Jason Sides was the surprising highlight throughout the World of Outlaws three day season opener this past week-end at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, FL. Sides led both Friday and Saturday night's races but finished second both nights. Sides was impressive on Friday when he battled for the lead along the defending series champion, Donny Schatz. Sides took the early lead and had pulled away from Schatz until he got bottled up in lapped traffic and Schatz was able to overtake the lead. Jason had even more heads turning on Saturday when he sailed by the night's pole-sitter, Joey Saldana, from his eighth place starting spot. Sides had a commanding lead before a yellow fell with four laps to go. Jason had a good restart but in a gut-wrenching finish, Saldana slid by Jason in the final turn.
Although Sides finished 14th on the final night, he is grateful to have put himself in a solid position leaving Volusia. This is Jason's eighth year with the World of Outlaws (Including two years with the Gumout series in 2001 and 2002) and this is by far the best he has been out of the box. Jason would like to give heart-felt and well-deserved credit to Terry Gray, who accompanied Jason overseas to Australia this winter and aided the new member of Sides Motorsports, Doug Rankin, wrenching in Florida.
"This was a really successful start to the season," said Sides. "We struggled a lot last year, but started to get things together during the final races of the season. It was great having Terry out with us this week-end. I wish we could talk him into staying with us all year, but he still enjoys racing too much himself and I can't blame him there."
Though Jason was just shy on claiming his first win of the season, he feels confident that he will have plenty more opportunities throughout the year. Sides had lots of sponsors present throughout the week at Volusia and he would have loved to have put his #7s Wetherington Tractor Services, Don Ott, Dancer Logistics, Maxim into victory lane for them, but they just enjoyed the show he put on.
"I know Jason was disappointed, but I have never been disappointed in him," said Kimball Wetherington, of WTS. "He did a great job. That guy went out there and drove his heart out."
With a terrific support behind him, Sides has found confidence from somewhere. Maybe it's just from his sweet new paint scheme (Be on the look-out for the new 2009 t-shirts!), but the one thing that is for certain is that the whole Sides Motorsports family has a lot to smile about and all look forward to backing Jason throughout the year. Jason, himself, feels great about the week-end and has a positive outlook for the upcoming months. Sides will race next on February 26 when the Outlaws return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Stay in touch with Jason's latest news and results by visiting
Birthday wishes to Jason (Feb. 10) and Farrah (Feb.14)
Sides Motorsports would also like to thank the following sponsors for
Wetherington Tractor Services, Inc.
Don Ott Racing Engines
Arctic Cat Motorsports
Dancer Logistics, Inc.
Four Seasons Radiators
Joe Gibbs Driven Oil
Maxim Racing Chassis
WRT Web Designs