When the World of Outlaws first invaded the Stockton Dirt Track at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in 2013, track promoter Tony Noceti was unsure how well it would be received. He knew the sprint car series sold out whenever the Outlaws traveled to Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway, but a new oval set inside a horse track?
His answer came in record ticket sales.
The venerable sprint car series returns Saturday and Sunday for the FVP Western Spring Shootout that starts a seven-night Northern California swing for the world’s best 410 cubic-inch sprint car drivers. The Outlaws also will visit Silver Dollar Speedway (March 28), Antioch Speedway (March 29), Placerville Speedway (April 8) and Calistoga Speedway (April 11-12).
“It’s going to be another fantastic weekend of racing,” Noceti said. “The weather is supposed to be great, and ticket sales are really picking up.”
Shane Stewart of Oklahoma leads the Outlaws points standings going into Stockton. Stewart has a 21-point advantage over six-time Outlaws champ Donny Schatz. Stewart drives for Larson/Marks Racing and his car is co-owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup star and former Stockton Dirt Track winner Kyle Larson. The Elk Grove native won the inaugural World of Outlaws event in Stockton in 2013.
Grass Valley’s Brad Sweet is a point behind Schatz, and Elk Grove native Paul McMahan is in fourth place after eight races, 30 points behind Stewart.
For more information, go to www.stocktondirttrack.com.
More bounties: Misty Castleberry won her season-opening Pro-4 race at Marysville Raceway last weekend, and the two-time defending division champ served notice that she’s as dominant as ever.
In past seasons, former track promoter Paul Hawes instituted good-natured bounties to other drivers to try to keep Castleberry from grabbing the checkered flag. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time Castleberry prevailed.
New track promoter Dennis Gage was unaware of the bounties but said he’s all for a little fun and will connect with Hawes and likely create his own incentive for other Pro-4 drivers.
Castleberry has won a combined eight track titles in multiple divisions at Silver Dollar Speedway and Marysville Raceway.
Despite what Gage decides to do monetarily, it seems Castleberry’s fellow drivers have already tried to quell her dominance. The Sprint 100 Racing Association (SORA) is the group that operates and governs the Pro-4 Division at Marysville Raceway. Before last week’s race, SORA drivers decided that for the rest of the 2015 season, whoever won the previous week would start at the back of the field. Castleberry saw that as a shot at her and voted against the measure. Hers was the only dissenting vote.
Civil War Series: The 2015 Civil War Series for 360 cubic-inch sprint cars starts Saturday night at Marysville Raceway. Fremont’s Shane Golobic is the defending champion. He’ll be pushed this season by Roseville’s Sean Becker and Auburn’s Andy Forsberg, among others.
For more information, go to www.racepmg.com.
Mark Billingsley covers local motor sports for The Bee. Reach him at email@example.com or @editorwriter001.