In its first five years, the PEAK Motor Oil World of Outlaws World Finals Presented by NAPA Auto Parts has developed a reputation as a unique racing experience, attracting fans and competitors from across the United States.
The popularity of the season-ending event for the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, World of Outlaws Late Models Series and Super DIRTcar Series isn’t limited to domestic fans however. Drivers and racing enthusiasts from around the world will converge on The Dirt Track at Charlotte during the first weekend in November. Fans from 47 different states, the District of Columbia, five Canadian provinces, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom will be attending the PEAK World Finals.
Peter Britten, a native of Brisbane, Australia, will wrap up his second full season racing a Big-Block Modified in the Super DIRTcar Series at the PEAK World Finals. To Britten, the PEAK World Finals is one of the biggest races on the Super DIRTcar schedule for not only the drivers, but the fans.
“Along with Syracuse, this is our biggest race of the year,” said Britten. “Syracuse is all about modifieds, whereas the World Finals have the sprint cars, late models and Big-Block Modifieds. From a fan’s point of view, it’s a great format and they get to see three really good divisions ending their seasons and a couple of championships going down to the wire. The facility is one of the best we race at all year. It’s very enjoyable to come down there and hopefully we’ll give it a good shot.”
For fellow Aussie and World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series competitor Kerry Madsen, the location of the lightning-fast, four-tenths-mile clay oval is a big plus.
“You always look forward to going there,” said Madsen. “It’s the last event and Charlotte is a mecca for motor racing in general. The crowd has been fantastic the last few years and it’s got a good atmosphere, so it’s a race you have penciled in on the calendar to do well at.”
Madsen, who has five wins in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2012, had an eventful World Finals a year ago. He finished in seventh place on the final night after leading the first 21 laps of the 30-lap feature race. On a lap 22 restart, Madsen was passed by eventual winner Donny Schatz and shuffled back in the field.
“We led for awhile and got caught out on the wrong part of the racetrack at the end of it,” said Madsen. “It’s definitely in the memory bank and you hope that you can get in the same position again and not make the same mistake and have a better strategy at the end of the race. The track is going to be somewhat similar, so you hope you can get in that position again and have another shot.”
The drivers are not the only ones who travel far and wide to take part in the spectacle that World Finals weekend has become. For the second year in a row, Jos Sanders is making the trek all the way from the Netherlands to enjoy the atmosphere that only The Dirt Track at Charlotte can offer.
“It is a treat if you are an international visitor,” said Sanders. “If visitors come from abroad, they are treated like family and that’s fun. People make you feel welcome.”
Sanders is from Cuijk, a town in the southern part of the Netherlands that is home to a few dirt tracks as well, but he says that the environment at The Dirt Track at Charlotte is special.
“I like the access to the drivers,” said Sanders. “You can go in the pits and people talk to you and that’s an additional treat on top of great races.”
Ken Catteau, a dirt-track fanatic who lives in Fergus, Ontario, is making his third trip to the World Finals and sixth trip overall to The Dirt Track at Charlotte. Catteau admits that there are numerous dirt tracks closer to his home, but he makes the 14-hour drive because he loves the competition in Charlotte.
“They do a tremendous job with the facility and preparing the track so the racing is good,” said Catteau. “It’s a great facility and the competitors with the World of Outlaws are the best.”
Spectator gates open at 4 p.m. on Thursday for qualifying with opening ceremonies scheduled for 6 p.m. Feature racing will take place on Friday and Saturday with gates opening at 3 p.m. and opening ceremonies at 4:45 p.m. each day.
Last year’s event was standing-room-only and tickets for this year are going fast. Three-day ticket packages start at just $69 for adults and $24 for kids 13 and under. Single-day tickets are also available. Fans can upgrade their ticket to include a pit pass for $15 per day or purchase only a three-day pit pass for $85.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or go online atwww.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
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