3 things to know about Friday's World of Outlaws show at River Cities Speedway
Oklahoma teen to make debut with the Outlaws
GRAND FORKS – Since 2007, the World of Outlaws have had River Cities Speedway on their schedule.
It’s become one of the more entertaining tracks on the Outlaws’ circuit.
And the Outlaw are back again Friday night at The Bullring for their second appearance of the season.
The high-banked, quarter-mile track has produced a number of razor-thin finishes in the Outlaws’ visits.
The Outlaws usually bring in thousands of fans for every show. Friday night should be no exception as ticket sales reportedly are solid. The Outlaws usually produce crowds upward of roughly 5,000 fans each time they roll through Grand Forks.
Carson Macedo won the June WoO race at River Cities. He has a season-high nine wins this season. Brad Sweet, meanwhile, is atop the season points standings. He is seeking his fourth-straight championship.
Entering Friday’s WoO appearance, here are three things to watch:
1. Ryan Timms’ debut
He’s been referred to as the big thing in dirt racing, perhaps following the same path as Kyle Larson, who has become the most dominant driver in the country the past few seasons – winning in NASCAR, the World of Outlaws and virtually any other form of racing he enters.
Timms turns 16 on Friday, the legal age limit to race with the Outlaws.
“That will be my first Outlaw race and I’m pretty excited about it,” he said.
The Oklahoma teen raced at RCS earlier this season in preparation for the Outlaws’ second appearance at The Bullring.
“I know I’m not very old, but man it feels like I’ve been waiting forever to enter my first Outlaws event,” said Timms. “I can’t think of a better way to spend my 16th birthday than going head-to-head with the best 410 sprint car racers on the planet. We’ve been focused this year on getting as much seat time and experience with the 410 as possible, and we’re ready to apply what we’ve learned so far this weekend.”
Timms is expected to race approximately 100 nights this season. He raced USAC midgets, 360 sprints, POWRI Midgets and 410 sprints, among others in 2022.
He’s taken 12 wins so far this season.
“We really don’t know where we’re going; we go weekend-by-weekend and run wherever we can,” said Timms.
2. Donny Schatz surge
Schatz has been the driver to beat at River Cities Speedway over the years, racking up 12 wins in 28 races. The 10-time series champion most recently won at the track in his home state in August of 2019.
He has finished in the top 10 in each of the 28 World of Outlaws races contested at the track, with 26 of those being top-five performances, including a podium finish of third earlier this season. Schatz recently won the Knoxville Nationals, sprint car racing’s biggest race, for the 11th time in his career.
The Fargo driver had been relatively quiet this season, up until he won the Nationals. He appears to be getting stronger, however, as the Outlaws are entering the stretch run of their season.
In the Outlaws’ past 18 races, Schatz has an average finish of 5.3 with two wins, compared to an average finish of 8.3 with and no wins in the circuit’s previous 18 events.
Schatz currently is in fourth place in the season standings, 170 points behind leader Brad Sweet.
With 22 races remaining this season, can Schatz make up the difference and claim his 11th season title.
“I’ve really got a different outlook on the championship at the point we’re at,” he said after winning the Knoxville Nationals. “We’ve dug ourselves a huge hole. We’ve dug out of holes before, but we’ve been in a lot better position. We’ve built back consistency, which is important. I don’t know if it will be enough to run for a championship, but I think we’ll be able to chip away at it.”
3. Who will lead the locals?
Friday’s field is expected to draw roughly 25-30 cars.
Half of the field likely will be local NOSA members.
Who will be the top local finisher?
Mark Dobmeier, who has three WoO wins during his career, is the obvious favorite. He’s raced three times with the Outlaws this season and has a top-10 finish to his credit.
Other local drivers expected to push for a top finish include Austin Pierce, who has won four times this season at RCS, Jade Hastings, who won last week, and Brendan Mullen, who has been fast nearly every time he races at RCS.