Outlaws Vs. Posse

Photo: Jeff Wackerlin

Joey Saldana enters the week as the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship points leader. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

The hype will turn into action on Wednesday night at Lincoln Speedway when the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars roll into Lincoln Speedway to kick off three races this week against the vaunted PA Posse, set to defend their home dirt.

Pennsylvania's Danny Dietrich has won the past two World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series events at Lincoln Speedway, but last year five-time champion Donny Schatz and three-time champion Sammy Swindell were closing fast at the checkered flag.

At Williams Grove, Donny Schatz continued his mastery of the half-mile paper-clip oval, winning two of the four events there and helping the Outlaws keep the Morgan Cup Trophy in their Concord, N.C., office for another year.

This season, the Outlaws enter Pennsylvania having run 24 events from Florida to Nevada, Arizona and California, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana before finally venturing to Pennsylvania and the northeast.

Joey Saldana enters the week as the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship points leader. He's one of five different drivers to have swapped the lead in the standings nine times this season, with the top five separated by only 77 points.

With all the bragging rights a victory in central Pennsylvania warrants, the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series drivers answered questions about this big week ahead:

JACOB ALLEN , driver of the Mark Pell Tire Service/Marty Thompson Racing Shark Racing #1A

On racing with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series: "Just from being out on the road and being with the best guys, not just the drivers but the mechanics, the atmosphere is top notch. It's the best guys there are so the way you look at the track, the way the cars go around the track, the way you feel when you get in the cars is night and day from what it was last year at this time."

On racing near home in central Pennsylvania: "I hope my odds are good at Lincoln. I like that track. Logan and I were going really good at the last race of the year there, and we've been feeling like we're getting better and faster so I'm pretty hyped up about it. It'll be a good time."

CODY DARRAH , driver of the Ollie's Bargain Outlets/Sage Fruit/Team ASE/Factory Kahne Kasey Kahne Racing with Mike Curb #4

As a native Pennsylvanian, is it more comfortable racing there as opposed to other places on the tour: "It's one of those places where I get to go and I've got a lot of laps growing up. Those unsure feelings that you get throughout the year where you don't know if it's this racetrack or not, I can go there and have a good

feeling with my racecar and help our guys sort things out. Just the atmosphere of going back home and back to those tracks is an exciting thing to look forward to."

DAVID GRAVEL , driver of the HR Livestock Roth Motorsports #83

Do the Outlaws have an advantage because of how many races the series has run this season: "It's definitely a big part of it, racing as much as you can and you see so many different surfaces and so many different tracks, you learn to adjust well. The PA guys have been racing there for a few weeks now and I'm sure they've got pretty good set ups already this year."

On your outlook in Pennsylvania after a couple of weeks in the #83 car: "I'm definitely eager to go, I ran pretty well at the National Open at Williams Grove last year. I'm looking forward to getting back there. It's always exciting to race against the best competition, and it's close to home."

KRAIG KINSER , driver of the Mesilla Valley Transportation/Casey's General Store Steve Kinser Racing #11K

Do the Outlaws have an advantage going into this week because of how many races the series has run this season: "It makes you sharper as a driver, but you might hit some of those guys at Lincoln where it's earlier in the year and they might not be where they want to be, but when you're talking about the Posse guys at Lincoln, it's a tough bunch of guys that have raced there their whole lives. They're damn good cars, damn good drivers and take them to a track we haven't been to very often, it feels like an uphill battle going in there for me but we'll dig down, do our best and see how it ends up.

Do you feel any animosity between the Outlaws and the Posse: "I don't feel it that much. I have a lot of friends out there who run Pennsylvania all the time. I don't feel that animosity in the pit area. I know at times you start feeling them more when they start talking about it more. I don't feel that way. To me, they're another driver trying to do their hardest."

