JAMESTOWN, NY – The Outlaws started with 47 races ahead of them back in February and it’s now come down to the final eight, starting this weekend with visits to The New Stateline Speedway on Thursday, Outlaw Speedway on Friday and Selinsgrove Speedway on Saturday.
Thursday night’s show will certainly be one to watch live on DIRTVision, as points leader Brandon Sheppard will make his first attempt at World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series history to become the first driver to reach 19 Feature victories in a single season. Rocket1 Racing has had an incredible season thus far, but now the team converges into the backyard of two of the Northeast’s most respected and fan-favorited drivers in all of Dirt Late Model Racing – original “Dirty Dozen” member Chub Frank and current full-time World of Outlaws veteran Boom Briggs.
Stateline Speedway and the two Bear Lake, PA, drivers have a deep-rooted connection. Frank’s father originally built and operated both Stateline and Eriez Speedway in the 1950s, where both Frank and Briggs cut their teeth in dirt track racing. Taking after their fathers before them, the two cousins jumped behind the wheel of their own cars, racing locally for several years before coming together as a driver/crew-chief combo to tackle Frank’s first stab at the World of Outlaws tour in its inaugural season of 2004.
After two seasons on the road as crew chief, Briggs returned to his local operation in 2006 and saw several seasons of success with his local operation at Stateline and Eriez, before embarking on his own national tour attempt in 2014. Now in his fourth season of full-time competition, Briggs was on a mission this season to give the tour “one fair shot” after two 11th-places and a 14th-place finish in the overall points standings from 2014-2016.
“We just want one good, fair shot at a solid, competitive year out on the tour,” he said back in January.
His 2016 World of Outlaws campaign took an unfortunate turn after a violent crash in the Illini 100 at Farmer City Raceway that broke his arm and sidelined him until the beginning of July, where he was able to continue, but had fallen way back in points. The sour taste that lingered in Briggs’ mouth from his third attempt at the national level in the sport he and his family so deeply loved just could not sit with him any longer.
So, he saddled up once more last February and headed out for the season opener at Screven Motor Speedway, the site of his best finish with the World of Outlaws – a runner-up to Rick Eckert in 2016. Since this past February, Briggs admits it’s definitely been a challenge to get his new Club29 Chassis under him, but he feels as though he’s made some real progress.
“We tried to give it 100 percent,” Briggs said. “I’m not disappointed, and I feel like we could have run better than we did, but there’s been growing pains with this new car that I think are finally starting to pay off.”
Just as it was in his first years as an Outlaw, Briggs doesn’t have the abundant crew help that some of the other big-name teams do. This, Briggs admits, has also been a contributing factor to his struggles this year. But he has had episodes of success as well.
The #99B sat on the pole of the Sundrop Shootout at Shawano Speedway back in July, as well as the outside pole at Plymouth Dirt Track the night before. Most recently, he picked up the PFC Brakes Fast Time Award for his efforts in Qualifying on night #1 of the Battle at the Border at Sharon Speedway. He’s also collected three Drydene Heat Race wins over the course of the season.
That all adds into the confidence pool he’s had going as of late, now heading to a track he knows more about than anyone else aboard the full-time Outlaws roster.
“A win is a win, but I’m realistic. A good, competitive top-five run [at Stateline] would be a win to me,” Briggs said.
And that’s a very attainable goal for he and his crew. The Briggs Transport INC racing team has yet to score a top-five so far this season, and they’re due. The apples are ripe for the picking at this time of year, especially ones at a track they know so well.
However, if there’s any driver in the area that would know more about Stateline than Briggs does, it’s cousin Frank.
Frank said he hasn’t been able to race locally as much as he would have preferred to at this point in the year, as his racing business, Chub Frank Racing, has been quite busy. However, he was able to make it out in the spring and score a victory in weekly competition at Stateline on May 11, as well as a win in a Crate Late Model on May 27.
