Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Williams Grove Speedway Mechanicsburg, PA-- May 13, 2008--.Since the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series inaugural season of 1978, the series has been making an...
Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preview: Williams Grove Speedway
Mechanicsburg, PA-- May 13, 2008--.Since the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series inaugural season of 1978, the series has been making an annual pilgrimage to the famed Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Over that time the rivalry between World of Outlaws drivers and the drivers from the Pennsylvania Posse had become legendary. In eight of the last 10 seasons, a member of the Pennsylvania Posse has won a race with the series at their home track. The two events this week will mark the 94th and 95th A-Feature events sanctioned by the series at the track.
With one of the strongest fields ever assembled traveling full-time with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series this season, the level of competition will be at an all-time high as the series invades the half-mile on Thursday, May 15 and Friday, May 16 for two full nights of racing. Adding even more luster to the event, the cameras from SPEED will be on hand to tape both events for broadcast on May 31 and June 8.
Last season saw three different drivers visit the winner's circle at the track, led by two-time defending Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz's five wins. Also picking up victories, were Pennsylvania natives Chad Layton and Brian Leppo.
Steve Kinser leads all World of Outlaws drivers with 37 total wins at Williams Grove Speedway. The 20-time series champion won for the first time at the track in 1979 and his most recent win came in 2005.
Schatz, the two-time defending series champion won five times at the track last season to bring his career total to 14 wins at Williams Grove. He won the series most recent event at Knoxville Raceway on May 3, which marked his first series victory driving for Tony Stewart Racing and is currently third in the championship standings as he chases his third consecutive title.
Current Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender Lucas Wolfe, who hails from Mechanicsburg, will be making his first start with the series as a full-time member of the tour. He has eight career wins at Williams Grove and competed at the track a number of times earlier this spring, when rain interrupted the World of Outlaws schedule.
Craig Dollansky, the current World of Outlaws point leader won a weekly event at Williams Grove Speedway back in March against a very tough field, including a number of fellow World of Outlaws drivers. The native of Elk River, Minnesota has two A-Feature wins this season and has a 12-point advantage in the standings.
Jason Meyers, who is second in series point finished fourth last spring at Williams Grove. The California native leads the series with three A-Feature wins this season and has seven Top-10 finishes.
Joey Saldana who drives for Kasey Kahne Racing has one career win at the half-mile. He too competed at the track back in March, in an event in which his car owner also competed.
Kerry Madsen, the reigning Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year ran strong at Williams Grove last fall, battling for the lead on the first night of the National Open, before finishing third, and also running up front in the finale before bad luck ended his night.
Two full nights of racing will be in store this week, with time trials, heat races, a Crane Cams Dash, consolation races (C-Main, B-Main) and A-Feature events. Each race will be an A-Feature event and will pay full World of Outlaws championship points.
2007 Race Recaps: The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series competed a total of seven times in 2007 at Williams Grove Speedway. Donny Schatz continued his prowess at Williams Grove Speedway in 2007, winning five of those seven events contested at the half-mile.
His first win came on May 17, in the series first event at the track.
Schatz started the A-main in third and patiently followed Greg Hodnett and Jeff Shepard in the early stages of the race. On lap 16, he shot around Shepard to move into the runner-up spot. He continued to chase Hodnett as the pair got into lapped traffic with the laps winding down. With just three laps remaining, Schatz used the low side of the track to take the lead from Hodnett with just three laps remaining.
Joey Saldana slipped past Hodnett at the end to take the second spot. Jason Meyers was fourth, with Kenny Jacobs fifth.
The next night, Schatz battled 2001 World of Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski for the win.
Lasoski used a strong start to charge into the first turn on the initial green flag, but a caution before the lap was completed led to a complete restart. On the second start Lasoski again shot to the lead and began to pull until a lap seven caution.
