Looking to 2011, WoO posts 40-race schedule
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
A mix of stalwart tracks, new venues and lucrative, high-profile events will comprise the 2011 World of Outlaws Late Model Series schedule, released Friday during the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Orlando, Fla.
Forty events covering 46 race dates at 33 tracks in 20 states are currently confirmed as part of the national tour’s 2011 slate, including a half-dozen extra-distance blockbusters highlighted by the $50,000-to-win USA Nationals on Aug. 5-6 at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis., the fifth annual Firecracker 100 on June 23-25 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., and the second annual Commonwealth 100 on April 15-16 at Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica, Va. | 2011 WoO schedule
The eighth consecutive WoO season under the World Racing Group banner kicks off on Feb. 17 and 19 with a pair of 50-lappers during the 40th annual DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. It will conclude for the fifth straight year with the World of Outlaws World Finals on Nov. 3-5 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C.
“Another spectacular year of World of Outlaws Late Model Series action is in store for fans across the country,” said series director Tim Christman. “We’re proud to be working with some of dirt Late Model racing’s top racetrack operators to provide teams and spectators a schedule that’s filled with thrilling, can’t-miss events from February through November.”
Christman said he expects to add at least five more events to the schedule released on Friday, potentially pushing the total number of races and host tracks in 2011 to historic high-water marks. The WoO currently boasts all-time single-season highs of 44 races (2007 and 2010) and 38 different tracks (2010).
The centerpiece of the WoO’s attractive special-event schedule remains Cedar Lake Speedway’s 100-lap USA Nationals on Aug. 5-6. The crown-jewel program, which returned to the WoO schedule last year for the fifth time overall in its 24-year history, holds the status as the richest race on the ’11 sked with a purse of nearly a quarter-million dollars.
Lernerville’s fast-growing Firecracker 100, meanwhile, will again boast three full nights of competition after its popular expansion in 2010. The early-summer festival of speed at the sparkling 4/10-mile oval kicks off with 30-lap, $6,000-to-win preliminary features on June 23 and June 24 before ending with the traditional 100-lap headliner offering $30,000 for first place on June 25.
Returning to the WoO slate after a successful debut in 2010 is the Commonwealth 100 at Virginia Motor Speedway, a $25,000-to-win springtime biggie set for April 15-16. The event at Bill Sawyer’s pristine half-mile oval carries the third-largest winner’s share on the 2011 schedule.
The list of century-grind events also includes the fourth annual Illini 100, which moves to La Salle (Ill.) Speedway on April 1-2 after three seasons at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway; an inaugural early-season 100-lapper on March 18-19 at Columbus (Miss.) Speedway, which hosts the WoO for the first time since 2007; and the brand-new Outlaw Sizzler 101 on July 2-3 at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway, which will dominate the Independence Day weekend landscape by presenting its biggest Dirt Late Model race ever. All three races will pay $20,000 to win.
Other multi-day programs featured in 2011 include February’s DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH; the RaceFest World Championships on May 28-29 at West Virginia Motor Speedway in Mineral Wells, which will reprise its successful ’10 Memorial Day weekend program with a 30-lapper for $8,000 to win on Saturday night and a 40-lap headliner offering a $10,000 top prize on Sunday evening; the Oil Region Labor Day Classic on Sept. 3-4 at Tri-City Speedway in Franklin, Pa. (two 50-lap, $10,000-to-win cards for the sixth consecutive year); and the World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, which will pack the house for a season-ending tripleheader weekend on Nov. 3-5 that also includes the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series and the Super DIRTcar Series for big-block Modifieds.
The season’s longest swing will be mid-July’s Wild West Tour, which expands to an ambitious stretch of at least seven races over a 12-day period after being condensed to a more modest four events over consecutive nights in 2010. After the western trek kicks off with a Sooner State doubleheader at Outlaw Motor Speedway near Muskogee, Okla. (July 8) and Tri-State Speedway in Pocola, Okla. (July 9) — the tour’s first visit to Outlaw since 2004 and Tri-State since 2005 — successive races will be contested on July 12 at Independence (Iowa) Motor Speedway (first-ever WoO event); July 13 at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn. (the Gopher 50 makes it seventh straight appearance on the series); July 14 at Superior (Wis.) Speedway, which hosted the tour for the first time in 2010; July 15 at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D. (sixth straight year on the schedule); and July 19 at Gillette (Wyo.) Thunder Speedway, which returns to the tour after a one-year hiatus.
The series closes the busy month of July with another regional swing that begins on July 27 at Central Pennsylvania Speedway in Clearfield, Pa., and ends on July 31 at Eriez Speedway in Hammett, Pa. The Keystone State tracks will sandwich two additional dates that are still to be announced.
Other schedule highlights:
• An early-season tripleheader weekend in the Southeast, with events on March 25 at Ocala (Fla.) Speedway, March 26 at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga., and March 27 at Needmore Speedway in Norman Park, Ga. Ocala (2010) and Screven (2010 and 2009) have previously hosted the tour, while Needmore is new to the schedule.
• A Midwestern weekend to close out the month of April. The tour’s return engagement to Bluegrass Speedway in Bardstown, Ky., on April 30 anchors the doubleheader, which will visit a still-to-be-determined track the previous night.
• Spring dates on May 6 at Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway and May 7 at Swainsboro (Ga.) Raceway. The two tracks paired up on the WoO schedule for the first time in 2010.
• The traditional spring midweek event at Delaware International Speedway in Delmar, which hosts the WoO for the seventh time in eight years on Thurs., May 12. The trip to the First State will be followed by a first-ever visit to Winchester (Va.) Speedway on May 14.
• Beckley (W.Va.) Motor Speedway hosts the tour for the first time May 27 as a lead-in to the Memorial Day weekend doubleheader at West Virginia Motor Speedway.
• A pre-Firecracker 100 event on June 21, at Brewerton (N.Y.) Speedway, the only series event currently scheduled in the Empire State during the 2011 season.
• A midweek date on Aug. 3, at Shawano (Wis.) Speedway that precedes the USA Nationals. WoO drivers appeared at the half-mile oval outside Green Bay last year for the first time since a 1989 event there during the first incarnation of the tour.
• A first-ever WoO event at Winston Speedway in Rothbury, Mich., on Aug. 19. The race, which brings the tour to the Wolverine State for the first time since 2007, will be paired with another event on Aug. 20 that series officials will soon announce.
• Hartford (Mich.) Motor Speedway will host the tour for the first time on Sept. 16 – the eve of the Pepsi Nationals on Sept. 17 at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., which has become a popular stop on the series itinerary.
• Five tracks are scheduled to host multiple WoO races in 2011. Leading the group with three races apiece are Lernerville and The Dirt Track at Charlotte, which also presents the mid-week World of Outlaws Late Model Showdown on Oct. 12 at part of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s NASCAR weekend; Volusia, West Virginia Motor and Tri-City will also hold two events each as single-visit doubleheaders.
The series is currently scheduled to visit six tracks for the first time; officials expect to announce additional dates soon.