Column By: DERICK KRINER / RPW – GRANTVILLE, PA – Heading into the 2023 World of Outlaws season, the only logical place to start would be with an examination of the past champions’ chance to continue the streak.
Kasey Kahne Racing’s Brad Sweet plans to follow the full Outlaw schedule while managing the newly formed High Limits series.
One key thing that may shift the landscape of the Outlaw points standings is the addition of a fourth Pennsylvania swing. Tracks that Sweet has never truly mastered, while regular championship contenders like David Gravel and Donny Schatz have continually run well at.
Having this so early in the season could put the KKR 49 team in a sizable points hole, only a month into the season, depending on results. Also, the addition of several different tracks to the 80+ race schedule will probably lead to a few shake ups in the standings.
If Brad and the NAPA Auto Parts 49 continue the reign atop the World of Outlaws standings, it will come on the heels of improved results at weak spot tracks.
True Outlaw or World of Outlaw?
The questions that every race fan and team were asking themselves all off-season are starting to get answers.
Shark Racing was one of the first Outlaw powerhouse teams to commit to the 2023 tour, and now other regulars like the Kasey Kahne Racing and Big Game Motorsports have made the choice to follow the tour.
For some of these commits, the possibility of running High Limits races and other events is not off the table, but what looked like a potential mass exit from the tour, has turned into a slight road bump.
With a few regular Outlaw teams yet to publicly commit to the tour, will there be any big moves? For those that have chosen to race for points, will they stick with 4 outside races, or take it all the way to 8, and take the gamble on losing the bonus money from the series?
All questions that we will see play out in the 9-month season, which kicks off February 7th at Volusia Speedway Park.
Several drivers are poised to have break out seasons with the tour if the cards fall the right way.
Certainly not a rookie by any means, Jacob Allen will be looking to make his new primary sponsor LOW-E Insulation proud and pick up where he and the Shark Racing 1A team left off in 2022. While the team didn’t score many wins, for a driver who had just one Outlaw checkered flag prior to last season, Allen showed he is capable of performing at all types of tracks.
Picking up a win at the track that is just minutes from the team’s home base, Lincoln Speedway, propelled the confidence of the Hanover driver. August brought arguable one of Allen’s biggest achievements with a preliminary night win at the Knoxville Nationals.
With this momentum, Allen is showing the determination and capacity to outperform the top cars in the country, and now just needs to do this on a regular basis.
Gio Scelzi joins the World of Outlaws after showing good speed early last season with the tour, picking up two wins on the California swing. The KCP Racing team looks to make a full season run for the first time in several years with The Greatest Show on Dirt.
If Gio is able to replicate strong early season efforts as in years past, he could be sitting in prime position to steal a top five position in the points standings.
The question for the 18 team, as for several other contenders is, how will you handle the early season Pennsylvania swing? Gio has a win at Williams Grove and has run well at Lincoln Speedway many times, but Port Royal has been a bit of a struggle for him, as well as for many Outlaw teams.
If the Fresno driver finds a way to salvage solid top 10 runs throughout the season, we could see the KCP 18 in the championship talks come November.