PLACERVILLE, Calif. – official series release — Chris Seelman photo —
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series continues its swing through California as the series travels 90 miles north to Placerville Speedway for Brad Sweet presents the Placerville Short Track Outlaw Showdown presented by Riebes Auto Parts on Wednesday.
Shane Stewart concluded the 2015 season finishing second to seven-time series champion Donny Schatz in the final championship standings. So far in 2016, Stewart has been able to pick up where he left off, as he has carried the momentum into the new season.
Currently, the Bixby, Okla. -native sits third in the championship standings after capturing one win, seven top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes so far, tying him with point’s leader Brad Sweet for most top-10’s this year.
“The biggest thing for momentum is that nobody left,” Stewart said. “Our team is still intact from last year. I think that says a lot about Larson Marks Racing. Justin [Marks] and Kyle [Larson] do a good job taking care of the guys.
“They get treated well and that’s a big part of our industry – keeping everyone together – because that is hard to do. So nothing has really changed, which is a good thing.”
Prior to the final night at the Stockton (Calif.) Dirt Track, Stewart, in his American Born Moonshine/Eneos Oil No. 2 had been on a roll in California. Stewart recorded a second at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. and a third on the first night at Stockton.
The final night of the FVP Western Spring Shootout at Stockton, Stewart had to race his way into the feature through the Last Chance Showdown. Once in the feature, Stewart pushed forward, earning the KSE Racing Hard Charger Award after picking up nine positions to finish 10th.
The 10th place finish continued his top-10 streak which started over two months ago on the second night of the 45th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 13.
“Going into the winter you can be complacent,” Stewart said. “You have got to keep working hard and try to find speed secrets here and there.
“The thing is we ended the year well so we didn’t change a whole lot. We’re running okay this year, but I feel like we should’ve won a few more races than what we have, but it’s still early in the year and to be where we are in the points says a lot about our team.”
With as many races as the series runs in a year, keeping up the momentum can become challenging for a driver and his team.
“You just have to keep up the production,” Stewart said. “At the end of the day, one thing we really wanted to work hard on was our bad nights last year we were 15th, 12th or 16th. Those are the nights we have to be 10th or eighth.
“Everyone is going to have bad nights, but you just have to limit how many you are going to have. Hopefully our bad nights are an eighth to 10th place car and not a 16th. If we can keep whoever’s leading the points close, I think at the end of the year, hopefully we will be battling for a championship going into Charlotte.”
Stewart will face stiff competition from the Outlaws regulars and his own team owner Kyle Larson as the series takes on Brad Sweet presents the Placerville Short Track Outlaw Showdown presented by Riebes Auto Parts.
CREDIT: World of Outlaws