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Keeping Pace

Previewing the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio

Donny Schatz and Joey Saldana, the two winningest drivers in World of Outlaws competition last season, were victorious at in the DIRTcar Nationals last season.


Courtesy: WoO Sprint Car Series Media Relations

Barberville, FL-The first green flag of the 2010 season is about to fly for the World of Outlaws in the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio at Volusia Speedway Park, February 5-7. Following the closest point race in series history that saw Donny Schatz edge Jason Meyers by just 19 points to win the title, another stout field of drivers is assembled and ready to do battle in the nine month nearly 80-race campaign.

Donny Schatz and Joey Saldana, the two winningest drivers in World of Outlaws competition last season, were victorious at in the DIRTcar Nationals last season, with Schatz winning both the opener and finale, while Saldana picked up a victory on the second night of the three-day tilt, in a thrilling battle with Jason Sides that came down to a last lap, last corner pass.

Of the 11 drivers that have won with the World of Outlaws at Volusia Speedway Park, eight will be in action this season, with seven of them competing full-time with the series. Craig Dollansky, Jason Meyers and Danny Lasoski all scored their first wins with the series at the half-mile in 2008, with Chad Kemenah picking up his first win with the series at the half-mile in 2006, while 20-time series champion Steve Kinser was victorious in 2005, after two straight runner-up finishes.

One of the strongest fields in the history of the DIRTcar Nationals is expected in 2010, as drivers from coast-to-coast look to get the feel of the new tires from Goodyear and get a head start on the season.

The Buzz-

  • Donny Schatz looks to keep his hot streak at Volusia Speedway going, after winning two of the three nights with the World of Outlaws last season and two of the three nights with the All Star Circuit of Champions.

 

  • Steve Kinser will turn his first laps driving for Tony Stewart Racing on the World of Outlaws trail aboard the No. 11 Bass Pro Shops Maxim.

 

  • Joey Saldana looks to carry the momentum from his 20-win season in 2009 into the new season as he begins his fifth year at Kasey Kahne Racing.

 

  • Jason Meyers looks to climb to the top of the podium after two consecutive runner-up finishes in the championship standings. His entire team returns intact from last season.

 

  • All drivers will compete with Goodyear tires on the right and left rear wheel positions, which will bring one of the strongest fields in DIRTcar Nationals history to Volusia for the three-day event.

 

  • Cody Darrah begins his rookie season with the World of Outlaws aboard the No. 91 for Kasey Kahne Racing.

 

  • Double file restarts will be used for the first time in several years beginning in the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia.

 

  • Craig Dollansky will be back behind the wheel of a No. 7 machine for Big Game Motorsports. The veteran has won two of the last three DIRTcar Nationals titles.

 

  • Ben Gregg and Toni Lutar will take to the road for the first time and battle Cody Darrah for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award.

 

Over the years

World of Outlaws Previous A-Feature winners at Volusia Speedway Park:

2009- Donny Schatz on February 6, Joey Saldana on February 7, Donny Schatz on February 8

2008- Craig Dollansky on February 8, Jason Meyers on February 9, Danny Lasoski on February 10

2007- Donny Schatz on Feb. 9, Kerry Madsen on Feb. 10, Daryn Pittman on Feb. 10

2006- Chad Kemenah on Feb. 9, Joey Saldana on Feb. 10

2005-Jeff Shepard on Feb. 11, Steve Kinser on Feb. 13

1981- Doug Wolfgang on Feb. 9

One year ago

The 2009 season opener saw a strong field of 40 cars check into the pit area. Donny Schatz began his title defense by setting quick time and would go on to win the dash to earn the pole position for the main event. Jason Sides got the jump at the start and led the first 10 laps, before Schatz took the lead on the 11th circuit and would lead the rest of the way to pick up his second career World of Outlaws win in the DIRTcar Nationals.

 

Night number two saw three-time World of Outlaws champion Sammy Swindell set fast time. Joey Saldana would start on the pole for the A-Feature and would lead the first two laps, before Cody Darrah took the lead on the third go-around. The then 19-year old would continue to lead until the 17th lap when he slowed with a mechanical problem that ended his night handing the lead back to Saldana on lap 20. On the next lap, Jason Sides who started eight took the lead from Saldana and the pair would trade the top spot three more times over the final the final nine laps, with Saldana taking the point for the final time in turn four on the last lap to snag the win.

