BARBERVILLE, Fla. — The DIRTcar Winternationals provided the first real test of the new Goodyear sprint-car tires. There were some problems with excessive wear and tires coming apart. Some teams seemed to already have a handle on them, while others struggled.
There were several good races during the four days of sprint-car competition at Volusia Speedway Park and several drivers raced from deep in the field to score good finishes.
• Kasey Kahne Racing had three cars at VSP, including Joey Saldana’s Budweiser No. 9, the Great Clips No. 91 of rookie outlaw Cody Darrah from Pennsylvania and the Auto Value/ Ollie’s No. 49 of Brad Sweet.
An unfortunate traffic accident will sideline Darrah for a while. Darrah and his father, Joe, were struck by another motorist Saturday afternoon. The younger Darrah suffered a broken left leg.
• Tim Kaeding had an eventful time in the Dennis Roth machine at VSP. A spectacular flip Feb. 3 sent him high into the catch fence.
He was scheduled for the pole on Thursday, but pitted with a fuel leak while lining up. He was able to start and came from last to finish ninth. He ended the week by leading some laps and finishing fifth.
• Joey Saldana was talking shocks after his All Star Circuit of Champions triumph on Thursday night.
“We build our own shocks and I think that’s what’s helping right now,” Saldana said. “We struggled and struggled, but that hard work is paying off now.”
Saldana gave his trophy to the young fan who pulled his feature starting spot. Saldana was the overall point champion with three runner-ups and the victory.
• It will take some getting used to seeing Steve Kinser in Bass Pro Shop colors instead of Quaker State green. Kinser had a great beginning with Tony Stewart Racing scoring a victory, two third places and a fourth.
“We’ve got a great race team and we’re off to a good start,” Kinser said. “We’re going to try and get Bass Pro Shops a championship.”
The 55-year-old champ had neck surgery over the winter and appears re-energized.
• Lucas Wolfe has gone back to an orange paint scheme instead of blue. Wolfe’s best VSP finish was a fourth, although he charged from 22nd to finish seventh Saturday.
Wolfe is back again with long-time car owners Jim and Laura Allebach. Wolfe and father Randy will once again take to the road fulltime this year. Wolfe has been with the Allebach’s since his rookie season in 2003.
Wolfe subbed for Jac Haudenschild for the VSP opener and finished sixth. The Wild Child flew home to be with family while his father had surgery.
• Outlaws rookies include Cody Darrah, Ben Gregg and Canadian driver Toni Lutar. Gregg’s car is sponsored by Kronik Energy drink with a sharp-looking paint scheme on the car and the hauler.