Three Series, three nights of racing, three champions to be crowned.
The 13th annual Can-Am World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway will cap off this spectacular season of racing for the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models on Nov. 7-9, alongside the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars and Super DIRTcar Series.
The event kicks off with Hot Laps and Qualifying sessions on Thursday night for Sprint Cars and Late Models, accompanied by Heat races for the Big-Block Modifieds. Two full shows on Friday and Saturday for all three divisions will complete the event before the ceremonial championship presentations wrap-up at the finale on Saturday night. Following Saturday’s racetrack festivities, the off-track celebrations continue with the annual World of Outlaws banquet at Concord’s Great Wolf Lodge, where all will be streamed live on DIRTVision.com.
Lots of exciting new storylines will follow the Late Models into the final weekend of the season, and above all will be the coronation of current points leader Brandon Sheppard and the second World of Outlaws championship of his career under team owner Mark Richards.
For Rocket1 Racing, this year has been a domination of the World of Outlaws tour. In terms of consistency, they’ve again set a new bar for repeated long-term success across a national Dirt Late Model circuit. They have posted 36 consecutive top-five finishes, finishing outside the top 10 only once all season. It’s simply remarkable.
And then there’s the very crowded win column — a record-tying 18 wins in 39 races and a chance for World of Outlaws history at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. Two more chances, to be exact, on a track he’s where he’s won three times. With the usual huge car count and tough competition at the Can-Am World Finals, Sheppard will have his hands full to earn what has now become a bit of an elusive 19th win of the season.
Sheppard’s last six World of Outlaws starts have all been top-five finishes, but no trips to Victory Lane, making it the longest stretch of his season without a win. But, if history at The Dirt Track serves as any indication, the Rocket1 team should have hope to get the job done at least once over the weekend.
Last year’s edition of the Can-Am World Finals brought much different storylines into play. Chris Madden trailed eventual champion Mike Marlar by just 22 points heading into Friday’s portion of the event on Saturday afternoon before suffering a broken oil line on lap six of the Feature, taking him out of the championship equation.
Meanwhile, Sheppard picked up the win after a back-and-forth battle with Tim McCreadie in the closing laps, setting him 34 points back of Marlar in the championship standings with just one race remaining.
Saturday’s Feature again went well for “The Rocket Shepp,” as he collected a solid third-place finish after 50 laps around the 4/10-mile. However, Marlar did just what he needed to stay within sight of Sheppard and the championship point’s battle, finishing sixth in the race and earning the crowning achievement of his career, a World of Outlaws championship title.
Fast forward to this year, and the scenario is entirely different. Sheppard has built a whopping 320-point lead ahead of second-running Chase Junghans, leaving Sheppard and his crew to focus on winning their 19th race rather than holding off somebody for the championship. This will be the sixth World of Outlaws title in 18 seasons for team owner Mark Richards, the third in the past four years with two different drivers.
That other driver has a lot in common with Sheppard. Mark’s son, Josh Richards, shares the 18-win season record with Sheppard that they each established; Richards in 2016, Sheppard in 2017. Both of those seasons were also highlighted with a very large point’s gap heading into the final race weekend. 2019’s conclusion will be, no doubt, a return-to-form for the Rocket1 crew.
Whether or not Sheppard eclipses the 18-win record at Charlotte, Series history will still be made. Ricky Weiss has also officially earned a great honor of his own, and has a chance for a unique superlative as well.
With his 16 top-five and 29 top-10s over 39 starts, Weiss has officially clinched the 2019 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year title, becoming the first Canadian-born driver to win the honor. The Headingley, Manitoba-native also held the runner-up spot in the overall points standings for quite a stretch of time over the summer, but now finds himself in fifth, 32 points out of second place after a couple DNFs in his past six starts.
Should the “Manitoba Missile” overcome his misfortunes and reclaim at least third place in the overall standings before the final checkered flag falls on Nov. 9, he’ll also become the highest-finishing Rookie in Series history. Devin Moran, the 2017 Rookie of the Year, is the current owner of that record after a fourth-place points result just three seasons ago.
Even though the Series Champion and Rookie of the Year have been decided, a battle for second place in the overall standings has heated up in the past three races and will come to a full boil at The Dirt Track. Spots two-through-five are separated by just 32 points, and it’s anybody’s race for a $60,000 points fund check – a $30,000 difference between second and fifth. Expect Junghans, Darrell Lanigan, Shane Clanton and Weiss all to be in tip-top shape and at each other’s throats in less than three weeks’ time
After enjoying phenomenal odds versus Mother Nature this year, the Outlaw Enduro Series lost its first full racing program to rain Sunday Oct. 20th. Unfortunately, the event can’t be rescheduled and the show was cancelled. Therefore, the 2019 season has officially drawn to a conclusion.
The Big Car 50-lap Enduro that was rained out on Sept. 28th will be made up in 2020 at the season opener. Details and a complete racing schedule will be released in the near future.
The 2019 Big Car track champion is Stockton NJ’s Tim Pauch. The second generation racing talent captured his eighth career Enduro championship at the 1/3 mile oval of Grandview Speedway. Pauch, also a former 4-time Enduro champion at the famed Flemington (NJ) Fairgrounds, captured his 22nd career Grandview triumph this year and finished consistently all season long which led to achieving the title.
Jamie Naftzinger of Reading enjoyed his most successful points finish with a runner-up this year driving the car that his late father Mark steered for several seasons in the past. Aaron Frazier of Oley switched cars in 2019 and the changed paid off as Frazier nailed down a third in the standings. Joe Kunkel of Alburtis added another top five to his achievements with a final finish of fourth. Bob Wink of Palm enjoyed a pair of top five finishes this year and finished fifth in points.
