Outlaws’ Late Models set for Early Season Opener in Battle at the Border

Battle at the Border
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It’s January. But, for one weekend that precedes a month-long break, the World of Outlaws Late Model Series will get its start to the 2020 season at the Battle at the Border this weekend.

The Outlaws will get one day of practice on Thursday (which will not be broadcasted on DirtVision) to get a warm-up ahead of the early start to the year.

Then, they’ll take to New Mexico’s Vado Speedway Park for the first three races of the 2020 year.

Outlaws’ Late Models set for Early Season Opener in Battle at the Border

The January 3 date is the earliest to start a World of Outlaws Late Model tour, beating out a February 3 start to the 2004 season.

This one has the potential to be one of the best yet, too.

Starting with defending champion Brandon Sheppard, we’ll get our first look at all of the contenders for the 2020 season this weekend.

Sheppard is coming off a historic season with the World of Outlaws, winning 18 features in 2019 – a stat that ties the all-time record. He also moved up to third on the all-time wins list in the process.

Although, he’ll have a plethora of drivers gunning for him.

Three of them will all come out of the same camp.

Scott Bloomquist and a pair of others are joining forces to compete full-time in the 2020 World of Outlaws season.

Bloomquist won the 2004 series championship and looks to compete for the title in 2020 as well.

With the teammates he has, there’s a good chance that “Team Zero” will be hoisting a trophy at the end of the year.

Aside from himself, Scott Bloomquist Racing includes 2019 series Rookie of the Year Ricky Weiss as well as Chris Madden – who sits in the top 10 of the all-time wins list.

Madden ended his 2019 tour on an absolute tear. He averaged a 3.72 finish over his final 25 races according to WorldofOutlaws.com.

They’ll have some outside competition kicking it against them, too, but that’s a usual occurrence when the Outlaws head to a new track.

New Mexico’s own Jake Gallardo will have a few sets of eyes on him as he goes toe to toe with the national touring stars for three days.

Gallardo won the track championship at Vado last season by winning 10 out of the 11 feature events of the year. It’s tough to dominate much more than that.

He’s taking the opportunity to race against the Outlaws as a big one.

“It’s awesome to race against them,” Gallardo told WorldofOutlaws.com. “We are so used to racing the Modifieds, and we race against the fastest guys in those. So now we get a chance to race against the big guys in our Late Model. It’s exciting. Since I’ve been running Late Models, we’ve never had a chance to run against the big guys. We’ve never been able to travel far enough to do it.”

The Outlaws will run three nights during the weekend – all available on DirtVision.com – with two, 30-lap, $5,000-to-win feature races on the opening nights.

The Battle at the Border will conclude with a 75-lap main event on Sunday that will pay $15,000 to P1.

“The fans down here aren’t that familiar with Late Models,” Gallardo said. “Having the World of Outlaws come to town is exciting because they’ll get a chance to see how fast these things are. I just think that the fans are going to be blown away.”

Thursday Update

The Late Models came out for a practice run on Thursday, due to the new track and early start date to the season. According to the World of Outlaws Late Models twitter account, the top 10 is listed below:

  1. Brandon Sheppard – 13.794
  2. Chris Madden – 13.943
  3. Chase Junghans – 13.992
  4. Cade Dillard – 13.996
  5. Ricky Weiss – 14.016
  6. Don Shaw – 14.088
  7. Frank Heckenast Jr. – 14.104
  8. Brian Shirley – 14.147
  9. Darrell Lanigan – 14.153
  10. Jason Rauen – 14.165