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Keeping Pace

Wed., May 27, 2009, 8:46 p.m.

World of Outlaws Preview: Attica Raceway Park

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

Last year three-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz was victorious at Attica Raceway Park over Joey Saldana. It was his first career victory at the track.

Courtesy: World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Media Relations

Attica, OH—May 27, 2009—Versatility is one of the key elements a driver needs to possess when competing with the World of Outlaws and this weekend, the drivers versatility will certainly be tested, as they move from two sprawling half-mile tracks on the East Coast back to the Midwest to the always racy, high-banked 1/3-mile Attica Raceway Park in Ohio on Friday, May 29, for the series lone visit of the 2009 campaign to the track.

Last year three-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz was victorious at Attica Raceway Park over Joey Saldana. It was his first career victory at the track. That pair of drivers currently lead the World of Outlaws in wins this season, with Saldana standing at seven victories, while Schatz has six entering this weekend.

A different driver has won in each of the last seven World of Outlaws events at the high-banked 1/3-mile, with 20-time series champion Steve Kinser, the only driver that has multiple wins at the track with the series. The World of Outlaws visited Attica for the first time in 1990 with Kinser picking up the win in that event and he was also victorious the following season.

After a trio of races last weekend to wrap up the World of Outlaws first East Coast swing of the season, Schatz extended his lead in the series championship standings to 53 markers over Kinser as he chases his fourth consecutive title, with Saldana third, just 10 points out of second. Jason Meyers is currently fourth, with Craig Dollansky fifth. Each of the drivers in the Top-Five in points has won at Attica during their career.

Slidejobs- Attica Raceway Park

Looking to repeat: Donny Schatz scored the first win of his career at Attica last season, taking the lead on the 11th lap and pacing the field for the remainder of the 40-lap contest. The three-time and defending series champion has three career starts at Attica, finishing eighth in his debut at the 1/3-mile in 2005 and bettering that to a third in 2007, before winning last season. The North Dakota native recently won his sixth race of the 2009 season on Memorial Day and is the current series point leader on the strength of a series-best 12 Top-Five finishes.

“Attica is going to be about like it was at Canandaigua (Speedway, on Monday),” shared Schatz. “It gets that slick and we were good there last year and won there last year. I am looking forward to going over there. It’s getting to the summer time and that’s when we like to get our groove on and get in the winning mode. We’ve been racing really good. We’ve made some great strides and I feel like we have put ourselves above everyone else. I have made some mistakes and that is part of racing. I haven’t made a lot of them the last couple years, but hopefully I have them out of my way now and can focus on winning races.”

It’s been a while: Steve Kinser has four career wins at Attica Raceway Park, with each of those came in his first four starts at the track between 1989 and 1991. He has seven Top-Five finishes at the track since those victories. The 20-time series champion is currently second in the series standings with a series-best 18 Top-10 finishes in 21 races, with 12 of those being Top-Fives. He won earlier this season on a bullring at Tri-State Speedway in his home state of Indiana.

A lot of laps: Joey Saldana made his debut at Attica in 1993 and has over 40 career starts at the track, picking up six wins along the way. He was victorious with the World of Outlaws at the track in 2007 and was second there last season. In his career at the bullring, the second generation driver has 30 Top-10 finishes. He leads the series with seven A-Feature wins with one of those coming on a 1/3-mile track earlier in the season at Thunderbowl Raceway in California. Saldana is currently third in points, 63 markers out of the lead.

“We are putting ourselves in positions to win this season,” noted Saldana. “You have to lucky as well, but when it comes time to perform, you have to perform.”

Keeping the streak alive: Jason Meyers has finished ninth or better in each of his last five starts at Attica, beginning with his first career win at the track in 2006. He has finished fourth and fifth the last two years in the World of Outlaws annual stop at the track. The California native won earlier this season in his home state and has two victories on the season and is currently fourth in points.

