Thursday, November 15, 2007
BY JERRY REIGLE of The Patriot-News
Lucas Wolfe is handing in his Pennsylvania Posse membership card for one with the World of Outlaws.
Wolfe, 21, said Wednesday his plans for next season will include a full tour with the professional sprint car series.
"There is a lot of truth that you can stay in this area and make a career driving sprint cars," the Mechanicsburg driver said. "This opportunity came up to travel with the World of Outlaws, and I don't know if I'll get another opportunity like it again."
Thus, Wolfe is hitting the road.
Car owners Jim and Laura Allebach will field the car and Wolfe's father, Randy, a former driver and multiple track champion, is the crew chief. The key to the decision was the addition of Rick Kaylor and Jesse and Lorraine Keen.
Kaylor and the Keens joined the team as major suppliers of transportation, engines, frames and marketing support.
"We pretty much got everyone together, and we talked about things," Wolfe said. "Once the year ended, everyone involved decided they wanted to do this."
The World of Outlaws season starts in early February at Volusia Speedway Park near Daytona Beach, Fla. The series is scheduled to visit Williams Grove Speedway in May, with return visits in July and September.
Traveling and racing professionally are nothing new for Wolfe. He attended more than 100 races this year, although 90 percent of those were at midstate tracks.
Wolfe won 10 features this year, including several high-dollar shows, the Kasey Kahne Foundation 360 Sprint Car race at Williams Grove and the Old Spice Summer Sizzler at Eldora Speedway. He became the youngest driver to win the Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speed Week title when he clinched it in early July at Selinsgrove Speedway. He was 20 at the time.
"This will put us on a different stage for other people to take notice," Wolfe said. "It is a top-level deal, and it is good for the experience and notoriety."
In 2006, Wolfe drove on the National Sprint Tour for three months. The series, which was designed to compete with the World of Outlaws, folded after the 2006 campaign.
The Outlaws have the biggest names in sprint car racing. Steve Kinser returned last season, as did Danny Lasoski and a few others to join series regulars like Donny Schatz, Craig Dollansky and Joey Saldana.
Several NASCAR drivers, including Kahne and Tony Stewart, field World of Outlaws cars. Stewart owns cars that will be driven by Schatz and Kraig Kinser. Kahne owns one piloted by Joey Saldana and is expected to add a second car for the 2009 season.
The Allebach family has supported Wolfe since he moved into the 600 cc micro sprint class in 2001. Wolfe won 90 quarter midget races in eight years prior to racing micro sprints. He won 14 micro sprint races and made the move to sprint cars in 2003.
He's won 17 races since and has become a local favorite.
Jesse Keen and his brother, Bill, owned a sprint car that Randy Wolfe drove from 1982 through 1988.