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Keeping Pace

Thu., Sept. 10, 2009, 6 p.m.

Past Winners Chase Big Money & Prestige at the Gold Cup Race of Champions

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

Donny Schatz, the three-time and defending World of Outlaws champion, won the Gold Cup in 2004.

Courtesy: WoO Sprint Car Series Media Relations

Chico, CA—September 10, 2009— The list of drivers that have won the Gold Cup Race of Champions over the years is a venerable ‘Who’s Who’ of sprint car racing. Since the World of Outlaws began sanctioning the race in 1978, 17 different drivers have added their name to this illustrious list, with the event being held at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California each year since 1979, with 1978 being the final time the race was held at West Capital Raceway in Sacramento.



A total of five drivers currently competing full-time with the World of Outlaws have won the Gold Cup Race of Champions over the last 31 years and their quest to add another win to their resume in the biggest sprint car race on the West Coast will begin tonight (Thursday, September 10) with the first of two qualifying nights, with the field split for each of the preliminary events with features to follow on Saturday, September 12, culminating with the $50,000 to win 40-lap finale.



Jac Haudenschild is the defending winner of the Gold Cup Race of Champion, taking the checkered flag in the prestigious event for the the third time in his career last season. The 2009 inductee into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame won the Gold Cup for the first time in 1998 and repeated the following season. His victory last year was his first since the winner’s share of the purse was upped to $50,000. In his career at Silver Dollar Speedway, the native of Wooster, Ohio has won a total of seven times and has nearly 50 Top-10 finishes. Haudenschild will take part in the Friday qualifying night of the event.



“We always look forward to the Gold Cup,” Haudenschild said. “They always have a good car count and the local guys always run good there. It will be a tough one to win. It’s nice to be winning races and especially the ones that pay the big money like the Gold Cup. Hopefully we can get it again.”


Joey Saldana, who won earlier this season in the opener of the Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway and currently leads the World of Outlaws with 16 A-Feature wins, won the Gold Cup in 2007. The native of Brownsburg, Indiana has a total of four career wins at the ¼-mile bullring. He too will take part in the Friday qualifying portion of the three-day event.



“We’ve been lucky enough to win it once and it’s a pretty prestigious race for a sprint car driver and hopefully we can win it again,” said Saldana. “It should help some that we were there earlier this year. Last year we struggled there and couldn’t get a handle on our car and the year before we were so good. We definitely messed something up last year, but going back earlier this year we got back on track. It was a good effort for our team and we were fast both nights, we just got caught up in an accident the second night. I’m really looking forward to the Gold Cup.”



Donny Schatz, the three-time and defending World of Outlaws champion, won the Gold Cup in 2004. He also won on his qualifying night that year which was his first career victory at Silver Dollar Speedway. He heads into the Gold Cup this season leading the World of Outlaws championship standings on the strength of 12 A-Feature wins as he chases his fourth consecutive title. Schatz will take part in the second night of qualifying.



“I’m looking forward to it,” stated Schatz. “It’s one of those places where we haven’t been in a position to win it the last several years. I’m looking forward to getting there and we have been working hard to get our short track package better and myself better on that. I can’t wait to get there and hopefully we’ll be able to race for a win at the Gold Cup.”



Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion, leads all drivers with 12 victories in the Gold Cup Race of Champions dating back to 1978 at West Capital Raceway. He won the first Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway after it switched venues the following season. The native of Bloomington, Indiana has won the Gold Cup twice in a row on two occasions and also has won it three times in a row once. In his career at Silver Dollar Speedway Kinser has a total of 22 wins. His quest for a record 13th Gold Cup will begin on Thursday night in the first night of qualifying.



“It’s always a great race and I look forward to going there,” noted Kinser. “The main thing is that no matter what track conditions you get, you get your car rolling around there as best as you can. When you get in those kinds of races, qualifying is very important. That is a hard track to come from the back at. It would be nice to get qualified well and be in the top three or four rows.”


Danny Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws champion, won the Gold Cup in 2000. He has two career wins at Silver Dollar Speedway and nearly 30 Top-10 finishes. In his first season driving for the Parsons Motorsports team this year, he has racked up five wins and is currently battling Jason Sides for the fifth spot in the series standings. The native of Dover, Missouri will take part in the opening night of qualifying on Thursday.



“We’re always excited to go to the Gold Cup Race of Champions,” Lasoski said. “We won it a couple of years ago and are excited to go back. It would be fabulous to win it again. That would be another notch in our belt and Lonnie Parsons (team owner) deserves it.”



Another former winner of the Gold Cup that is entered in the event is three-time World of Outlaws champion Sammy Swindell, who was victorious in the famed race back in 1981.











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Keeping Pace

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