By Tony Veneziano
Concord, NC-May 17, 2010-
Taking it all in: Ted Christopher, 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Series champion, was on hand at Williams Grove Speedway on Friday night to take in all the action. The veteran driver had attended one prior World of Outlaws event at Lebanon Valley Speedway in New York and also attended a sprint car race at Grandview Speedway in Pennsylvania last year. The Connecticut native spent a lot of time in the pit area and was able to talk to several drivers including: including: Cody Darrah, Doug Esh, Steve Kinser, Daryn Pittman, Fred Rahmer Sammy Swindell and Lucas Wolfe among others.
“It was awesome,” Christopher said of his time at the famed half-mile. “The World of Outlaws and Williams Grove Speedway know how to put on a professional and well-run show. The speeds those guys hit at Williams Grove Speedway is amazing. It takes some great talent and a lot of skill to drive a car that fast into a tight turn like they have at The Grove.”
Making history: Fred Rahmer became the first driver ever to win a World of Outlaws A-Feature event starting in the 24th position on Friday night, which marks the farthest back a winner has ever come from in the series 30-plus year history. Following the first lap melee that involved at least 10 cars, Rahmer lined up 14th on the complete restart and steadily worked his way to the front, coming from third to first with just two laps remaining. The win for Rahmer extended the Pennsylvania Posse’s win streak to six over the World of Outlaws, which is the biggest win streak for the home track drivers in the history of the rivalry.
“As one of the older guys out here, I am very proud to be part of this deal and it’s one of the tougher places they (the World of Outlaws regulars) go to race, but I’m sure they’ll have their day soon,” shared Rahmer when asked about the win streak.
A strong weekend: Joey Saldana entered the East Coast swing third in points, 20 markers out of the lead and wrapped up the weekend atop the series standings with a 13-point advantage over 20-time series champion Steve Kinser and a 20-mark edge on third-place Jason Meyers. Saldana finished second and fourth at Williams Grove Speedway and was second at Virginia Motor Speedway. He set fast time last Thursday night to earn five bonus points in time trials and was fourth quick on Friday to earn two points and was second quick on Saturday night to earn four points. He has been among the Top-Five in time trials a series-best eight times in 2010 to earn bonus points in the championship standings.
“We had a great car this weekend,” shared Saldana. “The car was probably better than we have ever had at Williams Grove. We’ve had a few good finishes there, but we put the whole night together, from qualifying to the heat race to the dash to the feature. We put everything together and that’s what you need to do there, because it’s so hard to make up when you have a bad night. Usually when I come out of there, I hope to maintain with these guys and to come out of there actually gaining on these guys was huge for me mentally. We worked really hard on our car and our motor and everything and went in there and was positive about the whole situation. We didn’t let the whole ‘Williams Grove Effect’ get us down or get us thinking differently. We went in there like we should and treated it like any other race and had a legit shot to win the first one.”
Just do it: Following a very late night at Williams Grove Speedway due to a couple of rain delays on Friday night, World of Outlaws teams had a very quick turnaround to head down to Virginia Motor Speedway, which left everyone with just a couple of hours of sleep. Jason Meyers, shook off a couple of runs at Williams Grove that did not quite meet his expectations to win at Virginia Motor Speedway after setting fast time at the half-mile as well. The California native is currently third in points, just 20 markers behind leader Joey Saldana as he chases his first series title.
“I really have to thank my wife Robyn,” said Meyers in Victory Lane on Saturday night. “We were making the four hour drive here after being up until four in the morning. I was down about the last two nights I just had, and was whining and complaining. She told me to shut up and just go out there and do what I do. We did that tonight. We got here and just worried about what we needed to do.”
Double digit winners: Fred Rahmer became the 10th different winner this season with the World of Outlaws when he took the checkered flag last Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway in just the 17th race of the season, marking the least number of races in series history that it took for there to be double digit winners in a season. In what is shaping up to be another of the most competitive seasons in series history a total of 18 drivers have led laps in the first 18 A-Feature events in 2010. A total of 11 drivers have been fastest in time trials this season, while 10 drivers have won at least one dash to earn a pole position for an A-Feature event.
Turning it around : Sam Hafertepe Jr. picked up his best finish of the season on Saturday night at Williams Grove Speedway coming home second after leading 15 laps. The native of Sunnyvale, Texas had been looking to change his fortune this year as he continues to close in on his first World of Outlaws win. While he was disappointed he did not pick up the win, he was very pleased with the performance of his race and his team and looks to build on that momentum in the coming weeks.