 

The finale saw Daryn Pittman set fast with young Cale Conley winning the dash to earn his first career World of Outlaws pole position. Donny Schatz started fourth and charged to the lead on the opening lap. He would go on to lead all 30 laps to score his third career World of Outlaws wins at Volusia and eighth overall in the DIRTcar Nationals. He would also leave the Sunshine State as the World of Outlaws championship point leader.

Sound Bites

Donny Schatz

“Florida is unique and often what works down there wont work anywhere else. Weve been good there in the past and left there and went to some of the track we werent so good at in the past and we werent as great as we wanted to be. You have to make sure understand what is going on and analyze what you do learn in Florida.”

Steve Kinser

“You have to go down there and bring a good piece of equipment and have everything running well. Everyone that is down there will have fresh cars, fresh motors and fresh everything, not that everyone doesnt have good equipment generally through the whole season now. Youll see a lot of cars from all over the Unites States there and a good car count. Its a tough place to go to. Sometimes youll go down there and do good and get started off well and other times youll struggle a little bit. Hopefully well be able to have three good nights in a row and everything looks good.”

Joey Saldana

“You definitely have to go in there and be on your game and it sets a tone for the whole season. When you go down there and run well you kind of roll into the next race and the race after that. It just makes the season seem like it goes a lot smoother. Its kind of like going to the (Knoxville) Nationals or the Kings Royal or Chico (Gold Cup Race of Champions). There are a lot of good cars and you have to qualify well and you have to race extremely well. It makes it tough. There are a lot of people there watching.”

Jason Meyers

“There is no tougher way to start a season. You go down there and have the top guys from all across the country there. Its in the vicinity of the East Coast cars and also there is nothing else going on. Its a tough track and a tough place to tame. You get a lot of great competition. You really need to come out of the box strong. You can come out of the box strong and just barely make the main events. If you come out of the box great you may win one. I dont think there is anything tougher to start a season than going down to Volusia.”

By the numbers- 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH

0.5-Miles around Volusia Speedway Park

1- Driver currently competing with the World of Outlaws that raced in the series inaugural race at Volusia in 1981- Steve Kinser

2- Career Wins for Joey Saldana in World of Outlaws events at Volusia

3- Wins for Donny Schatz in the DIRTcar Nationals with the World of Outlaws to lead all drivers

4- Drivers that led laps in A-Feature events during the DIRTcar Nationals last season

6- Lead changes on the second night of the DIRTcar Nationals last season

6.8- Average finish for Donny Schatz at Volusia Speedway Park in his career to lead all full-time World of Outlaws drivers

7- Different seasons that the World of Outlaws have competed at the half-mile including this year; Laps led by Joey Saldana en route to winning the second night of the event in 2009

8- Top-Five finishes for Donny Schatz in World of Outlaws events at Volusia to lead all drivers in World of Outlaws events; Total wins for Donny Schatz & Joey Saldana in their careers at the half-mile

10- Top-10 finishes for Donny Schatz in World of Outlaws events at Volusia in his career to lead all drivers; Drivers that won heat races during the DIRTcar Nationals in 2009

11- Drivers that have won A-Feature events with the World of Outlaws at the DIRTcar Nationals dating back to 1981

12- Consecutive night of racing during the 2010 DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, including three straight to open the World of Outlaws season
12.948- Track record established by Jason Solwold in time trials on February 6, 2007

14-A-Feature events contested by the World of Outlaws at Volusia Speedway Park dating back to 1981; Drivers that have won races with the World of Outlaws in the state of Florida dating back to 1979
15- Miles to Daytona Beach from Volusia Speedway Park

16- Drivers scheduled to compete full-time with the World of Outlaws in 2010;

Different seasons including 2010 that the World of Outlaws have competed in Florida

17- Total wins at Volusia Speedway Park for Danny Lasoski in his career

25- Titles accounted for by drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws in 2010

39- Consecutive years that the DIRTcar Nationals have been held

50- Laps led by Donny Schatz last season in World of Outlaws events at Volusia Speedway Park to lead all drivers

68- Degrees, the average high temperature in Barberville, Florida the first week in February

75- Feet- width of the racing surface at Volusia Speedway Park
1979- Year the World of Outlaws first raced in Florida

1981- Year that the first World of Outlaws event was held at Volusia Speedway Park

8,000- Dollars the winner will receive on Sunday, February 7

10,000- Dollars the winner will receive on Friday, February 5; Dollars the winner will receive on Saturday, February 6


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