STEVE KINSER , driver of the Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Tony Stewart Racing #11

Do the Outlaws have an advantage going into Pennsylvania this week because of how many races the series has run this season: "I don't know if it will help us much. Most of the stuff we've run has been on short tracks. Most of the time when we race a whole lot it's hard to get freshened up and be fresh when you go in there. They're always freshened up and waiting for you. That's the toughest part for us running on the road. People don't know how hard it is to keep all these motors freshened up and keep your stuff in good shape, and as we race, we all race together so all our stuff gets down together. But everybody usually gets prepared as well as they can to go there because if you don't you're going to be in trouble."

KERRY MADSEN , driver of the American Racing Custom Wheels/EarthEx/Morrison Engines Keneric Racing #29

With as good as you have been running, how excited are you to take on the Pennsylvania Posse this week: "You always kind of look forward to it because the Grove is so steeped in tradition and has some really tough competitors and good teams and equipment. ... They're getting to a lot of smack talking so I'm kind of really hoping all the Outlaw guys do well. For me coming from Australia, there was Knoxville, Eldora and Williams Grove. It's exciting to go to Williams Grove, and Lincoln is quite and event as well. It's pretty exciting.

What would it mean to win an Outlaw show in central Pennsylvania: "It would be absolutely fantastic to win at Williams Grove. If you can win an Outlaw race in PA, it means you're pretty much at the top."

PAUL McMAHAN , driver of the Bair's Tree Service/All-Star Performance CJB Motorsports #51

With Pennsylvania car owners, is there more pressure when you race at Lincoln or Williams Grove: "We always want to run good in front of the boss and his friends and family, and all our sponsors are from PA, but there's no more pressure on me than I put on ourselves each and every night. It's tough enough just to go to Pennsylvania and race against the Posse.

Do the Outlaws have an advantage because of how many races the series has run this season: "They have so many laps around that place in years - it's tough on Greg (Hodnett) and the guys who changed rides - but the guys with the same teams, and even Hodnett, they're going to be tough no matter what. They have so many laps around that place they can pretty much do it blindfolded."

DARYN PITTMAN , driver of the Great Clips/Sage Fruit/Team ASE/Factory Kahne Kasey Kahne Racing with Mike Curb #9

Do the Outlaws have an advantage going into Pennsylvania this week because of how many races the series has run this season: "I don't know that we ever have an advantage going there. The competition level is going to be tough whether they've raced a lot or not. I think a lot of our guys are running really well, a lot of teams are running a lot better than they were at this time last year. I feel like we're running as good, maybe even a little better, and there are five or six guys that are pretty equal right now, they can win any night. They definitely seem like they're on top of their game. We're going to go in there and try to win and know that it's going to be tough."

On returning to Pennsylvania after having raced there from 2009-2012: "I'm excited to get back, we ran second at the National Open last fall. We were close to winning a race at Williams Grove. That was a big goal of mine, to win a race for Kasey there at a track where the 9 car has generally struggled at. We were good, just didn't get the job done. Definitely a big goal of mine is to try to win a race there this year."

Does your experience racing in central Pennsylvania help: "It doesn't hurt. Whether it's an advantage or not I don't know but I like to think it is. I'm more confident going there. I always ran well at Williams Grove before I started racing in Pennsylvania, but definitely I feel like I'm better now than I was. It's a humbling place, though. I can go there with as much confidence in the world and find myself in the C-main. It's that tough. We'll definitely go there with a confidence and hopefully we'll win."

JOEY SALDANA , driver of the Motter Equipment/HEMSaw/Beltline Body Shop Motter Motorsports #71M

Does racing as much as the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series has this spring help when going into Pennsylvania: "I don't think it does. I think a lot of it is that those guys are so in tune to their racetracks. They know what it takes to go fast there. They've been in those situations before, but obviously being behind the wheel and racing is the best thing you can have as a driver and a crew chief and a team. Definitely them not racing and us racing is better for us, but I don't foresee any of them not being prepared. I don't think of them any different than an Outlaw team. They're just Outlaw teams that run in their own backyard and they're very prepared for when the Outlaws show up. They definitely show that when we're there."

