As the off-season continues to roll by, teams are hard at work, gearing up for the 2019 World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series season, which begins in less than 70 days at the renovated Volusia Speedway Park in Florida for the DIRTcar Nationals. The 2019 schedule continues to take shape and will be release in full, very soon. A couple of drivers have been doing some off-season racing and some major changes were recently announced for 10-time series champion Donny Schatz and the Tony Stewart Racing team for which he drives. Catch up on the latest off-season happenings in this edition of the World of Outlaws Weekly Notebook.
Changes for the champ
One of the trademarks of Donny Schatz and Tony Stewart Racing’s tenure together has been the continuity they have had over the last decade, running the same equipment and having nearly the same people in place year after year. Some major changes are coming to the team next season, as they continue the development of a Ford sprint car engine. Ricky Warner, who has been Schatz’s crew chief for the better part of his 10 title winning seasons, will transition to lead the Research and Development of the Ford engine.
Steve Swenson, who has served as the Car Chief for the team for the last number of years, will shift into the role of crew chief for Schatz in 2019. Swenson, who missed a few races this past season due to a broken ankle, took on an increased role in 2018, while Warner dealt with some health issues.
Also, Jakob Weaver will join Tony Stewart Racing as a crew member. Weaver, a native of Coldwater, MI, was part of Kyle Larson Racing in 2018 and prior to that was on the crew at Jason Johnson Racing.
“The accomplishments that Rick (Warner) and Donny Schatz have achieved together have helped shaped the modern-era of sprint car racing,” said team owner, Tony Stewart. “Not only am I fortunate to have both of them as part of my organization as an owner, I also benefit from having both of them in my corner as a driver and a teammate. As we develop our Ford engine program, having both their input will be invaluable.”
Carson Macedo, who will pilot the No. 2 for Kyle Larson Racing in 2019 on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series tour, was victorious on Thanksgiving evening with the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series during the Bash at the Beach at Ventura Raceway, which was part of the annual Turkey Night Midget Grand Prix. The Californian took the lead on the 14thlap and never looked back in the 30-lap contest. Macedo also attempted to qualify for the midget portion of the event, but missed transferring to the main event.
Sheldon Haudenschild will compete in a total of three midget races this off-season as part of the Clauson Marshall team, with NOS Energy Drink as the sponsor. The first race was the Turkey Night Midget Grand Prix, where the fourth-generation driver came up just three spots short in the B main of transferring to the 98-lap main event. A stout field of 61 drivers were in attendance for traditional event.
Haudenschild will make his second start of the off-season this coming weekend in the Gateway Dirt Nationals in St. Louis. This marks the first time midgets have been on the card for the event, which also features late models and modifieds inside “The Dome” in St. Louis. Haudenschild will make his final midget start of the off-season during the annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, OK, January 14-19.
When the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series takes to the track in Las Vegas on Thursday, February 28, they will be joined by the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. The event will mark the first time ever that the Outlaws have raced at the same track on the same night as a NASCAR sanctioned series. The K&N Series competed at Las Vegas this past season, which marked the first time they had contested a race on dirt in nearly 40 years. The World of Outlaws will also compete on the half-mile on Wednesday, February 27.
“We’re excited our traditional two-day event in Las Vegas is continuing to grow with the addition of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West,” said World of Outlaws COO Tom Deery. “We’re also looking forward to showcasing this historically popular event with our style of high-horsepower, high-speed, winged Outlaw dirt racing to a whole new audience. We like making history with our World of Outlaws events, and combining with NASCAR on the same night at the same track will certainly be a first that no one will want to miss.”
Outlaws in the “Music City”
The World of Outlaws will hit the track in Nashville, TN in 2019 for the inaugural Music City Outlaw Nationals, May 31 and June 1. The inner-quarter-mile track of the famed Fairgrounds Speedway, a half-mile paved oval, will be covered with dirt to host the event. The opener of the event will pay $15,000-to-win, while the finale will carry a $25,000 payday for the winner.
“The World of Outlaws puts on more than 90 exhilarating events throughout the year, but the Music City Outlaw Nationals is going to be special,” said Tom Deery. “This will be the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series only visit to Tennessee and what better place than right in the heart of one of the country’s most vibrant cities. We are looking forward to working with the City of Nashville and the Nashville Convention and Visitors bureau to bring exciting motorsports events to the Music City. This is the ultimate destination event for teams, fans and sponsors that we envision evolving into our sport’s marquee events.”
PRI around the corner
The Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show is coming up, December 6-8 in Indianapolis. The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series and parent company World Racing Group will have a major presence as always at the show. The 2019 Outlaws schedule will be released in its entirety during PRI.