Story by Steven Ovens – Photo Credit to Joe Secka/JMS Pro Photo – November 7, 2013 –
The STP World of Outlaws Sprint Cars series, World of Outlaws Late Models and Super DIRTcar Modified series all take center stage at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend to put a cap on the 2013 season. It will only be 3 months after the World Finals when they all converge on Volusia to open the 2014 season and restart their respective chases for the championship.
While the Super DIRTcar Modified and WoO LM championships are pretty well decided, it is the STP WoO Sprints that will display a heavy weight fight in Charlotte to decide their title. Daryn Pittman, in his first season with Kasey Kahne Racing has a 52 point lead over Donny Schatz. In the Late Models, Josh Richards has a 106 point lead over 2012 champ Darrell Lanigan. Lastly, Brett “The Jet” Hearn used some late season dominance to secure yet another Super DIRTcar Series championship with strong performances at Super DIRT Week and winning his 10th Eastern States 200 in Middletown, NY.
Daryn Pittman has shown the rest of the STP World of Outlaws series drivers and crews that winning a championship is not entirely going out and winning races. Look at Donny Schatz as an example. Schatz has 22 A-Feature wins this season, which is a personal best for the North Dakota driver. However, Pittman has excelled in qualifying- picking up 13 Quick Time Awards to Schatz’ 3 Quick Times. This has given Pittman 156 Bonus Points compared to 49 for Schatz. 300 points will be on the line at the World Finals and Schatz will look to add to his 4 previous World Finals victories if he is to have any chance to catch the KKR driver.
Josh Richards has all but wrapped up the World of Outlaws Late Models championship. He enters Charlotte with a 106 point lead and needs only a pair of 26th place finishes to clinch the 2013 crown. If he can lock up the championship, Richards would be the first driver to win 3 WoO LM championships. 2012 champ Darrell Lanigan and Shane Clanton will battle for runner up honors behind ‘Kid Rocket’. If Clanton is able to top Lanigan, he will match his best series points finish.
Brett Hearn is a name synonymously known with DIRTcar Modified racing. He is a legend who already has an empty stall ready for one of his cars in the Dirt Motorsports Hall of Fame. At Syracuse for Super DIRT Week, he led the charge to introduce a new sponsor for his team and a new shock provider to dirt modified racing in Fox Shocks. He brought Fox their first major win by winning the Salute to the Troops 150 for the 358-Modified Series. He then went to Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, NY and won his 10th Easter States 200. Not only did he win, he won after running 204 laps on a D-500 right rear Hoosier. He has clinched the 2013 crown and will look to add another trophy to the mantle.
Other drivers that could make some noise in Charlotte is Matt Sheppard and Billy Decker. Sheppard has never won at the World Finals and arrives in Charlotte knowing the championship is already decided. “We have nothing to lose, we want a World Finals win.”
Billy Decker, after having a lack-luster Super DIRT Week, has followed up that poor showing by winning the ‘King of the Can’ at Penn-Can Speedway and winning the Super DIRTcar Series race at the Brockville Ontario Speedway in the same weekend.
The Dirt Track at Charlotte will be the center of the Dirt Track World this weekend, and appropriately so for an event titled the World Finals. Championships will be on the line and champions will be crowned at the Dirt Track. A television reminder- the World Finals will be aired on CBS Sports Network on Sunday December 15th (Night 1) and Sunday December 22nd (Night 2) both airing from 9pm-12am.