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– ROSSBURG, Ohio (July 18) – Confidence is at an all-time high for Austen Wheatley.
And it should be after the 18-year-old from Lake Stevens, Wash., nearly advanced to the prestigious Kings Royal feature last Saturday at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, where the winner claimed $50,000 in the World of Outlaws’ event.
“We were running fifth, one spot out of a transfer in the B Main, during a caution with six laps to go,” he said. “What I didn’t know was that two of the spark plugs were cracked and the engine stumbled on the restart, so I went backwards.
“Just being that close to a spot in the Kings Royal and then falling to the back was heartbreaking. But to go out there and be running for a transfer against those guys, some of the best in the sport, was a huge confidence boost.”
Wheatley ultimately finished ninth in the B Main – five spots out of a transfer to the coveted feature.
It was a similar story on Friday at Eldora Speedway, where Wheatley overcame a high qualifying performance by charging from 10th to sixth in his heat race. He finished only one spot out of automatically advancing to the feature.
“The car was pretty good and the track was racy,” he said. “I didn’t realize I was only one spot away from a transfer until I got into the pits.”
Because of the qualifying performance, Wheatley had to run the C Main, which he finished second to transfer to the B Main. He then started 18th and finished 14th.
“In the B Main I kind of struggled because the track got slicker and the cushion got higher,” Wheatley said. “The curb was kind of rough and it was pretty high up the track. You had to have a great handling car to be on it.”
Earlier in the week Wheatley competed at another track for the first time – Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio.
“That was a pretty frustrating night,” he said. “We were pretty free all night. We were kind of just chasing it.”
After qualifying 29th and placing eighth in his heat race on Wednesday, Wheatley was caught up in another driver’s flip in the B Main and he was forced to restart at the back. He drove up to eighth, but finished four positions away from a transfer to the feature.
Wheatley will continue his East Coast swing with the World of Outlaws on Tuesday at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Penn., for the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup. He is scheduled to race on Friday and Saturday at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Penn., and Sunday at Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y.
He hasn’t raced at any of those tracks.
QUICK RESULTS –
July 13 – Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio – Qualifying: 29; Heat race: 8 (8); B Main: 8 (10).
July 15 – Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio – Qualifying: 38; Heat race: 6 (10); C Main: 2 (2); B Main: 14 (18).
July 16 – Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio – Qualifying: 31; Heat race: 5 (6); B Main: 9 (10).
SEASON STATS –
18 races, 9 features, 0 wins, 1 top five, 3 top 10s, 4 top 15s, 5 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Tuesday at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Penn., for the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup, Friday and Saturday at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Penn., and Sunday at Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y., with the World of Outlaws
FAVORITE NUMBER –
1: Position out of a transfer last Saturday during the B Main at the World of Outlaws’ Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, with six laps remaining.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
Wheatley has gray and white t-shirts, gray sweatshirts and charcoal gray hats and beanies for sale. For more information, visit www.austenwheatley.com.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – WolfWeld
WolfWeld is a chassis and custom welding company owned by famous sprint car driver Doug Wolfgang. WolfWeld is located in Tea, S.D.
“My dad met Doug Wolfgang in the early 1990s on the World of Outlaws tour,” Wheatley said. “Doug is one of the best welders you can find. When I got into sprint cars, my dad wanted a safe car that would hold up in a wreck. Doug’s cars hold together really good and keep the driver safe.”
Wheatley would like to thank his sponsors, including The Oil Medics, SpeedMart, Fire-Down Graphics, Advanced Racing Suspensions, Astro Titanium, DMI, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Goodyear and Redlined Welding & Construction for their continued support.