Story By: NICK GRAZIANO / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – CONCORD, NC – The father-daughter team of Dustin and Lacey Walker are set to return to the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series for their sophomore season in 2024.
Year One was all about finishing races and running the entire 10-month tour from Sunshine Nationals to World of Outlaws World Finals. Now, Year Two is about putting better numbers on the board.
“Last year was the whole ‘just try to finish the year’ thing,” Dustin Walker said. “It was a different mindset to it. I’d always wanted to do the whole thing. That was our goal. Probably should’ve had a little bit more performance mixed in that. But if you’re tearing up all your stuff and don’t have time to fix it… You know what I mean?
“Our overall goal was to make sure we could do every race. This (coming) year it’s about doing the best that we can. If that means we get halfway through and we don’t have cars left, then I guess that’s just how it will be. We’re going to try and be a bit more aggressive with it, in terms of the qualifying and that sort of thing.”
Walker, of Polk, MO, ended his rookie season 15th in points with 11 top-20 finishes and an average finish of 21st. His biggest struggle, he said, was going to places he’d never been. And had never even seen on video.
The 2024 season will see the World of Outlaws visit 16 new venues, which means more work again for Walker, but of the returning tracks, he’s excited to now have a notebook full of “dos and don’ts” for each one.
“We’re making gains,” Walker said. “Not that, that always translates when you’re racing but just when you’re trying to get going in the slick. That’s been horrible for us, trying to get the right feel with the shocks and getting comfortable with the car. So, it was nice to feel like we’ve made some gains.”
Walker’s 18-year-old daughter, Lacey, will return as his crew chief all season, while also running their new machine shop. When she’s not wrenching on the weekend, she’ll be designing and building parts all week.
“Hopefully we can have a good time again,” Walker said. “She’s learned a lot. The machine shop we’ve started is really for her. I’ve got one daughter that wants to go to school to be a vet, so she’ll probably end up with the farm, and I’ve got [Lacey], we’re trying to get her setup with a business. It’s cool to be able to make parts, then go out and race with them. See what worked, see what didn’t, make changes. Have her rebuild it, reweld it, design it in CAD. That part is really cool.”
Lacey’s relentless work ethic and positive attitude throughout the season didn’t go unnoticed by her father or the Series as she won this year’s Racing With Jesus Ministries Sportsman of the Year Award.
The duo is sticking with Capital Race Cars as their chassis for the 2024 season, and unlike this year, where they were switching between engines from different builders, Walker will have a Bailey Engine in his #14w all season.
With more experience and consistency built into their program, Walker said their 2024 goal will be to take advantage of every opportunity for a good finish.
“The biggest thing that we need to do for 2024 is whenever we have an opportunity to run well is not do stupid crap,” Walker said with a chuckle. “You know what I mean? We’ve had some decent Heat Race runs and then try some goofy stuff for the Feature, just trying to go (forward). But then it doesn’t work out right and we should have stayed closer to the standard thing we do with it.”
The World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series kicks off the 2024 season at Volusia Speedway Park during the DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals, Jan. 17-20.