Column By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – HUMBOLDT, KS – An October Midwest swing is on the horizon for the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series as they enter the final six races of the 2022 season.
A potential $30,000 payday is on the line between three 40-lap, $10,000-to-win, Features spanning Kansas and Missouri.
The epic weekend kicks off on Friday, Oct. 21, with the Series debut at Humboldt Speedway in Humboldt, KS. Then, The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet head to 81 Speedway in Wichita, KS, on Saturday, Oct. 22. Finally, the World of Outlaws Late Models head back to Missouri on Sunday, Oct. 23, for its first trip back to US 36 Raceway in Osborn, MO since 2009.
Here are some of the storylines to keep an eye on this weekend:
CLOSING IN ON THE TITLE: Dennis Erb Jr. is six races away from his potential first World of Outlaws CASE Late Models title.
He leads Tanner English by 98 points entering the weekend and hopes to extend that advantage on a type of track he’s found success at in 2022. Ten of his 18 top-five finishes have come at 3/8-mile facilities.
However, he’s yet to score a win on that size track this season.
The Carpentersville, IL driver, is one of a few currently in the field who raced at US 36 back in 2009. He finished 20th in the event won by Steve Francis.
Meanwhile, English has been red-hot since June. He finds himself on a streak of 15 straight top-10 finishes in points-paying events, dating back to night two of the St. Louis Firecracker Faceoff at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55.
BLAIR CLOSES THE GAP: Despite English’s top-10 streak, Max Blair has closed the gap in the battle for Rookie of the Year.
The Centerville, PA driver gained on English on both nights at Boyd’s Speedway, cutting the deficit to 68 points with six races remaining.
Blair scored both of his Series wins this season on 3/8-mile tracks, and if he can find Victory Lane this weekend, it’ll be his sixth World of Outlaws victory.
REAPER’S EXPERIENCE: Perhaps no driver in the field has been looking forward to the October Midwest swing more than Ryan Gustin.
“The Reaper” has succeeded at both Humboldt and US 36 in the last decade, scoring wins at both tracks in 2014.
He also has a podium finish this season at 81—a second in April.
The Marshalltown, IA driver is searching for his third World of Outlaws win of 2022, and second in a row after pulling a last-lap slide job on Dale McDowell to win $20,000 at Boyd’s last month.
GORDY’S CONFIDENCE: Gordy Gundaker is riding a wave of confidence this weekend. Like Gustin, he gained experience at 81 Speedway earlier this year in April.
The St. Charles, MO driver also scored a podium finish that weekend and hopes it’ll give him a leg up on his competition.
Sunday’s event at US 36 is Gundaker’s last chance to race in his home state, where he already has a top-five in two starts this season.
His best finish also came on a 3/8-mile track – a fourth at Atomic Speedway in April.
THE CHAMP RETURNS: Four-time and reigning champion Brandon Sheppard will return to World of Outlaws CASE Late Models competition for the first time since the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway in August.
The New Berlin, IL driver has three Series victories this season and won his only appearance in the B5 in 2022—which he’ll be driving this weekend.
Sheppard also found Victory Lane in the only World of Outlaws Feature contested at 81 Speedway in 2017, where he beat Tyler Erb to the checkered flag.
A win this weekend will be his 81st career Series triumph.