By Gary Thomas
Calistoga, CA – March 26, 2011…There isn’t a much better combination than beautiful scenery and the sound of 410 Sprint Cars rocketing down the straight-aways of Calistoga Speedway, which will be presented front and center next week with the World of Outlaws taking to the famed half-mile dirt oval.
The night of action on Saturday April 2 will be the first World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series appearance at the Napa County Fairgrounds facility since 2007 and is the finale of an extended early season swing for the tour. Already picking up victories in the Golden State have been the “Crowd Pleaser” Craig Dollansky and the “Brownsburg Bullet” Joey Saldana.
For reigning Calistoga Speedway champion Kyle Larson it will mark his first start with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at the track and he is excited about the prospects of taking on the country’s top Winged Sprint Car drivers.
“I’m really looking forward to Calistoga next weekend and seeing how the new dirt works out,” said Larson, who began his sprint car career the same season the World of Outlaws made their most recent appearance at Calistoga Speedway. “We had a pretty good year at the track last season and are excited to race against the Outlaws for the first time there.”
Making the outing even more important for Larson is the fact that the 18-year-old drives a car supported by Calistoga businessman Rich Stadelhofer, who has been a major backer of the youngster. The Elk Grove native last season drove the Stadelhofer Construction No. 99 to the Golden State 410 Sprint Series title, but came up short of getting into victory lane at Calistoga Speedway.
“Rich Stadelhofer has done a lot for my career and I owe a lot to him so we definitely would love to put this car up front on April 2,” commented Larson. “Calistoga is such a historic track and winning a race there is definitely something I want to do. We were in position a couple times last year and hopefully we’ll have a chance next weekend with the Outlaws.”
Twenty-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser of Bloomington, Indiana and fellow Indiana wheel-man Joey Saldana from Brownsburg will lead the series into Calistoga, currently tied at the top of the standings heading into Thursday’s make-up feature at the Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford.
Now in his second season driving for Tony Stewart Racing, Kinser seems to be back to old ways, having claimed four wins and five top-five finishes in the early events of 2011. In his storied career Kinser has captured 10-victories at the Calistoga Speedway and will be searching to kick it up a notch on April 2, after a couple of finishes outside the top-five have allowed Saldana to match him for the point lead.
With that said, Saldana has been very hot over the past few races and has began to show the kind of form it takes to earn that elusive first World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series title, in what is his sixth season driving for Kasey Kahne Racing. During the most recent WOO event at the Tulare Thunderbowl on March 19 Saldana drove the Red Bull No. 9 to his second victory of 2011 and series leading seventh top-five finish.
After becoming the first Californian to claim the World of Outlaw title last season Clovis, CA’s Jason Meyers will look to pick up his first ever series win at the Calistoga Speedway, a track he has claimed three victories at in his career. Meyers was also the 2002 Calistoga track champion and goes into next weekend ranking third in the WOO standings, 54-markers behind the Kinser/Saldana duo.
Car owner Dennis Roth will field a trio of entries with fan-favorites Jac Haudenschild of Wooster, Ohio; Tim Kaeding of San Jose and Paul McMahan of Nashville, Tennesee completing the line-up in the famed No. 83 sprint cars. All three have won multiple main events in their Calistoga Speedway careers with “Haud” claiming six victories, “TK” winning five and McMahan at four.
Other drivers set to take on the newly resurfaced Calistoga Speedway will include four-time WOO champion Donny Schatz of Fargo, ND; three-time champ Sammy Swindell of Germantown, TN; Bartlett, TN’s Jason Sides; Elk River, MN’s Craig Dollansky; Mechanicsburg, PA’s Lucas Wolfe; Red Lion, PA’s Cody Darrah; Findlay, Ohio’s Chad Kemenah; Chico’s Jonathan Allard; Vancouver, WA’s Zach Zimmerly and more.
Tickets for the Calistoga Speedway return are on sale and can be purchased by logging onto http://www.worldofoutlaws.com/tickets or by calling (704) 795-7223.
Adult advance reserved tickets for April 2 cost $45 and include a complimentary fan pit pass, which will allow people incredible access to all the stars of the World of Outlaws. The special fan pit pass offer expires at Midnight on April 1. General admission tickets will cost $39 with children 12 and under just $9.
The Calistoga Speedway is located on the scenic Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga, California at 1435 North Oak Street and has been in existence since 1937. Following the World of Outlaw event, the track will go dark until Memorial Day weekend, which will feature the Golden State King of the West Sprint Car Series competing in back-to-back nights of racing on May 28 and 29. More information on the tour can be found at http://www.kwssprints.com
For more information on the half-mile log onto http://www.calistogaspeedway.org and for more on the April 2 WOO event visit http://www.motorsportventures.com/