From Tony Veneziano
McCool Junction, NE-June 24, 2010- Jason Sides is one of just a handful of World of Outlaws drivers that will be competing this weekend that has raced at both Junction Motor Speedway and Lakeside Speedway, as the series heads to the Heartland for a pair of events as the 2010 schedule begins to shift into high gear.
The World of Outlaw will make their debut at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Nebraska on Friday, June 25 and will return to Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas for the first time since 2003 on Saturday, June 26. Both events will pay $10,000 to win and will feature full racing programs.
Sides, who has won twice this season, competed at Junction Motor Speedway in 2006 and has one start at Lakeside Speedway with that coming in 2003. While he has raced at both tracks, he doesn’t really see that as being too much of an advantage since it’s been four and seven years respectively since he has visited either facility.
“You really do have to treat it like somewhere you are going for the first time,” shared Sides of the tracks on the docket this weekend. “It’s been so long since we were there and things have changed with tires and things. The one advantage we may have may be gear selection and gear size, but that’s about it.”
With the level of competition at an all-time high this season with the World of Outlaws, Sides is quick to point out that everyone will be up to speed pretty quick both nights this weekend, even though many of the drivers are visiting one or both of the tracks for the first time. The event at Junction Motor Speedway will be the third of four inaugural events this season for the World of Outlaws.
“You never really have an advantage with these guys, no matter if you are going somewhere for the first time or tenth time,” he quipped. “You go in there and the track may be different, but these guys get up to speed pretty quick.”
Sides, who claimed the 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award with the World of Outlaws, enters the weekend a very solid fourth in the series championship standings on the strength of two wins and 20 Top-10 finishes, with 10 of those being Top-Five performances. It marks the highest position that Sides has been in at this point of the season in his career with the World of Outlaws.
“We’ve had a good year so far and I’m very happy with how it’s going,” stated the veteran driver. “We’ve won a couple of times and hopefully we can win a few more and stay in the Top-Five.”
Sides recently welcomed back crew member Shane Finch, who made the trip over from Australia for the summer, to help turn the wrenches on the Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim. Finch has worked with Sides in the past and spent a majority of last season on the road along with fellow crew member Doug Rankin, who has been with Sides for the last couple of seasons.
“It really does help and makes things a little easier,” Sides said with a smile of having a second full-time crew member. “It takes a little of the workload off of Doug (Rankin). He has busted his butt all year. To get Finchy back is a good deal for both of us.”
Sides finished a career-best fifth in points last season with the World of Outlaws on the strength of two wins, with a career-high 47 Top-10 finishes with 24 of those being Top-Five performances. He was second in the series in fast time honors in time trials, stopping the clock first 10 times, which was also a career-best. He was also among the Top-Five in laps led on the season and won the dash five times to earn pole positions in main events.
“It did carry over,” said Sides when asked if the momentum he built up last season transferred to this year. “We had a good year last year and have started this year off very good. Hopefully we can keep that up all year.”
Sides has been fast right out of the box most nights this season, setting quick time twice and being among the Top-10 in qualifying 15 times. He has raced his way into the dash 14 times to earn Top-10 starting spots in feature events and has an average finish of 8.4 this season through the first 27 races of the year.
“The more we go to these places and the more track time we get, really seems to help,” he noted when asked about his success the last couple of years. “Having laps helps when you go out early in the night. You kind of have an idea of what you need and what you need the car to do.”
One of the biggest changes this season for the World of Outlaws has been the implementation of double file restarts, which has brought some exciting racing. Sides has used double file restarts to his benefit a number of times this year, coming from 15th to finish 3rd at I-55 Raceway as well as charging from 27th to seventh at Williams Grove Speedway, 17th to sixth at Knoxville and 21st to 10 th at Thunderbowl Raceway.
“They have helped us a few times and hurt us a few as well, but we seem to be getting the hang of them now and they seem to be playing into our favor,” said Sides. “The fans really seem to enjoy them which is great.”
Sides has been one of the most consistent drivers this season and is currently one of just six drivers that has won at least twice as he picked up a thrilling win at Houston Raceway Park back in March and followed that up with a triumph in the World of Outlaws inaugural visit to Tri-City Speedway in Franklin, Pennsylvania on Memorial Day Weekend. With the schedule picking up in the next couple of weeks, he looks to keep the consistency he has started with the season to contend for wins as the series will visit a number of tracks he has plenty of laps at and traditionally runs well at in the past.
“A good strong summer would be getting some more wins and getting Top-10s and Top-Fives,” he said. “The motor situation is going to be tough. We have a few of them back right now getting rebuilt. We’ll keep at it and keep working hard.”
On Friday, June 25 at Junction Motor Speedway, general admission tickets will be $30 for adults in advance and $35 the day of the race, with general admission tickets for children ages 6-12 $15, while kids five-under admitted free of charge in the general admission section. Adult reserved tickets will be $33 in advance and $35 the day of the race, with reserved tickets for children ages 12-under $15 in advance and $15 the day of the race. Pit combos are also available for advance purchase only for $38, which includes a reserved ticket and a pit pass. For tickets call SLS Promotions at 815-344-2023 or the track at 402-773-5538 ext 539.
On Saturday, June 26 at Lakeside Speedway, general admission tickets will be $30 for adults in advance and $35 the day of the race, with general admission tickets for children ages 6-12 $15, while kids five-under admitted free of charge in the general admission section. Adult reserved tickets will be $33 in advance and $35 the day of the race, with reserved tickets for children ages 12-under $15 in advance and $15 the day of the race. Pit combos are also available for advance purchase only for $38, which includes a reserved ticket and a pit pass. For tickets call SLS Promotions at 815-344-2023 or the track at 913-299-2040.