Rounding out the top ten were: Travis Guyer, Brandon Guyer, Scott Lord, Chuck Keely, and Mike Fiskaldo.
Brian Moyer of Reading captured his first ever Small Car point championship driving his self-owned #11 this season. Last year Moyer won two races and finished second in the standings. In 2019, Moyer likewise earned two wins but secured the point championship.
James Yons of Macungie began the season with four straight top five finishes and enjoyed a successful year. He finished a career points best of second. John Rose of Gilbertsville competed in two classes this year and earned a top three of third in the Small Car standings. 2016 champion Matt Peck of Boyertown finished fourth and Chris Rose of Gilbertsville joined his brother in the top five standings for fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were: Tim Jones, Phil Levering, Mike Bentley, Eric Spengler and Rob Storms.
John Bilofsky of Allentown captured his second straight JunkYard Car championship after grabbing five race victories this season. In three years, Bilofsky has also become the all-time leading race winner in the class. Four Cylinder champion Brian Moyer was second followed by Cody Anderson, Andrew Molina and John Rose.
Plans have been unveiled for a new FIA Grade 3 circuit on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
Track developer BTT, LLC is working to create what it hopes will be a FIA Grade 3 venue incorporating a 1.5-mile road course, a 1/8th-mile drag strip and a 1/4-mile dirt track, as well as a clubhouse, race control, pits, garages and event space. The facility will be located in the Campbell Industrial Park, close to Kalaeloa Airport, and six miles from the Ko Olina vacation resort.
Circuit Hawaii, as the venue will be called, is being developed and designed by U.K.-based Driven International in conjunction with Coffman Engineers and HHF Planners, with Yoshi Development New York handling the architectural design.
Various levels of club membership packages will be offered by the Hawaii Driver’s Club, and the circuit itself is also offering initial Founding Membership packages while it gathers additional investment. According to a statement by BTT, the facility – which would be the first of its kind on Oahu in more than a decade – is “conservatively expected” to be completed by 2022.
The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum is proud to announce their final “Salute to Champion” will focus on the late, great Greg Hodnett in 2020! The plans for the exhibit were announced during the 57th Annual Williams Grove National Open at Williams Grove Speedway near Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Also, Hodnett’s widow, Sherry, accepted the 2018 North American Sprint Car Poll Thomas J. Schmeh Outstanding Contribution to the Sport Award on Greg’s behalf.
The exhibit, tentatively scheduled for May 1 to October 1, 2020, will feature cars from Greg’s career beginnings in Memphis, all the way to his dominance in central Pennsylvania and points between. In addition, memorabilia from Hodnett’s career will be showcased.
Greg’s career started in Memphis and branched out nationally with the World of Outlaws, where he was named their Rookie of the Year. He accumulated over 250 wins in his career, as well as multiple championships.
“We’re absolutely honored to have Greg Hodnett as our spotlight for our annual ‘Salute to Champion’ at the museum,” said National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum’s Bill Wright. “Greg had such an impact on not only what was going on on the track, but off it as well. It’s going to be a lot of fun for us to tell his story. He was dedicated to going faster every time out, and used his engineering background and his experience to make it work on the track. More importantly, he was a great person! We’re excited that one of our long-time supporters, Roger Johnson, will be on board helping us with this one. Roger was an important part of Greg’s career, starting from the beginning.”
Wright added, “Though it’s early in the process, I can tell you that many are already involved in making this one of our greatest ‘Salute to Champion’ exhibits ever. Early thank you’s go out to Sherry Hodnett, the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing, Jim and Sandy Kline, Mike Heffner, Mike Ward, Roger Johnson, and many more to come! We hope to see sprint car fans from across the country coming to see our Salute to Champion Greg Hodnett exhibit inside the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum in 2020.
The “Salute to Champion” exhibit will be the tenth and final salute exhibit for the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum. Others honored have included Tony Stewart (2011), Jeff Gordon (2012), Mario Andretti (2013), Steve Kinser (2014), Doug Wolfgang (2015), Hall of Fame inductee’s at Indy (2016), Sammy Swindell (2017), Bryan Clauson and (2018) and AJ Foyt (2019).
For more information on the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum, visit www.SprintCarHoF.com!
For only the second time ever, New Egypt Speedway played host to AMA Flat Track Motorcycle racing on Saturday night October 19th for Flat Track Under The Lights.
The first event back on July 21st produced 75 entries on a day where thermometers read 113 degrees, due to the conditions AMA District 6 riders and officials asked New Egypt Speedway if there was a way that a race could be held on a Saturday night under the lights a date was rescheduled and Flat Track Under The Lights was born.
162 competitors registered for competition this past Saturday in classes that ranged from 50cc to 50 years of age on Saturday night for Flat Track Under The Lights featuring competitors from as far as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New York and New Jersey. A solid spectator count was also in attendance on a chilly October evening. The track surface was also in absolutely impeccable condition as it drew great reviews from the riders all throughout the event.
New Egypt Speedway officials are already discussing dates for the 2020 season with AMA District 6 officials to bring the riders back to the Ocean County D-Shaped oval on more than one occasion.
One of the founders of the Eastern Motorsports Press Association in 1969 and the group’s president for nearly 40 years, Ernie Saxton was the driving force behind the EMPA for many years and along with his wife Marilyn. Saxton has also worked as an announcer at 174 tracks all across the country including Grandview until he retired from announcing after 45 years. Today Ernie lends his considerable experience in racing as a regular commentator for PennSports.LIVE.