The Breakdown: World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at Gator Motorplex
by Tony Veneziano
WILIS, TX — February 27, 2017 — The inaugural Gator Outlaw Bash for the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series at Gator Motorplex in Willis, Texas is this weekend on Saturday, March 4. The event will mark the fifth race of the 90-plus race season for the Outlaws that stretches from February through November. Jason Johnson, who won on opening night this season, looks to add to his previous success at the quarter-mile bullring, which includes a pair of wins. A strong field is expected for the inaugural event at the track, located about 50 miles north of Houston. This edition of The Breakdown sets the stage for the Gator Outlaw Bash at Gator Motorplex, which also along with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series will see the Southern United Sprints in action.
Gator Motorplex is a high-banked, quarter-mile oval. During the off-season, the straightaways were widened from 35 feet to 50 feet and the turns were widened from 60 feet to 70 feet. In total, more than 400 truckloads of clay were added to the surface. Also, the entrance to the track was moved to turn four.
Jason Johnson was victorious at Gator Motorplex in 2009 and 2011 in 360-sprint car competition with the American Sprint Car Series (ASCS). The veteran driver has made a total of four starts at the track in his career and has finished first or second in those four races. Johnson has one World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series win already this season.
Other than Johnson, each of the other 14 driver competing full-time with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series this season will be making their debut at Gator Motorplex. The list includes: eight-time series champion Donny Schatz, 2013 titlist Daryn Pittman, David Gravel, Brad Sweet, Joey Saldana, Shane Stewart, Logan Schuchart, Jason Sides, Paul McMahan, Greg Wilson, Jacob Allen, Clyde Knipp rookie contenders Brent Marks and Sheldon Haudenschild.
Lone Star State Winners
Schatz, Pittman, Saldana, Stewart, Sweet and Johnson are all past winners in the state of Texas with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series. The series will contest a total of four race nights in the state of Texas in 2017.
Season to Date
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series opened the 2017 earlier this month at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida. Johnson was victorious on opening night, leading all 30 laps. Schatz won the final two races in Florida, which both ended up being held on the same day due to a rainout the night before. In an afternoon feature, Schatz took the lead from Chad Kemenah just past the halfway point of the 25-lap race. In the finale, Schatz used a late-race charge to overtake David Gravel with just two laps remaining to pick up the win. That pair of victories vaulted Schatz into the point lead, with Kemenah second and Johnson third.
A strong contingent of “invaders” are set to take on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at Gator Motorplex on Saturday, March 4. Among those expected are Brady Bacon, who drives for a team he co-owns with Richard Marshall—Bacon/Marshall Racing, as well as Kevin Thomas Jr., who pilots the No. 82 for the Blazin’ Racin’ team, Ian Madsen, Parker Price-Miller and R.J. Johnson, who is originally from Florida and now calls Knoxville, Iowa home. Among the drivers that hail from Texas, who are expected are Aaron Reutzel and Josh Baughman.
All Sprint Cars
The Southern United Sprints, a division of IMCA RaceSaver sprints will be the companion class competing in the Gator Outlaw Bash on Saturday, March 4, making for an evening of all sprint cars. The Southern United Sprints will be a mainstay at Gator Motorplex over the course of the 2017 season.
Tickets for the inaugural Gator Outlaw Bash, featuring the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at Gator Motorplex in Willis, Texas, the Gator Bash on Saturday, March 4 can be purchased online and at the track on race day.