Ricky Weiss has never visited Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in his Late Model career, but he’ll get his first taste of the Pevely, Missouri short track on Friday.
The World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model tour will resume its season this weekend with a pair of races scheduled for I-55 on Friday and Saturday (Hot laps at 6:00 p.m. CT on DirtVision) as part of its announced 16-race schedule for its top two series.
Weiss – the 2019 Outlaws Rookie of the Year – is used to the challenge. A lot of the tracks he raced at last season had never seen Weiss’ No. 7 car.
“I’ve watched some videos and it definitely looks like a track that will fit my driving style,” Weiss said. “If they can keep it smooth and slick, we can’t have it (any) better. I think we’ll be good.”
Ricky Weiss ready for Late Models return in First Trip to I-55
Friday night’s race will pay out $6,000 to win, while Saturday will see the winner get a $10,000 check in victory lane.
That was something that alluded Weiss in his first season with tour, but that changed earlier this year at Vado Speedway Park just two races into the year.
Weiss led 17 laps in the Battle at the Border feature event to earn his first World of Outlaws win of his career.
“It was awesome,” Weiss said. “I mean, we were so close last year. We had so many chances to change the outcome just a little bit whether it was a late caution or a hard charge by Sheppard. To get the first one out of the way seemed to be the hardest, and to get this year started off and get it out of the way quickly was kind of nice. Now we just try to repeat that and go get more.”
That win came at a track that hadn’t been raced on by the World of Outlaws tour.
When the Outlaws came in, it was a completely new scene to its drivers, and though I-55 isn’t a foreign track to anyone in the series, the Late Models haven’t been there in a while.
“We had been real competitive (last year before the Vado win),” Weiss said. “We were so close to them last year and I knew we had a real shot at it because (we were out at) a new track. Nobody had been there, so nobody had any advantages over anyone else.”
The Headingley, Manitoba native has been just as competitive this season, sitting 58 points back of leader Brandon Sheppard in second in the World of Outlaws standings.
He’s one-third of a big brigade of cars in the Scott Bloomquist Racing camp that takes up three of the top five spots in points.
“Racing them – I say to everybody – is an advantage and a disadvantage with them coming on the tour,” Weiss said. “Like Scott said one day, ‘At the end of the day, one of us is still racing for third. We could all win, but one of is still racing for third.’
The point is, they’re bad fast.
“It’s great to be able to bounce ideas off of each other and have an idea of what each of us is going to do,” Weiss said. “Just as a team, I feel like we’re becoming bigger and better.”
This weekend’s races are part of an announced, 16-race schedule for the top tours to get them back on track with either no fans or a limited amount of them in the stands.
Friday actually took off a previously scheduled race at Boone Speedway in Iowa.
“I knew when they first announced the one scheduled for Boone, I personally didn’t feel too pumped about it,” Weiss said. “I know a lot of other people didn’t because they didn’t want to travel 16 hours for one event. They scheduled enough races where it makes every (race) worthwhile. I know they’re working hard and I know the weather doesn’t look good, but that can turn around. Hopefully, we can just get back at it.”
Weiss said that when the fans won’t be in the stands it will be a bit different.
That’s expected, even this weekend with limited fans allowed to be in the grandstands at I-55 this weekend. It’s just part of the process of returning to racing.
“That’s the only way we can get back racing (right now) and we had to start somewhere,” Weiss said.
|2020 World of Outlaws Late Model Standings|
|6||Dennis Erb Jr.||1140||-152|