakota native started on the pole and jumped to an early lead, battling a rough race track and an early charge from California native Ronnie Day and a late charge from Jason Sides and Tim Kaeding. Schatz used a strong restart after a caution with two laps to go, to claim the $10,000 top prize for his series leading 19th A-Feature win of the season and the 70th of his World of Outlaws career, which put him in a tie with Dave Blaney for sixth on the all-time win list.

Early in the race, Schatz maintained a slight lead over Day, who closed the gap on the seventh lap as the pair entered heavy lapped traffic. While Schatz was running the high side of the track in traffic, Day looked low a couple of times exiting the third and fourth turns, but did not have enough momentum to make the pass. The caution flew on the eighth lap, giving the leaders a clear race track ahead of them.

On the ensuring restart, Schatz jumped to a four car length lead as the pair entered the first and second turns. At this time, Jason Sides began to close on Day and worked on the veteran driver, slipping around him on the 19th lap to move into the runner-up spot.

Sides quickly began to close in on Schatz in lapped traffic, with Day and Tim Kaeding right behind him. With less than 10 laps to go, the Top-Five were all under a blanket. Kaeding got around Day on the 24th lap to move into third, before the caution flew two laps later.

Schatz used a strong restart to pull away from Sides and Kaeding, when the caution flew with two laps to go. Again Schatz used a strong restart to jump to a comfortable lead, while Kaeding tried one last time to get around Sides, with the latter holding on for the second position. Day came home fourth with Kerry Madsen in fifth.

What to look for this year at Thunderbowl Raceway:

*All three drivers that were victorious at Thunderbowl Raceway last season with the series will be in action this weekend and all are multiple-time winners at the 1/3-mile: Donny Schatz, Joey Saldana and Tim Kaeding.

* Current Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series point leader Craig Dollansky has four Top-10 finishes in his career at the track.

* Jason Meyers, who is second in Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship points has won five times in his career at Thunderbowl Raceway, including claiming the overall title in the Trophy Cup last November.

*Steve Kinser has seven Top-10 finishes with the series in nine starts at the 1/3-mile to lead all drivers, including four Top-Five finishes, he was victorious in 2003.

* Six of the seven drivers that have won an A-Feature event at the track with the series dating back to 2003 will be in action this weekend, including all three drivers who were victorious in 2007.

* Terry McCarl came from the 17th starting spot to win at Tulare in 2004, and led just one lap to earn the $12,000 victory.

* Of the 20 drivers competing full-time with the series this season, 17 of them competed at Thunderbowl Raceway last season.

*Shane Stewart last competed with the World of Outlaws at Thunderbowl Raceway in 2005 and earned Top-10 finishes in all three of those events.

*Kraig Kinser last competed at the high-banked 1/3-mile in 2005, when he earned a fourth-place finish. He currently drives for Tony Stewart Racing as a teammate to Schatz.

* Lucas Wolfe, who is a contender for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award, will make his first trip to California to race this weekend.

By the Numbers- Thunderbowl Raceway:

0.333- Miles around Thunderbowl Raceway

1-Lap led by Terry McCarl when he won at the track on October 30, 2004

2- Drivers that have earned Top-Five finishes in all three events this season: Craig Dollansky and Jason Meyers

3- Events at the track this season for the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series; Drivers that won with the series at the track in 2007

5- Wins for Jason Meyers during his career at the high-banked 1/3-mile in his home state with a number of different series

6- Drivers that have set fast time with the World of Outlaws at Thunderbowl Raceway dating back to 2003

7- Drivers that have won in the seven A-Feature events contested at the track dating back to 2003

9- Events contested by the World of Outlaws at the track including preliminary features since 2003

10- Points that separate Craig Dollansky and Jason Meyers atop the series standings

12- Laps led by Joey Saldana to win at the track on February 23, 2007 12.740-Track record established by Kevin Swindell in time trials on October 29, 2004

17- Drivers competing with the series this season that competed at Thunderbowl Raceway last season

20- Drivers currently competing full-time with the World of Outlaws this season

31- Laps led by 20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser in his career with the series at the high-banked 1/3-mile

35- Laps led by two-time defending series champion Donny Schatz to win the Dave Helm Memorial last year

43- Laps led by Jac Haudenschild during his career in World of Outlaws events at Thunderbowl Raceway

47- Drivers that have competed with the series thus far in 2008

75- Points that separates the Top-10 in the current series championship standings

1997- Miles from Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, Mississippi where the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series were scheduled to race last weekend to Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California

2003- First year the World of Outlaws competed at Thunderbowl Raceway 10,000- Dollars the winner will receive on Friday, February 22; Dollars the winner will receive on Saturday, February 23

Tickets:

On Friday, February 22, at Thunderbowl Raceway tickets for seats in the bleachers will be $35, while tickets for seats in the grandstand will be $40. For ticket information call (559) 688-0909 or visit www.thunderbowlraceway.com.

On Saturday, February 23, at Thunderbowl Raceway tickets for seats in the bleachers will be $40, while tickets for seats in the grandstand will be $45. For ticket information call (559) 688-0909 or visit www.thunderbowlraceway.com.

Next Up:

A visit to the famed half-mile Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Arizona for a full night of racing on Saturday, March 1.

-credit: woo

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Tim Shaffer , Kevin Swindell , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Craig Dollansky , Jason Meyers , Jason Sides , Joey Saldana , Kerry Madsen , Kraig Kinser , Shane Stewart , Lucas Wolfe , Dave Blaney , Jac Haudenschild , Tim Kaeding