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Keeping Pace

World of Outlaws Preview: Eagle Nationals at Eagle Raceway

Brian Ellenberger, who is contending for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award this season, finished sixth at Eagle Raceway last season with the All Star Circuit of Champions. He made his first start at the high-banked bullring in 1999.


Courtesy: World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Media Relations

Eagle, NE—The World of Outlaws will celebrate the Fourth of July in style this weekend, as the series heads to the always racy Eagle Raceway in Nebraska for the annual running of the Eagle Nationals at the high-banked 1/3-mile bullring on Saturday. It will mark the series lone visit of the 2009 campaign to the Cornhusker state.

Craig Dollansky was victorious at the track last season, taking the lead from 20-time series champion Steve Kinser on the fourth lap and holding him off for the remainder of the 40-lap event to score his third career triumph at Eagle Raceway.

Kinser has won 24 times in his career with the World of Outlaws at the track, including 15 A-Feature events. His most recent victory at the track came in 2005.

Six drivers that are currently competing full-time with the World of Outlaws have won during their career with the series at the track.

The World of Outlaws competed at the 1/3-mile for the first time back in 1981 and has visited the track every year since 1984. This year’s Eagle Nationals will mark the 25th consecutive year the series has visited the track. There has been a different winner in each of the last five events for the series at the track.



Slidejobs- Eagle Raceway:

An unmatched record: Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion, has 24 career wins at Eagle Raceway with the series, including in preliminary features. He has finished in the Top-10 an amazing 54 times in 58 career starts at the track. He led the first three laps of the event last season before finishing second. His most recent win at the track came in 2005, a season in which he won all four races contested by the World of Outlaws at the track, leading every single lap. He has won once this season and is currently fourth in points on the strength of a series-best 27 Top-10 finishes.


Four score: Donny Schatz has won four times at Eagle Raceway in his career, with the most recent coming in the fall of 2006. The three time and defending series champion has finished 10th or better in eight consecutive events at the 1/3-mile, including a fourth-place performance last season. The North Dakota native has won eight times this year and is the current series point leader as he chases his fourth consecutive series title.


Looking to repeat: Craig Dollansky was victorious for the third time in his career at Eagle Raceway last season, battling Steve Kinser for the win. He has 15 Top-10 finishes at the 1/3-mile dating back to a win in 2000 in a Gumout Series event. Dollansky has 22 Top-10 finishes this season as he chases his first win since joining the Kasey Kahne Racing team for the 2009 campaign.


A long time coming: Joey Saldana won for the first time in his career at Eagle Raceway in 2007, after making nearly 30 starts at the track. With a number of family members from the Lincoln, Nebraska area in attendance, it was an emotional win for the second generation driver. He leads the World of Outlaws with 11 triumphs this season and was victorious on a 1/3-mile earlier in the year at Thunderbowl Raceway in California. He has over 20 Top-10 finishes in his career at Eagle. He also holds the track record, set in time trials in 2002.

“For me to be able to race there and them (family members) be able to come out and see what I do and be part of it is really neat,” noted Saldana. “My dad grew up racing there so that makes it really neat. It’s a hard place to win at so hopefully we can do it again.”


Oh so close: Jason Meyers has been close to winning at Eagle Raceway a couple of times in his career. He finished third at the track last season and was fifth in 2007. He has finished in the Top-10 in six of his last seven starts at the track. He has won four times this season and is currently third in the series standings.


Looking to change his luck: Jason Sides has had some tough luck in his last two starts at Eagle Raceway and looks to change that this weekend as he carries momentum from a Top-Five finish at Knoxville Raceway last Saturday night with him, in a race in which he passed the most cars to earn the Hard Charger Award. Another strong pair of races last weekend vaulted him into fifth in the series standings on the strength of 23 Top-10 finishes.


A strong track record: Danny Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws champion, has two career wins with the series at Eagle Raceway, along with 30 Top-10 finishes, including seven in his last eight starts at the track. He was fourth in his most recent start at the track in 2007. The native of Dover, Missouri recently won his second race of the year and is up to sixth in the series standings as he continues his first season driving for the Parsons Motorsports team.


Carrying momentum: Kraig Kinser heads into the pair of races this weekend carrying the momentum of three consecutive finishes of fourth or better. He was third in both races last weekend and moved up to eighth in the championship standings on the strength of 16 Top-10 finishes. The third generation driver has five career Top-10 finishes at Eagle Raceway.


Bullring blitz:
Jac Haudenschild has four career wins at Eagle Raceway, dating back to 1989. He has nearly 40 career Top-10 finishes at the bullring, including in each of his first nine starts at the track between 1986 and 1989. The recent inductee into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame has 14 Top-10 finishes this season as he chases down his first win of the year. He was seventh at Eagle last season and second in 2007.


First time visitor: Lucas Wolfe, the reigning Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, will make his first trip to Eagle Raceway this weekend. He missed the race there last season as he was recovering from an injury suffered at the beginning of the summer. The native of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania has five Top-10 finishes this season with three of those being Top-Fives.


Still learning the track: Sam Hafertepe Jr. will make the third visit of his career to Eagle Raceway this weekend. He finished ninth at the track last season. The third-year driver has five Top-10 finishes this season with three of those being Top-Fives. He is just outside of the Top-10 in the series standings.


A return visit: Brian Ellenberger, who is contending for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award this season, finished sixth at Eagle Raceway last season with the All Star Circuit of Champions. He made his first start at the high-banked bullring in 1999. He has a couple of Top-10 finishes this season as he continues to gain priceless experience in his first full season on the road.


By the Numbers: Eagle Raceway:
0.333- Miles around Eagle Raceway
1- Event in the state of Nebraska this season for the World of Outlaws
2-Drivers that led laps in the A-Feature event at the track last season
3- Events this season on 1/3-mile tracks for the World of Outlaws
6- Drivers currently competing full-time with the World of Outlaws that have won at Eagle Raceway with the series
11- Drivers that have won A-Feature events with the series this season
11.124- Track record set by Joey Saldana in time trials in 2002
12- Drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws this season
14- Drivers that have been quickest in time trials in 2009
16- Drivers that have won a Crane Cams Dash to earn a pole position this year
21- Drivers that have led laps in A-Feature events this season
24- Total wins for Steve Kinser in his career at Eagle Raceway including preliminary features
26- Consecutive seasons the World of Outlaws have competed at Eagle Raceway including this season
27- Top-10 finishes for Steve Kinser this season to lead the series
37- A-Feature events contested by the World of Outlaws at Eagle Raceway dating back to 1981; Laps led by Craig Dollansky en route to winning at the track last season
54- Top-10 finishes for Steve Kinser in his career at Eagle Raceway to lead all drivers
240- Miles from Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota where the World of Outlaws race on Friday, July 3 to Eagle Raceway
1981- Year the World of Outlaws first competed at Eagle Raceway
10,000- Dollars the winner will receive on Saturday, July 4
51,690- Dollars in the total purse on Saturday, July 4


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Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.

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