Barberville, FL—February 5, 2010—A career-year in 2009 has Jason Sides anxious to open the 2010 World of Outlaws season in the 39th Annual DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio at Volusia Speedway.
The native of Bartlett, Tennessee started off the 2009 season in impressive fashion at Volusia, leading a number of laps on opening night before finishing second. He followed that up with another runner-up performance the next night and was tied for the series point leader after the first two nights of racing.
“I’m really glad to be back in the U.S,” said Sides who spent a few weeks in January racing in Australia. “Volusia is one of those places that we ran really good at last year and have some high expectations to do one spot better. It’s a good race track and has good racing all over it, front back and everywhere else. Hopefully we have a good week down here.”
Sides raced in the DIRTcar Nationals for the first time in 2001 and won during the event for the first time the following season. He has opened his season at Volusia in eight of the last nine years and is one of the drivers competing full-time with the World of Outlaws in 2010 that has turned the most laps at the half-mile. With cars from coast-to-coast converging on Volusia Speedway Park, the level of competition will be at an all-time high.
“It’s really like Knoxville,” he shared. “You have everyone here, the guys from Pennsylvania, all the Outlaws, all the All Stars, everyone is together. This is a big event and hopefully we can be at the front.”
After his strong start at Volusia last season, Sides left the Sunshine State among the Top-Five in points and was able to carry that momentum through the entire season. With nearly 80 races on the 2010 World of Outlaws schedule getting off to a strong start is paramount when competing against the best drivers in the world night in and night out.
“It really does,” noted the native of Bartlett, Tenn., when asked if the DIRTcar Nationals set a ton for the year. “If you don’t start off well, it makes it tough for the whole year. Anytime that you can have a good run on one of the first nights of the season, that sets a tone for the year to be up front and run well in the points.”
The native of Bartlett, Tenn. wrapped up last season a career-best fifth in points on the strength of wins at Eldora Speedway and Ohsweken Speedway. He racked up 47 Top-10 finishes with 24 of those being Top-Fives. He earned the second most fast time honors in qualifying, stopping the clock first on 10 occasions. He also was one of just seven drivers that led more than 100 laps of feature racing competition over the course of the season.
“I hope so,” Sides said when asked if he can use some of what worked last season this season. “The tires will be a little different and we tested them a few times and were actually quicker than the old tires. Whether that was the track or the car of the tires, I don’t know. Hopefully they will fit our style and play in our favor this year.”
After his breakout season last year, Sides looks to contend for wins again in 2010 and build on the consistency he gained last year. With his two win last year, he now has four in his career with the World of Outlaws. Sides claimed the 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award and has competed full-time with the series in six of the last seven years.
“You learn something new every night,” he said. “We are not rookies, but maybe sophomores or juniors. I surely don’t feel like a veteran. You have Steve (Kinser) and Donny (Schatz) and those guys that have been out here for years. We’re just learning and trying to catch up.”
Sides recently competed for a few weeks in Australia last month at a couple of different tracks before returning for the DIRTcar Nationals. He opened his stint Down Under at Parramatta City Raceway in the Scott Darley Memorial, and put on quite a show in the finale, coming from the C-Main, through the B-Main and working his way from the 24th starting spot to finish 11th. He also raced with the World Series Sprintcars a couple of times as well as in the Grand Annual Classic against a couple of fellow World of Outlaws drivers.
Sides looks to build on his career high numbers from last season as the nine-month nearly 80-race campaign for the World of Outlaws kicks off at Volusia Speedway Park. Sides, who is one of the most hands on drivers in the pit area has veteran crew member Doug Rankin helping turning the wrenches on his familiar No. 7S this season.
“We feel like we should be somewhere in the Top-Five every night, as far as the runs we had last year and as far as how well we qualified,” said Sides. “I hope we can continue that this year. The same as last year and maybe a few more wins. We were in contention last year for a couple of more wins and just didn’t get them. If we can run a little bit better and have some luck it will be a good year.”
The 2010 World of Outlaws season kicks off with the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park February 5-7. To purchase tickets online visit: http://www.DIRTcarNationals.com or call 386-985-4402. Each ticket purchased is also a free fan pit pass.