Tulare - Meyers series spotlight
A Home Track Test: Meyers Ready to Tackle Thunderbowl Raceway Jason Meyers has always had a great deal of success competing at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California. The 1/3-mile is just a half-hour from his home town of Clovis, California ...
A Home Track Test: Meyers Ready to Tackle Thunderbowl Raceway
Jason Meyers has always had a great deal of success competing at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California. The 1/3-mile is just a half-hour from his home town of Clovis, California and ever since he began competing at the high-banked track, he has had two main goals. One was to win the prestigious Trophy Cup that closes the year each season at Thunderbowl Raceway, and the other was win an Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event at the track.
He accomplished one of those feats last season, as he used third-place finishes on both nights of the Trophy Cup to claim the overall title in the famed event, with a couple of fellow Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series drivers also competing for the $15,000 top prize. He now has his sights set on winning with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at his home track aboard the GLR Investments KPC with Charlie Garrett power, and he will have two opportunities to do that this weekend, as the series visits the always racy facility on Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23.
"We always look forward to Tulare," said Meyers, who has 19 career World of Outlaws A-Feature wins. "It is what I would call our home track. We always have a lot of sponsors and family and friend at the race. It's usually a busy time. Any time you are racing around home it's busy with sponsors and obligations and you just have to balance that with staying focused on the race."
Last season the World of Outlaws competed three times at Thunderbowl Raceway, and Meyers finished fourth, fifth and seventh in those events. He also won the Crane Cams Dash on February 24 to earn the pole position in the 40-lap contest. In his career with the series at Thunderbowl Raceway, he has six Top-10 finishes. He won his first race at the track in 2002 with the Golden State Challenge Series and has three overall wins with that series at the high-banked 1/3-mile.
"Winning an Outlaws event anywhere is a big deal," he shared. "They are so tough to win anymore. I'll argue that they have always been tough to win. Winning an Outlaws show is as tough now as it has been and to win one at home would mean a lot to us, especially for our sponsors, car owners and everyone involved with the team. We've been working hard all season to win races and hopefully we can pick one off here at Tulare."
Meyers and his team had a very strong start to the season, as they won the second night of the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals for the World of Outlaws at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida on February 9 and earned Top-Five finishes in five of the six events. They were three-for-three with the World of Outlaws in scoring Top-Fives and also earned two podium finishes with the All Star Circuit of Champions at the half-mile.
"You are never perfect," he noted. "If you were perfect, you would quit trying. We always try to achieve perfection, but you always are a little bit short. I think it was a good start and we are very happy with it. We have a long season ahead of us and we have to keep on working. That was definitely how we wanted to come out of the box and we worked hard all winter to do that."
After getting rained out last weekend at Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, Mississippi, Meyers returned home to California for what has been a very busy week with numerous media and sponsor obligations. He looks to carry the momentum from the season opening events in Florida back to the West Coast for the fourth and fifth races of the nine-plus month World of Outlaws season. Just as last weekend, he will be keeping one eye on the radar as the weekend draws near.
"It's always tough this time of the year with the rain," Meyers said. "You get pumped to go racing and then it rains like last weekend. There is always a threat of rain, and you just have to sit down and stay focused. You get the adrenaline going and then if it looks like rain the adrenaline slows down and then you have to get going again."
While Meyers began the 2008 season with the same crew back from last season, which he credits as being the best in the business, there is one new piece to the equation this year, and that is that the team is now exclusively campaigning a KPC chassis, which they have developed and built in-house. They ran the car toward the end of last season and had success right off the bat with it, including a win during the inaugural Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"We used some races at the end of last year to work things out," explained Meyers. "We did that because we certainly did not want to start this year out testing and doing R&D (Research and Development). We were pretty excited that we came out of the box that way, and we went into it hoping and expecting to come out that way, but not knowing for sure. We're glad to see it turn out that way."
After a very strong finish to the 2007 season, that saw Meyers earn 11 consecutive Top-Seven finishes, including four wins, he and his team were anxious to begin preparing for 2008 and continuing to develop the car that they were working on. He spent most of the time in the shop during the off-season, making just one quick trip to Australia, where he earned a fourth and sixth-place finish.
"It added a lot of work, but we have some great people that we are working with," he said of the team building chassis' in-house. "It made for a long winter, but it was an exciting winter. We chose to make that step and it's a pretty exciting deal for us. We were confident we could do it and to come out and have it pay off makes us really excited. All of the long hours over the winter are paying off."
With well over 80 races left on the World of Outlaws schedule, Meyers is focused on winning as many races as he can and running up front. He is quick to note that every position on the track matters and that turning a seventh-place run into a fifth-place finish or a fifth-place run into a third-place showing will pay off at the end of the year. He is currently second in championship points, just 10 markers behind leader Craig Dollansky. The pair are the only drivers that have finished in the Top-Five in all three World of Outlaws events this season.
"If you win races and finish in the Top-Three, the points take care of themselves," he explained. "You definitely have to finish races and you have to keep that in your mindset. We want to win each and every night that we roll into the race track, and that's what we're there to do. That is our only task there, but at the same time you have to be a smart racer and you can't just go out and try to 'Win it or wear it' each night."
On Friday, February 22, at Thunderbowl Raceway tickets for seats in the bleachers will be $35, while tickets for seats in the grandstand will be $40. For ticket information call (559) 688-0909 or visit www.thunderbowlraceway.com.
On Saturday, February 23, at Thunderbowl Raceway tickets for seats in the bleachers will be $40, while tickets for seats in the grandstand will be $45. For ticket information call (559) 688-0909 or visit www.thunderbowlraceway.com.