Story By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – CONCORD, NC – Tanner English tasted success with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models in 2022. However, his rookie season left him wanting more.
Despite a second-place finish in the standings, three victories, and Rookie of the Year honors, the Benton, KY driver said his eyes are on the ultimate prize—the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models championship.
“I went into the (2022) season wanting to win the points championship, not really win the Rookie deal,” English said. “That’s just a bonus. To have a shot at it and be that close in the first year is pretty big, and we’re excited for next year and hopefully start out good.
“That’s what it’s all about, starting off good in Florida. That usually sets your tone for the rest of the season.”
When the season kicks off at Volusia Speedway Park during Sunshine Nationals Jan. 19-21, he hopes a good start leads to early season momentum. But while the 2023 season begins at the same venue, he’ll have a new look when he hits “The World’s Fastest Half Mile” in 2023.
Viper Motorsports owners Shawn and Lisa Martin announced English would take over their ride in October, along with plans for the reigning Rookie of the Year to return to the Series full-time.
That announcement was a breath of fresh air for English, allowing him to focus on his final races in 2022.
“Just knowing that I’m going to be in good equipment and having a good support team behind me is big,” English said. “I couldn’t think of a better team to do it with. I think we’re going do big things next year.”
English has already gotten his feet wet behind the wheel of the #96V, making the trip to Las Vegas just a week after the World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, where he scored his third career win.
He scored two top fives in three races out west, giving him some confidence heading into Volusia.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to do good [in Las Vegas],” English said. “We didn’t have much time to prepare, so I think we did really good. I think that just shows how we’ll do in the future with a little bit of time and get a little more comfortable and get to focus on the racecar.”
Along with his confidence, English has a new mindset as he gears up for his run at the 2023 title. He understands how important it is to earn good finishes at Sunshine and DIRTcar Nationals, as it sets the bar for the 53-race campaign.
“I’m not as nervous,” English said. “I’m not as wondering what’s going to happen or whatever. I’m a little more confident.
“Speedweeks is tough for sure. But you got to start off right. Just having experience at Speedweeks is huge. That’s the hardest part of the whole season because everyone’s there.”
English hopes last season’s success propels him to taste more in his sophomore season with the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models.
His run at the championship begins when the Series opens its season on Jan. 19-21 at Volusia Speedway Park for Sunshine Nationals.