From Inside Line Promotions
– PERRIS, Calif. (April 16, 2013) – Last weekend was a new scenario for Austen Wheatley, who ventured to Kings Speedway for the first time and to Perris Auto Speedway for only his second appearance.
When Wheatley arrived on Friday at Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif., he noticed it resembled one of his strongest tracks – Attica Raceway Park. Riding high expectations, Wheatley and the team struggled with the setup on the slick track early in the night with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series.
He qualified 23rd, which put him in the second-to-last position of his heat race. While the team improved on the setup from qualifying, Wheatley was unable to earn a spot in the feature through the heat race and was relegated to the Last Chance Showdown.
“I almost air mailed the thing in qualifying,” he said. “If you qualify bad with the Outlaws, you’re way, way behind.”
Wheatley found some grip and created momentum in the high groove around the 3/8-mile oval, where he finished fourth in the LCS to earn a spot in the main event.
“We made it through the B Main and kind of struggled with setup early in the night, but got it in the right direction in the A Main,” he said.
Wheatley started 22nd and worked his way toward the front dozen when disaster struck in the final 10 laps. After hitting a hole in turn two, Wheatley’s car hopped the cushion and slid off the track. It dropped him outside the top 20 and he finished 22nd.
After a nearly five-hour drive south to Perris, the team wrapped up the weekend on a dramatically different track Saturday.
The famed half mile was super fast all night and with qualifying as critical as ever, Wheatley timed in four-tenths of a second slower than the invert.
With only 21 cars at the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event, all drivers were locked in through the heat races and Wheatley started the 30-lap feature 20th.
Without a single caution in the race and passing at a premium, Wheatley maneuvered to place 17th – earning him the KSE Hard Charger Award.
“If you don’t qualify well, you’re behind a lot of good people,” he said. “It was a tough track to pass on because it was so fast, so it was good to be able to move forward.”
Wheatley is taking the next few weeks off to focus on his apparel business – Downforce Designs – before returning to regional action. He is planning to rejoin the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series in the Midwest in a couple of months.
QUICK RESULTS –
April 12 – Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif. – Qualifying: 23; Heat race: 8 (8); B Main: 4 (5); Feature: 22 (22).
April 13 – Perris Auto Speedway in Perris, Calif. – Qualifying: 20; Heat race: 7 (7); Feature: 17 (20).
SEASON STATS –
11 races, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s, 0 top 15s, 2 top 20s
UP NEXT –
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Redlined Welding & Construction
Redlined Welding & Construction performs welding and construction for fishing boats and processors. Based out of Lake Stevens, Wash., Redlined Welding & Construction is owned and operated by Austen’s father, Shannon Wheatley.
“Redlined Welding & Construction is a family business and we race with a family team, so without Redlined Welding & Construction I wouldn’t be able to race,” Austen Wheatley said. “It is the heart and soul of this team.”
Wheatley would also like to thank WolfWeld, Downforce Designs, The Oil Medics, Fire-Down Graphics, BR Motorsports, Astro Titanium, Bell and King Racing Products for their continued support.