Another strong restart kept Lasoski in the lead, but Schatz stayed with him and patiently waited for the pair to enter lapped traffic. On lap 20, they encountered heavy traffic and Schatz dove low and took the lead coming off the second turn. That lead was short lived as Lasoski powered back around coming off turns three and four. At the line, Lasoski was officially scored the leader. In a mirror image of the lap before, Schatz again dove low in the second turn and took the lead on lap 21 and would not relinquish it the rest of the way.
Steve Kinser wound up second, followed by Lasoski, Paul McMahan and Todd Shaffer.
In the opener of the Summer Nationals on July 19, Schatz and Lasoski again battled for the win.
The 25-lap event went non-stop with pole sitter Jason Sides leading the first 17 circuits before Schatz took the point. Early in the race, Sides opened about a 10-car length advantage over Jeff Shepard, as he sought his first win of the season.
On lap 15, Sides entered traffic with Schatz just behind him. Schatz looked low off the second turn for the lead, but could not quite make the pass. On the next lap, Schatz passed Sides on the low side of the first to take the lead, but Sides battled right back in the second turn to regain the point and officially be scored the leader at the line.
Schatz made the pass for the lead and ultimately the win on the 18th lap as he dove under Sides exiting the second turn and quickly began to pull away in traffic. Schatz worked a couple of distinct lines on the track as he negotiated his way through traffic late in the race, while fending off a hard charging Danny Lasoski.
The second night of the three-day event saw Brian Leppo score a win for the Pennsylvania Posse.
Leppo used a strong start from the outside of the front row to win a drag race with Steve Kinser into the first turn. He then opened a consistent lead over the 20-time World of Outlaws champion who was looking for his ninth win of the season.
Several time over the course of the 25-lap event, Kinser looked to the low side of the track in turns one and two and the high side in turns three and four for a way around Leppo. On a couple of occasions he was able to close in on the native of Spring Grove, Pennsylvania but could not quite get even with him.
Lucas Wolfe was third, with Paul McMahan in fourth and Craig Dollansky in fifth.
The finale of the Summer Nationals brought Schatz his third win of the season at the track.
He took the lead on the opening lap, after lining up on the outside of the front row. He won a drag race with Paul McMahan down the long front straightaway at the famed half-mile. He dove to the bottom of the track in the first turn and quickly put a few car lengths between him and McMahan.
Steve Kinser shadowed Schatz for the last 20 laps of the event. With the laps winding down he was able to track Schatz down in traffic and made a couple of attempts to pass him. On the 24th lap he looked low on the back straightaway but could not quite clear the leader. As he exited the fourth turn he tried the same move again on the front straightaway. At the line, the margin of victory was just 0.789 seconds with Kinser finishing in the runner-up spot.
Paul McMahan finished third, with Joey Saldana and Danny Lasoski rounding out the Top-Five.
Chad Layton scored another win for the Pennsylvania Posse on the first night of the National Open on September 28.
He endured a number of early cautions and a couple of red flags, in addition to a hard charging Kerry Madsen. Several times during the first five laps, Madsen dove low in the first turn to inch ahead, with Layton using the high side of the track to power back to the lead as the pair exited the second turn.
This came on the heels of a caution for Steve Kinser, who was fourth when he suffered a problem to his front end that ended his night, and a subsequent red flag for 2006 National Open winner Doug Esh, who got upside-down.
Layton opened about a six-car length on lap five before the caution flew again. On the ensuing restart, Madsen dove low into turn one, reminiscent of the opening lap, and inched ahead as the pair made their way into the second turn, with Layton again taking the lead as Madsen slid high.
Toward the halfway point, Layton began to open a slight lead, while Jeff Shepard began to battle Madsen for runner-up. The leader hit some light traffic on lap 16, continuing to run high as Madsen was able to make up some ground and close. The caution flew for the final time on lap 21, setting up a four-lap shootout.
Layton used a very strong restart to jump to a healthy lead, as T.J Stutts made a late charge on Madsen to take second with Donny Schatz working his way from 21st to fourth at the checkered.
