Just five points separate current championship point leader Jason Meyers and 20-time series titlist Steve Kinser, with Joey Saldana in third only 20 markers out of the lead, while four-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz is fourth, 57 points back.
Courtesy: WoO Sprint Car Series Media Relations
Concord, NC- With nine races in the books for the World of Outlaws in 2010, the season is shaping up to be another of the best in series history, following the closest-ever three-way points race in 2009, that saw Donny Schatz edge Jason Meyers by a mere 19 markers with Joey Saldana who led the series in wins third. With the level of competition at an all-time high, every single lap over the course of the 70-plus race season is important from the drop of the first green flag at Volusia in February until the final checkered flag is waved at Charlotte in November.
Just five points separate current championship point leader Jason Meyers and 20-time series titlist Steve Kinser, with Joey Saldana in third only 20 markers out of the lead, while four-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz is fourth, 57 points back, with Jason Sides rounding out the Top-Five, just a single marker behind Schatz. All five of the drivers at the top of the standings have won thus far in 2010.
Each of the Top-Four drivers in points have sat atop the championship standings already this season, with six different drivers having visited Victory Lane, while 11 drivers have led laps in feature events. There have been 13 lead changes so far in 2010 and in one of the most memorable races in series history at Las Vegas before a huge crowd Jason Meyers came all the way from the 18th starting spot to win in a last lap thriller over Steve Kinser by just 0.237 second.
Four times thus far in 2010, the margin of victory has been less than a second, with Jason Sides edging Tim Kaeding by a mere 0.160 seconds at Houston Raceway Park on March 13 in the closest race of the season, which saw the pair trade countless slide jobs over the course of the 40-lap contest at the ¼-mile.
"The racing I feel has been really good this year," said Joey Saldana, who has won twice and is currently third in points. "Not only have the tires made it better, but the double file restarts have definitely made it more interesting. So far so good. It's been a great season. The World of Outlaws have a great program and something great for the fans to see."
One of the biggest changes heading into 2010 was the implementation of double file restarts, a concept that the World of Outlaws pioneered during the early days of the season. The leader has the choice on the double file restarts to choose which line they want to restart in, with both the low line and high line having been chosen a number of times so far this season.
"Hopefully they are good for the fans and that's why they are doing it, trying to make the racing better for the fans," shared current point leader Jason Meyers of the double file restarts. "So far it has somewhat done that. We'll have to see how it pays off at the short tracks in the weeks to come."
The other big change this season was the switch to Goodyear tires, and most of the drivers have gotten up to speed quick on the new rubber and have been very welcoming of the change. Goodyear brought several incentives to the series in 2010 including a $55,000 midseason point fund that will be distributed to full-time World of Outlaws drivers that have Goodyear rubber bolted on all four tires after the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup Twins at Lernerville Speedway in July.
"The tires have been great," noted Saldana. "I think it was a great change and an easy transition. Goodyear did a great job making both rear tires harder and making the racing better."
A total of 23 drivers have scored at least one Top-10 finish this season in World of Outlaws action, with 15 of those having scored at least one Top-Five finish. There has been 69 drivers compete with the series thus far in 2010 through March 20. The largest lead any driver has had in the standings was after the opener of Kasey's King of Bulls Gap Presented By Budweiser at Volunteer Speedway on March 19 when Joey Saldana was up by 27 points. The difference between the leader and second-place in points has been in single digits six times this season as well as there being a tie after the first race at Tulare on March 5, which saw Tony Stewart Racing teammates Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz share the top spot for a race.
The World of Outlaws return to action on Saturday, April 10 with an inaugural event at Tri-State Speedway in Pocola, Oklahoma, followed by a trip to Paducah International Raceway in Kentucky on Friday, April 16 and I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Missouri on Saturday, April 17.
By the Numbers: 2010 World of Outlaws Season through March 20
0.160- Margin of Victory for Jason Sides over Tim Kaeding at Houston Raceway Park on March 13, the closest finish of the season
1- Driver that has finished in the Top-10 in all nine races this season- Jason Meyers
2- Drivers competing for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award this season
3- Track records established in time trials this year; Drivers that have won four heat races this season- Sam Hafertepe Jr, Jac Haudenschild & Joey Saldana
4- Times in 2010 that the Margin of Victory has been less than one second; Average finishing position for Jason Meyers to lead all drivers
5- Points that separate current leader Jason Meyers and Steve Kinser in the championship standings
6- Drivers that have won A-Feature events in 2010; Tracks the World of Outlaws have raced at so far this season
7- Drivers that have been quickest in time trials this season; Top-Five finishes for Steve Kinser and Joey Saldana in 2010 to lead all drivers
8- Drivers that have won a dash this season to earn a pole position in a main event; Drivers that have earned the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award this season
9- A-Feature events completed through March 20
11- Drivers that have led laps in A-Feature events
13- Lead changes so far in 2010 in main events
17- Bonus points earned in time trials by Jason Sides to lead all drivers through March 20
18- Drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws in 2010
58- Points that currently separate the Top-Five in the series standings
69- Drivers that have raced at least once with the World of Outlaws this season
71- Laps led by Joey Saldana in feature events this season to lead all drivers
300- Laps of A-Feature competition contested this season through March 20
1293- Points earned by Jason Meyers to lead the series
46,800- Dollars earned by Jason Meyers to lead the series