The North Pole, AK native, who now calls Wisconsin home, will take his Anderson’s Maple Syrup #17B on the road, joining Landon Crawley in the race for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year title.
Balog has piloted Sprint Cars for nearly two decades and joining the World of Outlaws will fulfill a lifelong goal.
“Something I’ve always dreamed of doing is running with the World of Outlaws,” Balog said. “This just seemed like a good year. I’ve ran for a couple decades, and I’ve really wanted to do this at some point in my life. This year just looked good. I always like to run for points. I like the structure. You’re here at this time and there at that time. This is where you’re sitting at in points. I just always liked that part of points racing, and there’s other things I like. The main thing is it looks like the Outlaws look out for you.”
The 44-year-old brings a stout résumé to the World of Outlaws tour. Balog has dominated the northern region of the country over the past several years, racking up 10 Interstate Racing Association (IRA) championships since 2008, and leads the all-time IRA win list by a wide margin with 138 victories. He’s taken on the All-Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) campaign twice and finished a personal best of fifth in the standings in 2021. Balog owns five career ASCoC wins, including at least one in each of the past three seasons. He also topped the World of Outlaws at Beaver Dam Raceway for his first Series victory in 2016.
Making the jump to the World of Outlaws was the natural progression for Balog with his success and recent endeavors with the All-Stars. He’s aware next year will present an entirely new challenge, but it’s one he’s looking forward to conquering.
“It’s a little bit scary honestly,” Balog said of taking on the World of Outlaws. “It’s a big challenge. That’s what, I think, most of our Sprint Car teams in the United States crave is that challenge. I think it’s the right time with the equipment we’ve built up over the years and have a truck that we can get up and down the road with a little better.”
An aspect that has Balog eager to get 2024 rolling is the travel. His previous experience has taken him to most of the country’s Sprint Car racing regions. But now he’ll get to visit them all in one season and experience 14 new tracks along the way.
“I want to do good at my home tracks here in Wisconsin,” Balog said. “But I also think California will be cool and Texas. Some of those places I’ve never been. I haven’t been to quite a few of those tracks. I always like to go to Pennsylvania. I didn’t get to go to Pennsylvania in 2023, so I’m looking forward to going back there a couple times. Just the whole thing. I think it’ll be an exciting adventure.”
The Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year title is firmly fixed in Balog’s sight. The list of winners features many Hall of Famers, along with current stars of the sport. And it’s a list Balog hopes to add his name to.
“I’d probably be the oldest one ever,” Balog said with a laugh (although that stat belongs to Wayne Johnson, who won it in 2020 at 49 years old). “It would be cool. Obviously, that’s the goal is to do the best we can in points and use the experience that I have to hopefully win the Rookie of the Year.”
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