World Finals Notes: Cars, Fans & Parade Laps
CONCORD, N.C. — The PEAK Motor Oil World of Outlaws World Finals was easily the most successful rendition of the event at The Dirt Track at Charlotte with cars filling the pit area and fans lining the fences and spilling over into the pits as the event was sold out for the second consecutive year and a large number of standing-room-only tickets were sold.
One of the unexpected attractions of the three-day program was the collective four-wide parade lap, which saw all three competing divisions take the track at the same time with fireworks blasting and music blaring as the three 24-car fields circled the four-tenths-mile oval.
The racing was competitive throughout the event with Friday night’s features standing out, including the best sprint car race the track has ever hosted with eight lead changes in 30 laps.
The seventh annual World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte has been scheduled for Nov. 7-9, 2013.
• Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion Jimmy Owens and World of Outlaws Late Model Series title winner Darrell Lanigan each enjoyed historic seasons en route to winning their respective titles.
But Owens was the class of the field during the World Finals, dominating both dirt late model races and sweeping the event for the second consecutive year. Those victories followed big wins during October in the Dixie Shootout, World Dirt Track Championship and Cotton Pickin’ 100.
Lanigan secured a pair of top-three finishes at The Dirt Track, but had nothing for Owens.
• Daryn Pittman has been hired to replace Joey Saldana as the driver of the Kasey Kahne Racing No. 9 in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series next season.
Pittman made his KKR debut, driving the No. 49 during the World Finals.
• Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard was humbled by his accomplishments this weekend. Sheppard secured his third-straight championship in the series, making him the first driver in the long history of the series to accomplish that. “I went to the races and watched guys like Brett Hearn, Bob McCreadie and the others race modifieds and I haven’t yet been able to grasp that I am now racing against those guys,” said Sheppard. “And to think I’m breaking their records is difficult to believe.”
• When the World of Outlaws confirmed Saturday that Hoosier would return next season as the exclusive tire of the series, members of Donny Schatz’s Tony Stewart Racing team wasted little time getting on board, writing ‘Hoosier’ on the Goodyear tires that adorned the front of the No. 15 Saturday night at The Dirt Track.
• Race track promoters were in abundance at the World Finals. Among those walking the pits were Skagit Speedway’s Steve Beitler, IRA’s Steve Sinclair, Knoxville Raceway’s Brian Stickel and John McCoy and Roger Slack of Eldora Speedway.
• World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz won’t have much time to celebrate his fifth title. The Fargo, N.D., resident is flying home following the banquet in anticipation of the opening of deer hunting season on Nov. 9.
“Usually opening day conflicts with the World Finals, but not this year,” Schatz said with a big smile.
Then it’s off to Arizona’s Canyon Speedway where he will attempt to win his third straight FVP Western World title Nov. 15-17. That event will be followed by a quick trip to Zealand for two weekends of sprint car racing before returning to the states in time for the IMIS show in Indianapolis.
Just hours after celebrating Christmas, Schatz will get back on a plane, this time bound for Australia where he has several sprint car races planned during a three-week period.
• Former Empire Super Sprints champion Mike Woodring, who has owned his own team and worked as a crew chief for other WoO sprint car teams in recent years, had his No. 19 back on the track at Charlotte with Australian Brooke Tatnell behind the wheel.
• Champions were everywhere in the World Finals pit area. In the sprint car class alone were Donny Schatz (World of Outlaws), Dale Blaney (All Stars), Bryan Sebetto (Fremont and Attica), Greg Hodnett (Williams Grove) and Jason Johnson (ASCS point leader).
• Among the talented drivers walking the pits, but not racing this weekend were Fred Rahmer, Rico Abreu and Jason Leffler.
Mike Kerchner and Keith Waltz contributed to this report.