Always strong at the bullrings: Craig Dollansky has one career win at Attica Raceway Park, with that coming in coming in 2000. He has four consecutive Top-10 finishes at the track dating back to that win. In his first season driving for Kasey Kahne Racing, Dollansky is currently fifth in points on the strength of 13 Top-10 finishes and traditionally runs well on the high-banked short tracks.

Running up front: Jason Sides picked up two more Top-Five finishes over the Memorial Day weekend as he continues to close in on his first win of the season. He has 14 Top-10 finishes this season with six of those being Top-Five performances and is just 10 points out of the Top-Five in the season standings. He has visited Attica just a handful of times in his career with a best finish of 10th in 2006.

Looking to add a track to the win list: Danny Lasoski has won at countless tracks across the country, though Attica Raceway Park is one that has eluded him over the year. He made his debut at the track in 1992 and finished fifth. He has four career Top-10 finishes in six starts at the track. He is coming off a third-place run on Memorial Day in New York and is currently seventh in points on the strength of 13 Top-10 finishes, including a win.

Back in the Buckeye state: Jac Haudenschild is the lone driver from the state of Ohio competing full-time with the World of Outlaws this season. The native of Wooster has one career win at Attica Raceway Park, with that coming in 1990. He finished sixth last season at the track and has nearly 20 Top-10 finishes over the years at the 1/3-mile. He is currently eighth in points on the strength of seven Top-10 finishes as he chases his first win of the season.

Relearning the track: Kraig Kinser made his first start at Attica Raceway Park in three-plus years last season. He has made just a handful of starts at the track in his career and has a couple of Top-10 finishes. He finished seventh on Memorial Day in New York and is currently ninth in points on the strength of eight Top-10 finishes as he continues his second season driving for Tony Stewart Racing.

Just a couple starts: Lucas Wolfe, the reigning Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, has made just two starts in his career at Attica. The Pennsylvania native picked up his third Top-Five finish of the season last Saturday night and also recently moved into the 10th spot in the series standings.

Gaining momentum: Sam Hafertepe Jr. continues to build momentum in his third full season on the road with the World of Outlaws. He picked up a career-best second-place finish last Saturday night in Virginia and has made the dash in three of the last four series event. The trip to Attica this weekend will mark the third consecutive year he has raced at the track.

A veteran at the track: Brian Ellenberger, who is a contender for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year award this season, has competed over 20 times in his career at Attica. He has five Top-10 finishes at the high-banked bullring dating back to 1999.

By the Numbers: Attica Raceway Park
0.333- Miles around Attica Raceway Park
1- Driver competing full-time with the World of Outlaws this season that hails from the state of Ohio, Jac Haudenschild
2- Events on 1/3-mile tracks so far this season for the World of Outlaws; Drivers that have won on 1/3-mile tracks this season, Joey Saldana and Randy Hannagan
4- Career wins for Steve Kinser at Attica Raceway Park
7- Drivers that have won A-Feature events with the World of Outlaws at Attica dating back to 1990; Races in Ohio for the series this season
8- Feature events contested by the World of Outlaws at Attica dating back to 1990
9- Drivers that have won A-Feature events with the World of Outlaws in 2009
10- Drivers that have been fastest in time trials this season
11.306- Track record at Attica Raceway Park established in 1998
12- Drivers currently competing full-time with the World of Outlaws
16- Drivers that have won a Crane Cams Dash to earn a pole position in 2009
18- Top-10 finishes this season for Steve Kinser to lead the series
20- Drivers that have led laps in A-Feature events this season
21- Total events for the World of Outlaws through May 25
53- Points that separate Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser atop the World of Outlaws standings
153- Laps led by Joey Saldana to lead the series
361- Miles from Canandaigua Speedway in New York where the World of Outlaws competed on May 25 to Attica Raceway Park
1990- Year the World of Outlaws first competed at Attica Raceway Park
10,000- Dollars the winner will receive on Friday, May 29
51,690- Dollars in the total purse on Friday, May 29
97,350- Dollars earned by Donny Schatz this season 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.