How big a boost would it be to get a victory in Pennsylvania: "That would be big to any team, especially to our team. I don't think Dan's ever won a race in PA and I've only won one Outlaw show at Williams Grove, and that was a prelim. It would be huge for myself and my team. It's definitely a booster when you go into the toughest competition in the United States and pull out a victory. We've been putting everything in place. You have to qualify well to even think you're going to have a shot. You have to put yourself in position and then you have to do everything right to win the race. Hopefully we can continue our qualifying effort out there and put ourselves in that position you need to be in to have a shot at winning.

DONNY SCHATZ , driver of the STP/Armor All/Crimsafe/Chevrolet Performance Tony Stewart Racing #15

On racing against the tough Pennsylvania Posse: "Those guys race, we race. People put a lot more hype on what it really is when you get out there than what it really is. We race the same day in and day out whether it's here, there or Pennsylvania. You don't change anything, there are just a lot more cars, better cars, things kind of sort themselves out a little bit when it's like that."

On winning in locations where your crew members are from (crew chief Ricky Warner is from Carlisle, Pa.): "It's always fun to win at your guys' home track, or my home track, when you have guys that grew up around the place and they have a pretty close tie to it, but we obviously want to do our best everywhere we go, and you feel better when you do better at their home track. It's been very good to us going out that way, we're looking forward to it."

LOGAN SCHUCHART , driver of the Your Auto Source NAPA Autocare Center/Rich Fogle Custom Pole Buildings Shark Racing #1S

On racing with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series: "Other than I-55 and Eldora, so far every track we've run is something we're not familiar with. I'm looking forward to getting home and seeing my family, and I'm looking forward to racing on tracks I'm pretty familiar with and have raced a lot. Lincoln Speedway is one of my favorite tracks. It's usually pretty fun up against the wall and fast and racy.

"I think when you go around to different tracks, even some that are similar to what you're used to, it makes you more comfortable. I feel like I have a good racecar. We've learned a lot since we've been on the road. I wouldn't say that I'm overconfident going back home, but I feel like if the track does something we're not familiar with we can adapt a lot faster. I think being on the Outlaw tour has helped us a lot with getting experience at different tracks, and that will help us at home."

JASON SIDES , driver of the Wetherington Tractor Service/VRP Shocks/Dancer Logisitics Sides Motorsports #7S

Do the Outlaws have an advantage going into this week because of how many races the series has run this season: "I think they still have the advantage at Lincoln because they race there more often than we do. It's not one of those tracks like any place else. Same with Williams Grove, it's long and narrow. We struggle when we go there."

BRAD SWEET , driver of the SureTestSupplies.com/SurePointMedical.com/Sage Fruit/Team ASE/Factory Kahne Kasey Kahne Racing with Mike Curb #49

Is it different going to race in Pennsylvania now that you're competing full-time for a World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship:"PA for me is always tough for whatever reason. Last year we actually ran pretty well there, but the pressure has never been that high to run there. When you start running for points, finishes matter a little bit more now, so it's a little more important to get good solid finishes out there. The competition is as tough as ever out here and out there. It'll be tough, it's always bragging rights and all that nonsense, but we just hope to get good finishes and hopefully we can stay close in the points. A lot of the guys in front us in points have a little more experience and run a little better in PA. We're just hoping we can get good solid finishes and stay close in the points."

SAMMY SWINDELL , driver of the Big Game Treestands/Eyecon Trail Cameras Big Game Motorsports #1

Do the Outlaws have an advantage because of how many races the series has run this season: "They still got way more track time than we do at those places that seem to be unique. I've been close at Lincoln, I just hope we can continue to get a little bit better. The track could be quite a bit different (from past years). There are a lot of things that come into play, sometimes when you go out or where you wind end up qualifying."

Does a victory in Pennsylvania mean more than other places: "For me, not really. It's all the same. There are a lot of good cars out there so obviously it's harder. I'm not going to say a win here or a win there is bigger than anywhere else. They're all big anymore. I'll be happy to go out there and win one for myself."

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