Column By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – RINGGOLD, GA – Ryan Gustin’s 2022 season has been a sequence of ups and downs.
The ups: a win at DIRTcar Nationals and his first career World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Series triumph.
The downs: numerous heartbreaks while in contention for several high-profile wins.
However, the Marshalltown, IA driver boosted his confidence during the DIRTcar Late Model World 100 weekend at Eldora Speedway, reaching the track’s iconic Victory Lane for the first time.
It’s a win that gives “The “Reaper” momentum entering the next World of Outlaws CASE Late Models event—the Stateline Showdown at Boyd’s Speedway in Ringgold, GA, Sept. 23-24.
“It was pretty cool,” Gustin said. “Anytime that you can stand up on that stage where all of the greats have, it’s definitely a satisfying feeling for sure.”
Gustin’s win was part of a program called “Chasing the Dream,” a chance for drivers who’ve never won a race at the Ohio venue to battle for $5,000. Despite his triumph not being a crown jewel victory, it adds another notch to his budding dirt Late Model resume.
“Our team is not nearly as experienced as what most of them are out here,” Gustin said. “But we have a lot of good people behind us, good sponsors, a lot of good people helping with the race car, and we’ve been fortunate.
“Hopefully, we can just keep the ball rolling on that.”
His win wasn’t the only accomplishment Gustin achieved last week at Eldora. He also qualified for the 52nd World 100—a feat only 28 of the country’s best dirt Late Model drivers earned.
He attributed that to what he’s learned visiting tracks a second and third time.
“I feel like anywhere that we go that we get to race at multiple times, we get better,” Gustin said. “Especially [Eldora], where I feel like I’ve gotten better anytime I’m on the racetrack. In some of the Heat Races, we weren’t where we needed to be, but I feel like we were pretty decent. We kind of found some things, and maybe with more of that, we’ll be pretty decent.”
With 10 races left on the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models schedule, he’ll be able to apply that knowledge to places he’s been before, like Cherokee Speedway, Senoia Raceway, and The Dirt Track at Charlotte for the World of Outlaws World Finals Nov. 2-5.
If Gustin can mix what he’s learned with the Series and the confidence from one of the sport’s most significant tracks, it might lead to more “ups” and another trip to World of Outlaws Victory Lane.
“The Reaper” and the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models head to Boyd’s Speedway in Ringgold, GA, Sept. 23-24 for the Stateline Showdown—the Series’ first trip to the Peach State facility.