Jumping the Start: Morgan Hughes National Open 
The 50th annual Morgan Hughes National Open is next for the World of Outlaws, as they take on the Pennsylvania Posse Friday and Saturday at the famed half-mile known as Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg.

The first ever National Open was held in 1963 and the winner was Gordon Johncock. That’s right, the same Gordon Johncock who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1973 and 1982. Two-time Outlaws champion Jason Meyers won both nights last year (with the finale being rained out and rescheduled on the following Friday) to collect the $50,000 check.

The top five drivers in points look like this:
1. Donny Schatz 8,944
2. Craig Dollansky 8,830
3. Sammy Swindell 8,817
4. Joey Saldana 8,789
5. Steve Kinser 8,701

After a rain delay that lasted for almost three hours at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania last night, the Commonwealth Clash (or the Midnight Bash) did get in and the 35-lap A-Main had a few twists and turns. In just his second night driving Chad and Jenn Clemens’ #51 car, Paul McMahan was running in second before pulling into the pits with five laps to go. It was a real shame, because McMahan was the top qualifier and he had a great car all night long. He was right behind Dollansky when he went pitside. Dollansky had engine problems after leading the first 32 laps, and dropped to 11th. That gave the win to Dale Blaney. Schatz finished second and was followed by Jason Sides, Saldana, and 15th-starting Jac Haudenschild. Swindell was sixth, with Kinser finishing 13th.

Will an Outlaw or a Posse driver take home the 50 grand? Schatz is looking for his fifth National Open win, and also trying to lock up his fifth WoO title. For the Posse, will it be a veteran like Fred Rahmer, Greg Hodnett, Lance Dewease, or Don Kreitz, Jr.? Or will it be someone younger like Brian Montieth, Chad Layton, Danny Dietrich, or Daryn Pittman?

The Posse has the toughest group of drivers in the nation, and the National Open has had car counts between the low 50’s and the low 60’s over the past few years. With a strong combination of veterans and up and coming racers in Central PA this season, the 50th running of the National Open is going to be star-studded.

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Grays Harbor and Skagit pictures are up! 
I posted well over 100 pictures in two different folders on my photo page from my time at GHR and Skagit. The links are below. Check them out and enjoy!

http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n205 ... st%202012/

http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n205 ... er%202012/

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A question for Seahawks fans 
There are only five days left until the Seattle Seahawks start their regular season, as they take on NFC West rivals the Arizona Cardinals down in Glendale on Sunday.

The 'Hawks finished their preseason with a perfect 4-0 record and are looking to rack up more wins as the season kicks into high gear. Will they finish above .500, below .500, or exactly at .500?

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Time to Review: Outlaws in Washington notes 
If you were at Skagit Speedway Saturday night, you’ve witnessed something very, very special. Australia native Kerry Madsen was looking to complete a weekend sweep as the A-Main field took the green flag, but he was too early on the throttle and was penalized one row. That put Lake Stevens driver Travis Jacobson on the pole. The 2006 410 track champion raced mistake-free and led all 35 laps to get his first ever World of Outlaws victory over four-time series champion Donny Schatz and “Double Down” Jason Sides in front of a packed house. T-Jac adds his name to an illustrious list of drivers that have won a WoO main event and it’s the biggest win of his career. How cool was it to see a local driver win at his home track over the best drivers in the business?

Earlier in the week, Sammy Swindell won Wednesday’s WoO show at Grays Harbor Raceway and Kyle Miller won the Northwest Wingless Tour main event. Madsen won Friday’s preliminary A-Main at Skagit on Friday, while “Fast” Freddie Vela prevailed in the Outlaw Hornets feature. In Saturday’s USAC Northwest Ignite Midgets race, it was Jared Peterson chalking up yet another win. Without further delay, let’s dig in...

A Total Team Effort: Before Saturday’s huge victory, Jacobson’s best finish with the Outlaws was sixth on September 2 of last year and he was sixth again on Friday. T-Jac’s teammate was none other than “The Wild Child” Jac Haudenschild. Jac bounced back from a turn one spin on lap six at GHR on Wednesday to win the KSE Hard Charger Award with a 18th-to-ninth run. He gained nine spots again at Skagit on Friday by crossing the line fourth after starting 13th. After being as low as 16th in Saturday‘s A-Main, Jac once again pulled through to come home seventh. The Shaylen Raye Motorsports team was looking for enormous things from their two drivers on their home turf and they had that goal achieved...and more!

Three-Way Tie: Coming into Wednesday’s race at Elma, Craig Dollansky and Joey Saldana shared the track record of 11.915 seconds. Craig registered that time on August 27, 2004 and Joey duplicated that exactly three years later. Three-time WoO champion Swindell was the fastest driver in warm-ups at 11.982 seconds and was looking to beat that in time trials. His first lap was 11.917 seconds and the second was 11.915! To have two people tie the track record is rare, but having three people share that honor is even more so.