“We’ve been having a lot of bad luck this year, and for nothing to break the whole 30 laps kind of surprised me to be honest,” said Hafertepe on Friday night. “We’ve been having too many malfunctions and to come out and finish second with the group of guys they have out here is remarkable. These guys are awesome and you give them all the credit in the world. They definitely have their stuff together and we just fell a little short tonight.”
A new addition: Chad Kemenah recently welcomed veteran crew chief Bonzai Bruns to his team. The pair had worked together in the past and won with the World of Outlaws last season in the series final race ever at the famed Manzanita Speedway in Arizona. Kemenah, who has been doing most of the work on his race car himself this season, turned in a very solid ninth-place run at Virginia Motor Speedway on Saturday night to earn his fourth Top-10 finish of the year. He is currently 13th in points.
“We worked together a little bit last year with the Hard 8 Racing Team and did pretty good together,” said Kemenah. “Maybe we can kind of pick up where we were last year and get things turned around and be running up front.”
Still learning after all these year: Sammy Swindell turned in a very strong performance in the opener at Williams Grove, charging all the way to third in the waning laps. Swindell began the night by turning in the second fastest lap in trials of the 45 cars that took to the track. The three-time series champion finished eighth in the dash to earn a fourth row starting spot in the A-Feature. He fell back to 10th early in the race and began his march to the front on the 17 th lap and was up to fifth just three laps later. He had one of the fastest cars on the track over the last five laps of the race as he continues to fill in for the injured Terry McCarl.
“I learn every night,” Swindell said after the race on Friday. “If you don’t learn things and find new things, you’ll get complacent and start getting beat. We always go back and look at everything and see if we can’t tune it up a little bit. That’s what we’ve been doing every race. We sit down and look at the numbers and how the car felt and how I was driving and we try to come up with a solution or a combination of stuff to make it better. We’ve been doing that almost every race. We’ve been learning these cars and the tires and the motors. Everything is a bit different and we’re starting to get everybody really organized and they are believing in what I am doing. It’s just working really well for us.”
Getting back on track: Following a very solid sixth-place finish in the finale at Eldora on May 8, Daryn Pittman had a consistent East Coast swing in just his third weekend together with the Buchs team. He finished third in the finale at Williams Grove Speedway after starting 14th. He also raced his way into the feature event in the opener at the famed half-mile with a very stout 45-car field in attendance. He wrapped up the weekend finishing just outside of the Top-10 at Virginia Motor Speedway.
“It’s fun to have a smile on my face and to be driving something this fast and remembering that I know how to do this,” said Pittman after his podium finish last Friday night. “It makes it a lot of fun. I’m just enjoying it and if we keep running this strong we’ll win one.”
What a crew: Erin Crocker made her first World of Outlaws start of the season at Virginia Motor Speedway on Saturday night. She had a very strong crew turning the wrenches for her, with husband/car owner Ray Evernham leading the way, along with veteran sprint car crew chief Guy Forbrook and longtime sprint car mechanic Ray Brooks.
On sale now: Tickets for the third round of the Showdown for the Bud Crown, Kasey’s King of Sedalia Presented By Budweiser at Sedalia’s State Fair Speedway in Missouri on June 16 are on sale now. Kasey Kahne, who is promoting the event along with the World Racing Group, will race at Sedalia. Tickets are also available for the final round of the Showdown for the Bud Crowd, Kasey’s King of LaSalle Presented By Budweiser at LaSalle Speedway in Illinois on July 8. Tickets are also available now for the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup Twin 30’s at Lernerville Speedway on July 20. To purchase tickets for these events visit www.worldofoutlaws.com/tickets.
Up next: The World of Outlaws return to the Midwest for a stop at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio on Friday, May 21 followed by a visit to I-96 Speedway in Michigan on Saturday, May 22.
Keep up with all the action: The number of “Followers” keeping up with the World of Outlaws via Twitter online and through text messages on cell phones continues to grow and recently surpassed the 3,700 “Follower” mark. Updates are provided throughout race nights beginning with hot laps and continuing all the way through the final checkered flag of the night. To sign-up visit: http://twitter.com/worldofoutlaws and receive live race updates, anywhere, anytime.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Chizmark & Larson Insurance, Goodyear Tires (Official Tire), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel); in addition to contingency sponsors, Jake’s Custom Golf Carts, KSE Race Products, Penske Shocks, Racing Electronics, S&S Volvo; Engine Builder’s Challenge participants Don Ott Racing Engines, Kistler Engines, Shaver Specialties and Speedway Engines; and Chassis Builder’s Challenge participants J&J Auto Racing, Maxim Racing and XXX Race Company.