By BILL FOLEY
Every so often a race driver has one of those victories that he won’t soon forget.
Such was the case of World of Outlaw competitor Shane Stewart as he captured one of those treasured wins this past weekend at the legendary Williams Grove Speedway.
Standing alongside his Larson-Marks 2 in the Weedsport Speedway pits on Sunday night he said, “It was a huge win last night and my first one at Williams Grove. I’ve raced there a long time and been close, but we were never able to finish the deal. To do it winning the Morgan Cup is something I will always remember.”
The two day Williams Grove show was an up and down for the team. He said, “It is all about track position there. On Friday we went from 19th to 13th and I thought it was a pretty good night.”
Continuing he explained, “However, on Saturday things just went our way. In the dash ‘eight’ was drawn and we started up front.”
As they say the rest was history as he ran away in the feature.
Of the Grove, Shane said, “Williams Grove is all about history. Look at the people who have won there and the accolades they have. To add it to my resume’ is special.”
The public relations hype about the World of Outlaws versus the Pennsylvania Posse isn’t exactly a gimmick.
Stewart explained, “It is the absolute biggest rivalry the Outlaws have. Pennsylvania is a place where the local guys can beat us. You can’t assume an Outlaw win at the Grove or Lincoln. Many times when we roll in to a track elsewhere in the country you expect an Outlaw to win and logically run well, but it is a different story in Pennsylvania. Williams Grove and Lincoln are both very unique and different types of tracks.”
Shane Stewart probably has achieved something that he never dreamed of and noted “I’ve won at Eldora. Growing up in Oklahoma you really wanted to win at Devil’s Bowl and we’ve done that. We won at Chico and Knoxville. It just means so much.”
For years Shane Stewart selected where and when he wanted to race and then spent a few years in the ASCS series where he was among the elite.
However, he hoped to get that World of Outlaw shot and it came.
Now in his fourth year he is one of the drivers to be reckoned with in the formidable circuit.
Explaining how his current racing destination was achieved Shane said, “I was buddies with Kyle (Larson) and he knew Justin (Marks). Kyle said he wanted to do an Outlaw team and Justin helped make it happen.”
With the marketing connections that Marks and Larson possess the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, Eneos and Parker Stores all emblazon the white deuce.
The Outlaws come to New York only a couple of times a season. The races at Rolling Wheels and Lebanon Valley are off the schedule, but Central New York fans get to see the travelers at Weedsport, Fulton and even Ransomville this year.
Stewart talked about New York facilities.
In regards to Weedsport he said, “It is sort of a D shape. At least you have to look at it that way. One is very unique, but the you drive the rest of it like it’s a D. Fulton isn’t bad, but surfaces in New York can be different from anywhere else in the country.”
In the past some surfaces in the Empire State have been known to be “New York Slick”.
Stewart says, “When they are like that you just need to drive as though egg shells were under the gas pedal.”
Stewart competes against at least 14 other regulars for 100 shows a year.
He explained, “We all respect one another and there is a great amount of trust between us. If you notice you will rarely see two Outlaws involved in the same accident. It happens, but not all that much. We know one another and are familiar with what every one of the guys who are traveling do.”
The competition is intense as evidenced that it was late May before Stewart could pick up that first win of the season. He noted, “We’ve been close”, but that “close” ended up being a victory at one of the most illustrious tracks in the nation before a 410 Sprint car loving crowd at Williams Grove as the Outlaws walked away with the Morgan Cup and bragging rights for at least another year.