World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series
Busy February kicks off WoO's 2012 schedule
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
An unprecedented stretch of February racing will serve as the kickoff for the 2012 World of Outlaws Late Model Series schedule, which was released on Thursday during the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Orlando, Fla.
Forty-six race dates with 42 features at 32 tracks in 17 states and Canada are currently confirmed as part of the national tour’s 2012 slate, headed by a season-opening burst of six events in Georgia and Florida during the month of February. | WoO schedule
The ninth consecutive WoO campaign under the World Racing Group banner commences with the $20,000-to-win, 60-lap Winter Freeze on Feb. 10-11 at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga. Action then moves to Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., for the inaugural Winter Nationals on Feb. 16-18 — three full nights of racing with progressively higher winner’s purses of $8,000, $10,000 and $12,000 — and the traditional two-race meet during the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., on Feb. 23 and 25.
Screven’s blockbuster lidlifter is one of a half-dozen big-money shows dotting the 2012 schedule. The list of marquee events also features the $50,000-to-win USA Nationals on Aug. 3-4 at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis.; the sixth annual Firecracker 100 on June 28-30 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa.; the fourth annual Illini 100 on March 30-31 at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway; and a pair of holiday-weekend specials (May 26 and Sept. 1) at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va.
The ’12 season will conclude for the sixth straight year with the Lowes Foods World Finals doubleheader on Nov. 1-3 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C. The $100,000 WoO championship battle has gone down to the final lap of The Dirt Track’s huge weekend in each of the past two years.
“The most February racing in the history of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series will be a great way to start off another thrilling season of competition,” said series director Tim Christman. “We’re really looking forward to kicking off the year in a big way at Screven, Bubba Raceway Park and Volusia. Running at the three tracks is going to send us into the remainder of the schedule with plenty of momentum.”
Christman is bullish on the 2012 WoO LMS, which will bring the tour’s stars to a mix of stalwart facilities and new venues across the dirt-track landscape.
“It’s shaping up to be our most interesting season ever,” Christman said of the ’12 schedule. “With the help of some of dirt Late Model racing’s best racetrack operators and race teams, the World of Outlaws will provide exciting action and another dramatic points race to thousands of fans across the United States and Canada.”
Christman said he is working to solidify nearly a dozen additional dates on the 2012 schedule, which could potentially better the tour’s all-time single-season highs of 44 races (2007 and 2010) and 38 different tracks (2010).
The richest event in 2012 remains Cedar Lake Speedway’s 100-lap USA Nationals on Aug. 3-4. The crown jewel program, which will be showcased on the World of Outlaws trail for the third consecutive year and sixth time overall in its 25-year history, offers a purse of nearly a quarter-million dollars.
Lernerville’s Firecracker 100, meanwhile, will boast three full nights of competition for the third year in a row. An early-summer spectacular known for its fan-pleasing excitement both on and off the track, the Firecracker weekend begins with 30-lap, $6,000-to-win preliminary features on June 28-29, before ending with the traditional 100-lap headliner offering $30,000 for first place on June 30.
WoO's third century-grind event is the Illini 100, which returns to its original home, Farmer City Raceway, on March 30-31 after last year’s edition was scheduled for LaSalle (Ill.) Speedway but never contested due to weather. A $20,000 top prize will be on the line at the quarter-mile bullring that is known for providing fans memorable competition.
Two more high-dollar programs will be presented at Tyler County Speedway, a competitive quarter-mile oval that drew the largest field of the 2011 WoO LMS (87 cars) for its Black Diamond 125. The third annual Black Diamond 125 — a unique event that includes two $10,000-to-win semifeatures and a 45-lap Sweet Sixteen finale offering a gargantuan $20,000 first-place booty — returns to the WoO sked in ’12 on Sept. 1 (Labor Day weekend). Making the Mountaineer State track an even bigger hotbed for World of Outlaws action in 2012 will be a second special event— a Memorial Day weekend show on May 26 that promoter Frank Wilson promises will turn heads when its details are announced in the near future.
The season’s longest swing will be July’s Wild West Tour, which currently shows five events over a 12-day period but is likely to expand with two dates still to be filled. Amsoil Speedway in Superior, Wis., which returns to the series after a one-year absence, is scheduled to start the western trek on July 6, with subsequent races set for July 7 at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn. (the eighth straight year that the Gopher 50 will be part of the WoO but first time it will be run on a Saturday night); July 12 at Red River Co-op Speedway in Winnipeg, Manitoba (the tour’s first-ever trip to the Canadian province); July 13 at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D.; and July 17 at Red River Valley Speedway in Fargo, N.D., a 3/8-mile oval that last hosted the WoO in 2005 when it was a sprawling half-mile track.
Other highlights of the 2012 schedule include:
• A visit for the third consecutive season to Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway on April 28. The steeply-banked, third-mile oval is operated by 2011 WoO LMS Promoter of the Year Gary Hall.
• A Southeastern doubleheader on May 4 at 311 Motor Speedway in Pine Hall, N.C., and May 5 at Swainsboro (Ga.) Raceway. While the WoO LMS will compete at Swainsboro for the third straight year, it will make its first-ever appearance at 311.
• The WoO ends a one-year absence from the state of Ohio with an event on May 25 at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, which last hosted the tour in 2006. Wayne County will join with Tyler County (May 26) and West Virginia Motor Speedway (May 27) to form an attractive Memorial Day weekend tripleheader.
• The traditional spring midweek event at Delaware International Speedway in Delmar, which hosts the WoO LMS for the eighth time in nine years on May 31. The trip to the First State once again coincides with the NASCAR weekend at nearby Dover International Speedway.
• Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway has set a June 16, date after being absent from last year’s tour — the first time in the history of the WoO LMS that Hagerstown did not schedule an event.
• Eriez Speedway in Hammett, Pa., will present its sixth annual WoO 50-lapper on June 17, one month earlier than in past years.
• Hartford (Mich.) Motor Speedway will host a return engagement of the World of Outlaws, bringing the tour back for a second consecutive season on July 20. Series travelers will stop at the big half-mile oval en route home from the Wild West Tour.
• Shawano (Wis.) Speedway will continue its midweek date preceding the USA Nationals when it presents the World of Outlaws for the third year in a row on Wed., Aug. 1.
ï¿½ This past season's successful summer doubleheader in the Wolverine State will return in ’12 with visits on Aug. 17 to Winston Speedway in Rothbury, Mich., and Aug. 18 to Merritt Raceway in Lake City, Mich.
• Winchester (Va.) Speedway will anchor a late-summer weekend of competition, hosting the tour on Sat., Aug. 25. One or two events will be paired with the third-mile track, which ran its first-ever WoO event in 2011.
• McKean County Raceway in East Smethport, Pa., which drew a standing-room-only crowd to its first-ever WoO LMS event in 2011, will give fans another opportunity to see the tour on Aug. 29.
• A late-season doubleheader in the Midwest on Sept. 14, at Farmer City and Sept. 15, at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., which will continue its popular 55-lap format.
• A visit to Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in Elbridge, N.Y., on Oct. 4, as part of Super DIRT Week, the annual showcase of Northeast DIRTcar Modified racing at the nearby one-mile New York State Fairgrounds.
Among the dates still to be announced is a pre-Firecracker 100 Northern swing through New York and Canada. Events are planned for June 20 and 26 in the Empire State and June 22 and 23 in Canada; the host tracks will be announced after negotiations are complete, said Christman.