Sprint Car Racing – WoO and All-Star 2009 Review
The 2009 World of Outlaws Sprint Car season comprised sixty-six races; the top three finishers in the 2009 point standings won forty-one of the races, or 62.1%. Donny Schatz won the title driving his Tony Stewart J & J-Shaver to a WoO record closest point margin of nineteen points over Jason Meyers. Meyers had the edge in only one statistical category, Top Ten finishes, with 55 to 54 for Schatz, but Schatz led the series in Top Five finishes with 39. Meyers ranked third in Top Five finishes with 34. Schatz ranked second in 2009 wins with twelve, Meyers third with nine. The leader in the Wins column, Kasey Kahne driver Joey Saldana with twenty, ranked second in Top Five finishes with 37 but fell short of the top two point finishers by posting only a fourth-ranking total of 48 Top Ten finishes. Saldana finished third in points, 51 behind Meyers.
Steve Kinser finished fourth in points, 172 behind Saldana, and scored only two wins. His 49 Top Ten finishes ranked third. Jason Sides finished fifth in points with two wins, Danny Lasoski sixth with five wins, and Craig Dollansky seventh with three victories as the top seven point finishers scored 53 victories, or 80.3% of the season’s races. The leading finisher in the point standings without a race win was Kraig Kinser in eighth.
Schatz began the season with a bang, winning three of the first five races with Saldana taking the other two. Meyers scored his first win in the sixth race of the season. A non-Top Ten point finisher, Randy Hannagan, won race seven. Saldana then won race eight and the victory tally was even at three apiece with Schatz. Another non-Top Tenner, Chad Kemenah, won race nine, at the now defunct Manzanita Speedway. Saldana then won the next two races, in Texas at Lone Star and Houston Raceway Park, to pull ahead of Schatz in the win column 5 to 3. Meyers won at Paducah. Non-Top Tenner Tim Kaeding then won at Riverside International in Arkansas. Steve Kinser scored the first of his two 2009 wins at Tri-State in Indiana. Schatz then won at Knoxville and Eldora in early May to equal Saldana’s five victories. Danny Lasoski took his first 2009 victory at Delaware International. Non-Top Tenner Greg Hodnett won at Williams Grove. Saldana then won at the Charlotte Dirt Track and at Virginia Motor Speedway to pull ahead of Schatz in wins by a 7 to 5 margin. Schatz countered with a win at Canandaigua. Dale Blaney gave the “outsiders” a win at Attica. Meyers took a win at I-96 on May 30. Over the next five races, Saldana took three wins, Schatz two, and the season win score was Saldana ten, Schatz eight. Meyers and Lasoski were the next winners before Saldana won at U.S. 36 on June 26. Knoxville ace Terry McCarl won at Knoxville on June 27. Lasoski won at Eagle in Nebraska on July 4. Saldana won at 34 Raceway in Iowa on July 8, but then did not win again until August 8 at I-55. This month without a win encompassed a twelve-race winless span for Saldana; eight drivers won the twelve races but Schatz won three of them to pull even with Saldana at eleven wins. The I-55 win put Saldana ahead with twelve victories but after Dollansky won at River Cities on August 21 Schatz won at Dacotah, North Dakota on August 22 and the win total was again even, at twelve apiece. The Dacotah victory was Schatz’s final win of 2009; he hung on to win the point race although Saldana won eight more races to run his total to 20! In fact, after Schatz’s August 22 win Saldana won the next three races! Jason Meyers then posted his own three-race win srreak before Saldana won both races at Silver Dollar in September. Meyers then won at Clay County in Iowa on September 16 but Saldana struck back at Deer Creek, Minnesota on September 19. The next four races saw the championship contenders winless but then Saldana won at Lone Star on October 24 and Meyers won the first race at Charlotte. Saldana won the Charlotte season finale but it wasn’t enough to overcome the point lead Schatz built up during Saldana’s twelve-race summer drought.
The All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car series featured a 40-race schedule; nineteen drivers won races. Tim Shaffer won the first race of the 2009 season on January 30 and went on to record a series-leading total of eight victories and clearly win the 2009 championship title! Shaffer racked up 7205 points to beat winless runnerup Greg Wilson’s 6451 by a 754-point margin. Shaffer also led the series in Top Five finishes (nineteen) and Top Ten finishes (thirty). The third through fifth-place drivers in the points (Daron Clayton, Ryan Bunton, and David Gravel) were winless. The driver with the second-highest number of wins in the series, Stevie Smith with six, ranked ninth in points. Dale Blaney ranked tied for third in wins with four and placed sixth in points. Terry McCarl also posted four wins. Three drivers posted two 2009 race wins: Randy Hannagan, Donny Schatz, and Danny Smith. Twelve drivers posted one victory apiece: Cody Darrah, Craig Dollansky, Chad Layton, Kerry Madsen, Brian Montieth, Jim Nier, Darryn Pittman, Fred Rahmer, Joey Saldana, Todd Shaffer, Sam Swindell, and Scott Winters. The longest win streaks of the season were two-race streaks! Stevie Smith achieved two two-race win streaks, taking consecutive wins at Port Royal on May 9 and May 10 and consecutive victories at Hilltop on June 23 and at Waynesfield on June 24. Champion Tim Shaffer won consecutively at Lernerville and Elkins on June 5 and June 6. Donny Schatz won consecutively at Volusia Park February 3 and 4. Dale Blaney won consecutively at Lawrenceburg September 11 and 12. Although champion Tim Shaffer led the series with eight wins he suffered a ten-race victory drought in the July 19 through September 5 races.