Keeping Pace

World of Outlaws Preview: Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Donny Schatz, the three-time and defending World of Outlaws champion, has won the Summer Nationals in each of the last two seasons and has won the event four times in his career.

Courtesy: World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Media Relations

Mechanicsburg, PA—July 22, 2009—Always one of the most competitive events of the season, the Summer Nationals at the famed Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania helps the “Month of Money” roll on this weekend on Friday, July 24 and Saturday, July 25, as the World of Outlaws square off with the always tough Pennsylvania Posse, with $20,000 awaiting the winner on Saturday night.

Donny Schatz, the three-time and defending World of Outlaws champion, has won the Summer Nationals in each of the last two seasons and has won the event four times in his career. The North Dakota native has six wins over the last two-and-a-half seasons at the track. He currently leads the series standings on the strength of 10 A-Feature wins and is currently just two shy of winning his 100th career race with the series.

Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion, has won 38 times in his career at Williams Grove, which leads all series drivers at the half-mile. He won for the first time at the track back in 1981 and most recently was victorious last season at the legendary track. The native of Bloomington, Indiana has won twice this season and is currently fourth in points.

Lucas Wolfe, the reigning Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, with the World of Outlaws, hails from Mechanicsburg, the home of Williams Grove Speedway and has eight career wins at the track and is looking for his first victory with the series at the half-mile.

Other current World of Outlaws drivers that have visited the winner’s circle at the hallowed track include: Craig Dollansky, Jac Haudenschild, Danny Lasoski and Joey Saldana.

Each night of the Summer Nationals will be a full night of racing with time trials, heats race, the Crane Cams Dash and B-Main determining the starting field for the A-Feature events.



Slide jobs: Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway:

Looking for three in a row: Donny Schatz has won each of the last two Summer Nationals main events at Williams Grove Speedway and finished second in the race in 2006. He has 15 career triumphs at the half-mile. He recently opened the “Month of Money” with the second win of his career in the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway. The three-time and defending series champion, has won 10 times this season and is the current series point leader. He finished fifth at Williams Grove back in May coming all the way from the 23rd starting spot in just 25 laps.


Climbing the list:
Steve Kinser continues to add to his amazing record at Williams Grove Speedway each time he takes to the track at the half-mile. He picked up the 38th win of his career at Williams Grove last season which places him seventh on the tracks all-time win list. In his career at the half-mile, the 20-time series champion has nearly 100 Top-Five finishes dating back to 1979, when he was fourth in his debut at the track.


A home race: Lucas Wolfe, who hails from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, will make his second trip of the year to his home track this weekend for the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway. The second-year driver has eight career wins at the track along with nearly 70 Top-10 finishes. He is currently 10th in the World of Outlaws standings on the strength of eight Top-10 finishes.


Looking to change his luck: Joey Saldana, looks to turn around his fortune at Williams Grove Speedway in the Summer Nationals, after having some back luck at the track back in the spring. The second generation driver finished in the Top-Five in three of his four starts at the half-mile last season including in the finale of the Summer Nationals. He is closing in on 30 career Top-10 finishes at the track where he has won once. He currently leads the World of Outlaws with 12 A-Feature wins as he chases his first series title.


Closing in on a win: Jason Meyers finished third in the finale of the Summer Nationals last season and was fifth in the opener as he continues to close in on his first win at the historic track. The California native has 14 career Top-10 finishes at Williams Grove, with seven of those being Top-Fives. He is currently third in the championship standings and is tied for the series lead with 30 Top-10 finishes and has been victorious four times in 2009.


Looking to get back on track: Danny Lasoski looks to rebound after having a tough go at Williams Grove Speedway back in May. The four-time winner this season missed the A-Feature at the track he has won at twice in his career. The 2001 series champion has over 40 career Top-10 finishes at the half-mile with over 20 of those being Top-Fives. He is currently fifth in the series championship standings as he continues to battle Jason Sides for that spot.


Fast on the half-miles: Jason Sides has been very fast on half-mile tracks this season. He led a number of laps and picked up two runner-up finishes at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida to open the season. In his career at Williams Grove Speedway, the native of Bartlett, Tennessee has nine Top-10 finishes, including a career-best third-place run at the track in 2007. He has racked up 27 Top-10 finishes this season and is just five markers behind Danny Lasoski for the fifth spot in the series standings.