Powered by a Clements Racing Engine aboard a Black Diamond Chassis, the #1* has seen a small amount of action with the World of Outlaws so far in 2019, scoring two top-10 finishes in seven Morton Buildings Feature starts. His best finish came in the most recently contested event, at Sharon Speedway, earning a seventh-place finish.
It’s been over 10 years since the last time Frank graced World of Outlaws Victory Lane. Aug. 22 of 2019 at the formerly named K-C Raceway in Ohio (Atomic Speedway) was the date of his last trip, to be exact. But there are parts of his career as an original Outlaw that he looks back on with great fondness.
“The traveling, meeting the fans and things like that, I’ve always enjoyed that part of it,” Frank said. “You just get to meet new people all over the country. That part of it, I think, is the stuff I miss now, because we don’t do as much traveling.”
Briggs’ team elected to skip the pilgrimage out to Ohio for the 49th World 100 at Eldora Speedway two weekends ago, in favor of a testing session at Stateline. Briggs said it went well, and they’ve tightened things up for the weekend ahead.
His business, Briggs Transport, has been growing each year and continues to do so on a scale that has also been throwing him a curveball to manage throughout the racing season – their busiest time of the year. But it’s the support he gets from his large family that allows him to do what he does on a regular basis. It definitely won’t be hard to find them around the Stateline grounds this weekend, because, as Briggs states, it’s home.
“They know this is a big week. We come from a very, very big family. It’s home,” Briggs said. “Because of them, they’ve eased things up to where we can race a little bit more around here the last few weeks and go testing and things like that.”
In a nutshell, Briggs and Frank are more alike than they are different. With their never-say-die attitudes and seemingly endless motivation to keep grinding on racecars each week, it’s the lessons their forefathers instilled in them as young competitors that has stayed with them throughout their careers.
For Briggs, he’s 48 years of age right now and, many years ago, said he would be retired from racing by age 50. He said his mentality is headed in that direction, but for now, it’s still full speed ahead on turning more laps on the national circuit.
He races in memory of his father, the late Rick Briggs, who shared that never-say-die attitude like the rest of his immediate racing family. Boom still has one thing left to prove before he gets to age 50, and that big trip to World of Outlaws Victory Lane very well could come at the place his family helped build – Stateline Speedway.
“The reason I race is because of my dad, and it’s been two years since he’s been gone,” Briggs said. “He wouldn’t want us quitting, so I’m not ready to quit yet. Because of him.”
Catch Frank and Briggs in action against the rest of the Outlaws this weekend at Stateline, at the track or live on DIRTVision!
THIS WEEKEND AT A GLANCE
WHEN & WHERE
Thursday, September 19 at Stateline Speedway in Jamestown, New York
Friday, September 20 at Outlaw Speedway in Dundee, New York
Saturday, September 21 at Selinsgrove Speedway in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania
• Pit gate opens at 3:30 p.m.
• Spectator gate opens at 4 p.m.
• Hot Laps at 7:30 p.m.
• Pit gate opens at 4:30 p.m.
• Spectator gate opens at 5:30 p.m.
• Hot Laps at 6 p.m.
• Pit gate opens at 4 p.m.
• Spectator gate opens at 4 p.m.
• Hot Laps at 6:15 p.m.
ABOUT THE TRACKS
Stateline Speedway is a third-mile, semi-banked clay oval. The track record is 14.9 seconds, held by Chub Frank.
Online – http://www.newstatelinespeedway.com
Phone – (716) 720-2403
Outlaw Speedway is a quarter-mile oval. The track record is 13.689 seconds, set by Shane Clanton on Sept. 21, 2018.
Phone: (607) 243-8686
Selinsgrove Speedway is a half-mile oval. The track record is 18.618 seconds, set by Mike Marlar on Sept. 22, 2018.
Online – http://www.selinsgrovespeedway.com
Phone – (570) 374-2266
Tickets for all tracks can be purchased at the gate on race day.