Schatz made history when he won the National Open on September 29, becoming the first driver in sprint car history to win the Knoxville Nationals, Kings Royal, National Open, Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup and Williams Grove Summer Nationals in the same season.
At the start of the National Open finale, he endured a couple of red flags and two complete restarts before a single lap. Two separate five-car incidents plagued the opening. On the third start, Schatz charged down the frontstretch to open a lead over Todd Shaffer, who stayed with him through the first seven laps.
Schatz entered traffic on the eighth lap and began to distance himself from Shaffer. Over the next 25 laps, he extended his lead to well over a full straightaway, when the caution flag flew on lap 33.
On the final restart, Schatz again powered down the front straight and quickly opened a comfortably lead on Shaffer, eventually crossing the finish line over four second ahead.
Lance Dewease was third, with Danny Lasoski fourth and Greg Hodnett fifth.
What to look for at Williams Grove Speedway:
* The World of Outlaws will compete a total of six times at Williams Grove Speedway this season, culminating with the National Open at the end of September.
* The top of the series standings are very tight right now, with Craig Dollansky leading Jason Meyers by 12 points, with Donny Schatz just 20 markers out of the lead. Joey Saldana and Kerry Madsen round out the Top-Five.
* Donny Schatz won five of seven events at the half-mile last season and in his career has a total of 14 wins, including preliminary features.
* Steve Kinser is the winningest driver in World of Outlaws competition at Williams Grove, having scored 37 total wins, dating back to 1979.
*Craig Dollansky won a weekly event at Williams Grove back in March and has three career victories at the track, to go along with 23 Top-10 finishes.
* Lucas Wolfe, who is a contender for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award this season hails from Mechanicsburg and has eight career wins at his home track.
* Joey Saldana competed in a weekly race at Williams Grove in March, finishing second. He has one career win at the track, along with 23 Top-10 finishes.
* Jac Haudenschild has won twice in his career at the half-mile and has nearly 60 Top-10 finishes, dating back to 1983.
By the Numbers- Williams Grove Speedway:
0.5- Miles around Williams Grove Speedway.
2- Drives competing full-time with the World of Outlaws this season that hail from the state of Pennsylvania
3- Drivers that have won feature events at the track in 2007 with the World of Outlaws, Donny Schatz, Chad Layton and Brian Leppo
4- Drivers that have won A-Feature events thus far with the World of Outlaws in 2008
5- Wins for Donny Schatz at the half-mile last season
6- Nights of racing this season for the World of Outlaws at Williams Grove Speedway; Drivers that led laps in feature racing competition with the series at the track in 2007
7- Drivers that have led laps in A-Feature competition this season
12- Points that separate Craig Dollansky and Jason Meyers atop the series standings
16- Drivers competing full-time with the series who competed at Williams Grove last season
16.140- Track record established in time trials by Brian Paulus on April 26, 2002
18- Drivers currently competing full-time with the World of Outlaws
34- Drivers that have won at Williams Grove with the World of Outlaws, including preliminary features
37- Total wins for Steve Kinser at the half-mile including preliminary feature wins
92- Laps led by Donny Schatz at the track last season
93- A-Feature events contested by the World of Outlaws at Williams Grove Speedway dating back to 1978
212- Miles from Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania where the World of Outlaws compete on May 13
1939- Year that racing began at Williams Grove Speedway
1967- Year that weekly sprint car racing began at the track
1978- Year that the World of Outlaws first competed at Williams Grove Speedway
40,100- Dollars earned by Jason Meyers this season to lead the series
Tickets: On Thursday, May 15 at Williams Grove Speedway, Reserved tickets will be $30, with Adult General Admission tickets $28. Tickets for students will be $15, with children 12-under admitted free of charge.
On Friday, May 16 at Williams Grove Speedway Reserved tickets will be $32, with Adult General Admission tickets $30. Tickets for students will be $15, with children 12-under admitted free of charge. There will be an autograph session each night at approximately 5:45 p.m. behind the main grandstand.
Next Up: A stop at the historic Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York on Sunday, May 18.