Check Out My New Ride: After driving Roger Henderson’s #7N car earlier this year, Everett native Jayme Barnes returned to Grays Harbor Raceway on Wednesday in a different hauler. The #17J car that he’s driving is owned by Rick Rogers from Williston, North Dakota and it’s a lot more colorful than Henderson’s car. He had a strong start at GHR with a victory in heat three and then finished tenth in the dash. However, he couldn’t avoid a flipping Tim Kaeding on the frontstretch on lap ten in the main event and dropped to 20th. Jayme did slightly better at Skagit on Friday with a 16th-place finish, but went to the pits before the green flag for Saturday’s B-Main.

Alive and Kicking: A kickball game was held Saturday at the Erik Tesarik Ball Park in Sedro-Woolley to raise money for children‘s cancer research. The proceeds were split between The Jeff Gordon Foundation and The Big Al Kids & Motorsports Foundation. Over $4,500 was raised at the event. Later in the evening, car owner Kevin Rudeen and his dad pitched in to boost that total to more than $5,000! I was in the team that was led by Madsen, while Shane Stewart was the captain of the other team. World of Outlaws PR guy Shawn Miller was the play-by-play announcer and auctioneer. Other drivers that took part included Travis Rilat, Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Derek Roberts (who flattened the kickball in the first inning), Eric Fisher, Trey Starks, Henry Van Dam, Mack Brown, Ashley Lewellen, Victoria Cantu, Zach McCabe, Cam Smith, and Tyler Fox (who played barefoot). Huge thanks to Big Al for putting this event together and everyone for coming out for a great cause!

Going Wingless: Speaking of Cam Smith, he made his NWWT debut on Wednesday at Elma and was consistent all night long. He was third in qualifying, fifth in heat one after starting tenth, and sixth in the main event. Cam had a back and forth battle for fourth place in the early laps of the feature with another driver that usually races with a wing, Reece Goetz. Reece took that spot for good out of turn two on lap number six before going on to finish second.

On Cloud Nine: Vela’s victory on Friday was win number nine for 2012. He made the winning pass around Rick Young in turn one on lap eight. Freddie is the defending Outlaw Hornets champion and is looking for title number two. He and Young are locked in a very tight points race, as they just have the season finale left to go next Saturday night.

Perfect at Skagit: The USAC Northwest Ignite Midgets had four races at Skagit Speedway this year and Peterson was the winner of all four of them. Jared took the lead from Todd Hartmann out of turn four on lap four in Saturday’s show and finished ahead of tenth-place starter Chase Goetz (Reece's younger brother). This is Jared’s ninth win in the series and if you add that number to his victories at Deming Speedway in the Hoosier Speedmart 600 class, he has 15 for '12. The next race for the USAC Northwest Ignite Midgets is this Saturday at GHR, and Jared holds a 49-point lead over Chase.

Number for the Weekend: 18. T-Jac, you and your team deserved that win.

Consistency Award: Dollansky. “The Crowd Pleaser” had a second, a third, and a fifth during the Washington swing to maintain the WoO points lead in his quest for his first title. He leads Schatz by 44 markers before tonight’s race at Willamette Speedway.

Hard Luck Award: Jonathan Allard. JA had a miserable couple of A-Mains at Skagit. He was in the tenth position on Friday when he and Hafertepe got together on the frontstretch on a lap 12 restart and had his front end broken. He ended up 21st. Jonathan was supposed to start 15th in Saturday’s show, but went into the infield before the green flag. He started at the back, but pulled back into the infield again after racing just two laps and was dead last. JA gave me a 0 sticker before Friday’s racing and I placed it on my car yesterday morning. Thanks, Jon!

Next race: The 50th annual Morgan Hughes National Open at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania on September 28 and 29. I’ve been to Tulare, California for Trophy Cup the past two years and both years were a lot of fun. I’m ending my 2012 season with a different big money race, as I prepare for my biggest trip yet. I’ll be off to the other end of the United States and in the heart of “Posse Land”.

Pictures: http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n205/Racer4u_2006/

Blog: http://www.shauninthedirt.com/bensblog/

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Jumping the Start: World of Outlaws at Grays Harbor and Skagit 
As the World of Outlaws return to the United States, the championship chase among the top five drivers is still very tight. The margin is just 97 points before Wednesday’s race at Grays Harbor Raceway and the two-night show at Skagit Speedway Friday and Saturday.

1. Craig Dollansky 7,142
2. Donny Schatz 7,110
3. Sammy Swindell 7,097
4. Steve Kinser 7,068
5. Joey Saldana 7,045

Swindell got his tenth WoO win of 2012 at Castrol Raceway just outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada last night and is looking to build on that momentum.

If you're a fan of wingless sprint cars, you're in luck. The Northwest Wingless Tour will also race at GHR. At Skagit, the WoO will be joined by the Outlaw Hornets on Friday and the USAC Northwest Ignite Midgets on Saturday.

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Let's kick it off! 
Hello and welcome to my blog. First off, I’m a huge sprint car racing fan (or any kind of auto racing for that matter) since I was very young. Here, you’ll find recaps and pictures from races from two tracks from Washington state: Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma and Skagit Speedway in Alger. However, I've been visiting tracks outside of the Pacific Northwest over the past few years. You may never know where I'll be...

If you’re looking for a site to go if you missed a race and you’re looking for something “in your face”, you’re in the right place. Look for reviews and random thoughts from me all year long. Thanks for stopping by!

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