Dirt Cup draws a deep field

  • By John Sleeper / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, June 16, 2004 9:00pm
  • Sports

ALGER – In what appears to be the deepest field in years, place Washington driver Jason Solwold as a solid favorite in the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup.

Not only does he know his way around Skagit Speedway – he won 17 of 18 410-class features last season – the Burlington sprint-car driver has spent two months on the World of Outlaws tour.

And although Solwold’s best finish was 12th, he made A-mains in all but two of the 24 Outlaws shows.

“It taught me a lot about racing for a living,” said Solwold, who estimates his team spent between $10,000 and $15,000 in his time with the Outlaws. “Once you’re out there, you have to keep focused. You have to keep your hand in it. You’ve got to pay all the bills. There’s just so much you have to keep up on.”

The important thing Solwold got is seat time, something most of the Washington drivers simply can’t say they’ve had this season, considering the weather.

All of which has to make Solwold one of the favorites to grab the $20,000 first prize for the three-night event, which ends with Saturday’s Race of Champions.

“It’s no different for us than any other race,” Solwold said. “Every race we go to, we’re out to win it.”

Although two-time defending champion Kasey Kahne will not be back for a possible trifecta – he’s racing a Nextel Cup car this season – the 2004 Dirt Cup looks to be the most competitive in years.

Among the principals:

* Jac Haudenschild, on-and-off Outlaw who led the last Skagit Outlaw main event before a crash ended his evening.

* Jimmy Sills, the six-time Dirt Cup champion who’s coming off a victory in the Masters Classic in Knoxville, Iowa.

* Brent Kaeding, the 12-time King of California who has won three Dirt Cups.

* Steve Kent, two-time Dirt Cup champion from Fresno, Calif.

* Tim Kaeding, one of two racing sons of Brent Kaeding.

* Jason Statler, points leader of the Golden State Challenge series.

* Randy Hannagan, two-time Dirt Cup champion.

* Chad Hillier, current Skagit 410 points leader, from Sedro-Woolley.

* Jayme Barnes, Everett driver who spent the off-season racing in Australia.

* Kevin Pylant, 1995 Dirt Cup winner, fourth in the Golden State points standings.

* Peter Murphy, originally from Adelaide, Australia, a consistent contender for the title.

* Shane Stewart, a semi-regular Outlaw who will be driving for Rudeen Racing, which finished fifth last year with Jimmy Carter at the wheel.

Different this year is the way in which the starting positions will be decided. Although positions in the Race of Champions will be determined by points accumulated from the first two nights of racing, the top six drivers will determine their positions via a drawing.

In other words, the top point-getter could begin the Race of Champions as far back as the third row.

“We wanted to mix it up a little bit,” Skagit owner Steve Beitler said. “We think it makes it more exciting for the fans.”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Jackson players celebrate during a boys game between Jackson and Puyallup at Shorewood High School on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Shoreline, WA. Jackson won, 55-48. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
State basketball: Capsules for all local boys teams at Hardwood Classics

A glance at the six area teams competing at this week’s state tournaments.

Arlington’s Samara Morrow tries to maneuver around  Snohomish’s Sienna Capelli during the 3A girls district championship game on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State basketball: Capsules for all local girls teams at Hardwood Classics

A glance at the six area teams competing at this week’s state tournaments.

Snohomish players celebrate a strong run against Meadowdale as they head for the bench during the 3A District One Semifinals on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, at Marysville Pilchuk High School in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish’s early adjustments lead to postseason success

The Panthers ‘reinvented’ their strategies and are now one of the top-seeded teams in the 3A Hardwood Classic.

X
Examining where the Silvertips stand in the playoff picture

Everett seems destined for the No. 3 seed, but its opponent in the first round remains a mystery.

X
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Feb. 19-25

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Feb. 19-25. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Arlington junior guard Leyton Martin drives on Marysville Getchell’s Bubba Palocol during a playoff matchup at Arlington High School on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Martin scores 43, Arlington boys outlast Getchell in OT thriller

The Eagles earn their second straight trip to the Tacoma Dome with a 76-72 win.

Everett senior Mae Washington pulls up and shoots a jumper against Seattle Prep during a playoff matchup at Shorewood High School on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Shoreline, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett girls oust Seattle Prep for return trip to the Tacoma Dome

Alana Washington’s 33 points leads the Seagulls to a 64-60 victory.

Tulalip Heritage freshman Amare’ Hatch tries to force his way to the rim against Columbia Adventist Academy during a playoff matchup at Arlington High School on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Tulalip Heritage boys bounced by Columbia Adventist

The Hawks’ late push falls short in a 70-63 loss during the Class 1B state regionals.

X
State basketball roundup for Saturday, Feb. 24

State basketball prep roundup for Saturday, Feb. 24: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To… Continue reading

Lake Stevens’ Tessa Anastasi heads to the basket against Skyview during a playoff matchup at Arlington High School on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens girls book their spot at the Tacoma Dome

The Vikings knock off Skyview 47-33 to advance to the Class 4A round of 12.

Jackson’s Ryan Mcferran (0) shoots the ball during a boys game between Jackson and Puyallup at Shorewood High School on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Shoreline, WA. Jackson won, 55-48. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Jackson boys overcome adversity again, reach round of 12

The Timberwolves survive foul trouble to defeat Puyallup 55-48 in a Class 4A loser-out game.

Davis’ Blake Garza (2) dunks the ball during a boys game between Glacier Peak and Davis at Shorewood High School on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Shoreline, WA. Glacier Peak fell, 65-54.. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Glacier Peak boys outmuscled by Davis in 65-54 loss

The Grizzlies lose the battle of the boards as they’re knocked into the Class 4A round of 12.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.