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Keeping Pace

World of Outlaws Preview: Williams Grove Speedway

Donny Schatz leads the World of Outlaws to the half-mile on Thursday, May 14 and Friday, May 15, after picking up his fifth win of the season last Saturday night at Eldora Speedway and taking the lead in the championship standings as well. The three-time and defending champion won once at Williams Grove last season and has 15 career victories at the track.


Courtesy: World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Media

Mechanicsburg, PA—May 12, 2009—With the early part of the 2009 season being of the most competitive in the history of the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, the level of competition will be ratcheted up even more as the series heads to the legendary Williams Grove Speedway this week for two full nights of racing as they take on the always tough Pennsylvania Posse.

Donny Schatz leads the World of Outlaws to the half-mile on Thursday, May 14 and Friday, May 15, after picking up his fifth win of the season last Saturday night at Eldora Speedway and taking the lead in the championship standings as well. The three-time and defending champion won once at Williams Grove last season and has 15 career victories at the track.

Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion, won last spring at Williams Grove to earn his 38th career victory at the track. He made his debut at the track in 1979 and has nearly 100 Top-Five finishes over that span. He has one win this year and is currently second in points, less than 20 markers behind Schatz.

The two-day event at Williams Grove Speedway will wrap up a five race stretch on half-mile tracks for the World of Outlaws, who will make three separate visits to the storied track this season culminating with the National Open in October.

Last season Kinser Schatz and Daryn Pittman were all victorious with the World of Outlaws at Williams Grove, with Mother Nature winning the other three scheduled events.


Slidejobs- Williams Grove Speedway:

Looking forward to the challenge: Donny Schatz has had a very strong track record at Williams Grove Speedway the last few seasons, picking up six wins in the last two years. He finished first or second in all three starts at the track last year and has finished sixth or better in 18 of his last 19 starts there. He enters this season with 15 career victories at Williams Grove, where he made his debut in 1997. Entering the three race East Coast swing this week, Schatz is tied for the series lead with five wins, with all of those coming on half-mile tracks. He is also the currently series point leader as the chases his fourth consecutive title.

“I can’t wait to get there,” said Schatz. “I am still sick to my stomach that the National Open got rained out. That’s life and we go on. We’ll go out there and try to get two wins and have a strong showing.”


An amazing record: Steve Kinser has won 38 times in his career at Williams Grove, with 37 of those coming in World of Outlaws events. He has competed at the track nearly 150 times over the last 30 years and has well over 100 Top-10 finishes at the track. He won for the first time at Williams Grove in 1981 and is a four-time winner of the prestigious National Open. In the first 16 events this season, Kinser has picked up 14 Top-10 finishes to lead the series and is currently second in points, after leading the standings for a couple of weeks.


A true homecoming: Lucas Wolfe, the reigning Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, hails from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, the home of Williams Grove Speedway. The second generation driver has eight career wins at the track and nearly 70 Top-10 finishes dating back to 2003. He finished fifth in his only start with the World of Outlaws at the track last season in the spring, as he missed the Summer Nationals while recovering from an injury.

“I’m definitely looking forward to being able to race around home the next couple of weeks and having everyone able to come out and watch us,” said Wolfe. “I’m excited to head to track that we know pretty well and have run pretty good at in the past. Hopefully we’ll be able to have a real strong weekend there and a good time.”


Continuing to gain: Joey Saldana has been very fast the last couple of years at Williams Grove as he looks to add to his one career victory at the track. Last season, the native of Brownsburg, Indiana picked up three Top-Five finishes in four starts, with two of those coming in World of Outlaws action. His lone win at the track came in 2002. He is tied for the series lead this year with five A-Feature wins, with a couple of those coming on half-mile tracks. Saldana is currently third in points.


Looking for that first win: Jason Meyers came close to winning at Williams Grove for the first time in his career last season, finishing third and fifth. The native of Clovis, California has 14 career Top-10 finishes at the track with seven of those being Top-Fives. He is currently fourth in points this season on the strength of 11 Top-10 finishes.


Moving on up: Craig Dollansky recently moved into the fifth position in the World of Outlaws championship standings. He has three career wins at Williams Grove with two of those coming in World of Outlaws events. He was victorious last season at the track in a weekly event, besting a very strong field. He has 25 career Top-10 finishes at the track and has 11 Top-10 runs this season as he looks for his first win since joining Kasey Kahne Racing.


Faster and faster: Jason Sides has had several strong runs at Williams Grove over the last few years. In 2007, he finished eighth or better three times with one of those being a podium finish. He made his debut at the famed half-mile in 2001 and has nine career Top-10 finishes at the track.


Continuing to gel: Danny Lasoski and the Parsons Motorsports team, who he is in his first year with in 2009, continue to gel and close in on their first win together. Lasoski finished third at Eldora Speedway last Saturday night and has seven Top-Five finishes. In his career at Williams Grove Speedway, he has won twice and has over 40 Top-10 finishes dating back to his debut at the track in 1992.


A lot of races: Jac Haudenschild competed for the first time at Williams Grove Speedway in 1983 and finished third in that event. Over the last 26 years he has competed over a 100 times at the half-mile, picking up two wins in that span and nearly 60 Top-10 finishes. He was sixth and eighth last season at the track with the World of Outlaws in his first year driving for the Carnahan Motorsports team.


Getting the feel of the track: Kraig Kinser made his first start in three years at Williams Grove last season. The third generation driver has four career Top-10 finishes at the track in a limited number of starts. He has six Top-10 finishes this season with three of those being Top-Five performances.


Continuing to learn: Sam Hafertepe Jr. will compete for the third consecutive season with the World of Outlaws at Williams Grove Speedway this week. The native of Sunnyvale Texas continues to get priceless experience at the track which takes many drivers years to get a feel for.


A trip across the state: Brian Ellenberger, who is contending for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award this season, will compete at Williams Grove for the third consecutive season. The native of Butler, Pennsylvania made his first trip to Williams Grove in 1997. He continues to gain valuable experience in his first season on the road with the World of Outlaws.



By the Numbers: Williams Grove Speedway
0.5- Miles around Williams Grove Speedway
2- Drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws that hail from the state of Pennsylvania, Brian Ellenberger and Lucas Wolfe
3- Events for the World of Outlaws at Williams Grove last season
6- Events scheduled this season for the series at the half-mile; Drivers that led laps with the series at the track last season
8- Laps led by Steve Kinser to win the spring race at Williams Grove last season
9- Races for the World of Outlaws in the state of Pennsylvania this season
15- Wins for Donny Schatz in his career at Williams Grove
16.140- Track record set by Brian Paulus on April 26, 2002
25- Laps in the A-Feature on Thursday, May 14
30- Laps in the A-Feature on Friday, May 15
38- Total wins for Steve Kinser at Williams Grove in his career
48- Drivers that competed with the World of Outlaws at the track last year in the spring race
161- Total events contested by the World of Outlaws at Williams Grove Speedway including preliminary features dating back to 1978
195- Miles from Delaware International Speedway in Delmar, Delaware, where the World of Outlaws compete on May 12 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 that the World of Outlaws first competed at Williams Grove Speedway
8,000- Dollars the winner will receive on Thursday, May 14
12,000- Dollars the winner will receive on Friday, May 15


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

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