One more spot: Craig Dollansky led the first 19 laps of the finale of the Summer Nationals and wound up second in the event. The native of Elk River, Minnesota has won three times in his career at the half-mile and has 25 career Top-10 finishes there. He has 26 Top-10 finishes this season and is currently seventh in points.


A lot of laps: Jac Haudenschild made his debut at Williams Grove Speedway back in 1983, finishing third and sixth. He has two career victories at the track to go along with nearly 60 Top-10 finishes. The 2009 inductee into the Nationals Sprint Car Hall of Fame has 19 Top-10 finishes and is eighth in points as he closes in on his first win of the season.


Still learning the track: Kraig Kinser returned to Williams Grove Speedway last season for the first time in nearly three seasons. The third generation driver has four career Top-10 finishes at the track in a limited number of starts. He recently picked up a Top-10 finish in the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway to open the “Month of Money” and is solidly in the ninth spot in the series championship standings.


A strong run: Sam Hafertepe Jr. had a very strong run at Williams Grove Speedway back in May, as he raced his way into the Crane Cams Dash to earn a Top-10 starting spot in the main event. He wound up finishing 12th to earn his second Top-12 finish at the track. The native of Sunnyvale, Texas recently finished third in the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway to match his best career World of Outlaws finish.


A home state race: Brian Ellenberger will get the chance to compete in his home start a few times this week. After competing at his home track of Lernerville Speedway, the native of Butler, Pennsylvania will make the trip east to Williams Grove Speedway. Ellenberger has three Top-10 finishes this season including a third-place performance at Dodge City Raceway Park in Kansas as he continues his rookie season with the World of Outlaws.


A great cause: On Saturday, July 25, the World of Outlaws Benevolent Fund will host a Benefit Lunch at Williams Grove Speedway during the Summer Nationals. The lunch will offer Sprint car fans the opportunity catch up with current World of Outlaws drivers and bid on a limited number of unique items all in an effort to aid the organization that helps injured drivers. The lunch will be $5 and is open to the first 200 attendees.

The event will take place on the grounds of Williams Grove Speedway; in the camping area just off of the road each of the haulers enter the track. Lunch will be served from 12-1 p.m. Eastern and the items up for auction will be sold between 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. Eastern. Items including wing panels and body parts from current World of Outlaws cars as well as getaway packages to the 2009 World Finals and the 2010 Knoxville Nationals.


Lunch tickets will be available on-site and all fans are encouraged to attend. Questions can be directed to Diane Schatz and she can be reached by e-mail at diane@ideaone.net or by calling 701-282-8105.


By the Numbers: Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway:
0.5-Miles around Williams Grove Speedway
2- Drivers that led laps in the first World of Outlaws event this season at the track; Drivers that hail from the state of Pennsylvania
competing full-time with the World of Outlaws
5- Races for the World of Outlaws at Williams Grove Speedway this season
7- Drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws that have won during their career at Williams Grove Speedway
8- Wins for Lucas Wolfe in his career at his home track; Races for the World of Outlaws in the state of Pennsylvania this season
11- Laps led by Donny Schatz to win the finale of the Summer Nationals last season
12- Drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws that raced at Williams Grove Speedway last season
15-Career wins for Donny Schatz at Williams Grove Speedway
16.140-Track record set by Brian Paulus in 2002
38- Career wins for Steve Kinser at Williams Grove Speedway
41- Drivers that took part in the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove last season
45- Drivers that competed with the World of Outlaws at the track earlier this season on May 15
162- Total events contested by the World of Outlaws at Williams Grove Speedway including preliminary features dating back to 1978
212- Miles from Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania where the World of Outlaws compete on July 22 to Williams Grove
Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
1939- Year that racing began at Williams Grove Speedway
1967- Year that weekly sprint car racing began at the track
1978- Year the World of Outlaws first competed at Williams Grove Speedway
8,000- Dollars the winner will receive on Friday, July 24
20,000- Dollars the winner will receive on Saturday, July 25
119,850- Total dollars in the purse for both nights of the Summer Nationals
217,650- Dollars earned by Donny Schatz through July 18 to lead the series




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Keeping Pace

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






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