Checkered Past: Final Bend

They’re going down to the wire. Like two thoroughbred horses rounding the clubhouse corner neck-and-neck, dominant Donny Schatz and never-been-champ Brad Sweet are taking the 2019 World of Outlaws title fight to a Can-Am World Finals photo-finish. Such suspense is historically unusual. Schatz and Steve Kinser earned 30 collective crowns long before the final night … Read more

Checkered Past: Super DIRT Week

Syracuse 1974 was the biggest road trip in my eleven-year life. Dad dispatched us to bed to rise before dawn for the four-hour pilgrimage up I-81. Bob was happy at Reading, but his brother had hit pits of the first two modified classics on New York State Fairgrounds. “It’s the New Langhorne,” George Eckert declared. … Read more

Checkered Past: Rail Tale

We who have seen these World of Outlaws in each of their 41 seasons are a dying lot. Melodramatic maybe but stone dead reality. Maintaining perfect attendance however, warranted only a passing thought. Adventure was my motive. I had seen the World of Outlaws a thousand times but never on the end of a train. … Read more

Checkered Past: Pastures of Plenty

“Welcome to the Hotel California,” crooned Don Henley in 1976. “Such a lovely place. Such a lovely face. Plenty of room at the Hotel California. Any time of year, you can find it here.” Plenty of room indeed. I-5 stretches 796 miles from Oregon to Mexico. Don was drummer and legendary lyricist of The Eagles … Read more

Checkered Past: Dakota Wind

“Dakota” was first defined as the Sioux language of the Santee tribe. In 1889 it named the newest of the then-40 United States. In its ensuing 130 years, North and South Dakota remained Top 20 for land mass and Top Five for least people. Fargo, ND and Sioux Falls, SD are largest in each. Fortunately … Read more

CHECKERED PAST: Splitting Hares

Knoxville Nationals is centerpiece of every season. For nearly six decades, the best in the world have converged on Marion County Fairground for one, two, three, four and in cases of rain or fog, five days and raucous nights. Yet in four decades of the World of Outlaws, only the final night of each Nationals … Read more

Checkered Past: PA Posse

Don Kreitz Jr. and Sammy Swindell

The World of Outlaws just entertained enough Eldora spectators to start a small country. They have spun turnstiles of 230 speedways in 39 U.S. states, plus Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. No matter the amount of international currency required, fans pay to see “The Greatest Show On Dirt.” Pennsylvania, however, is where people religiously … Read more

Checkered Past: An Introduction

I knew this World of Outlaws thing would stick. Sure, anyone can say that now, 41 years after “The Greatest Show On Dirt” lifted its curtain. But the sprint car climate of 1978 was very ready for a roving salesman from Wichita Falls, Texas named Ted Johnson. Critics later argued that his World of Outlaws … Read more