In the early 2000s when the Great Lakes Outlaw Sprint Series (GLOSS) had just broke into the winged sprint car racing scene, there were many drivers who would eventually move on and make an impact touring with the World of Outlaws as well as the All-Star Circuit of Champions.
One driver in particular has made quite an impact since moving on.
That driver is Jason Meyers and the California shoe will notch his second straight World of Outlaw Series title this weekend when the season wraps up at the Dirt Track at Charlotte in the annual running of the World Finals for the World of Outlaw Late Models, Sprints and Modifieds.
In fact, only Donny Schatz has been more successful than Meyers since 2005 when Steve Kinser picked up the last of his series-record 20 championships. Schatz then scored titles in 2006-09 before Meyers broke through last season.
In both 2008 and ’09, Meyers was very close to dethroning Schatz, however tough breaks down the stretch thwarted his championship hopes.
This year, Meyers tied with Steve Kinser and Craig Dollansky for feature wins, as the trio scored nine A-main wins apiece. What makes Meyers’ run so impressive is the manner in which he worked to earn the title.
In the early going of the long Outlaws season, Kinser and Dollansky looked to be the duo to watch as between them they had each picked up five feature wins in the first 25 events.
Those who follow the Outlaws trail realize that the season is a marathon rather than a sprint, so if a driver can keep himself towards the top five or so in points in the early going, he has positioned himself nicely for a title run.
And that was definitely the case with Meyers.
He finally broke through and found himself in Victory Lane after scoring the win at the Cedar Lake Speedway on July 8. Just two weeks later he again picked up a win, this time at the Williams Grove Speedway.
While Kinser saw his season stall a bit with some hard crashes, mechanical woes and nagging injuries and another top contender, Joey Saldana, sidelined following a hard crash in the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway, it began to be a three-man battle with Kinser, Schatz and Meyers at the midway point of the season.
With the points battle still nip and tuck heading into the final leg of the season, Meyers got red hot when he needed it the most.
Beginning Sept. 24 at the Lernerville Speedway, the defending champion was bulletproof. He scored the win at the famed track in Sarver (Penn.), then followed it up with back-to-back wins again at Williams Grove, then ventured to the Rolling Wheels Raceway in New York before making it five straight wins at the Fremont (Ohio) Speedway on Oct. 15.
David Gravel, who has competed off and on the last two seasons at the Kokomo Speedway, finally put an end to Meyers’ impressive streak last weekend at the Talladega (Ala.) Short Track.
The near month of being unbeaten saw Meyers’ points lead swell to 264 over Schatz and 271 over Kinser heading into this weekends finale.
Those interested in watching the finale can do so on Saturday night as the Speed TV will broadcast all three series beginning at 8 p.m. If you do not have Speed as part of your television package, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com or www.dirtvision.com as both sites have mentioned having a web view of the event as well.
Clauson wins out West
Former USAC Mopar National Midget Series champion and Kokomo Speedway Rookie of the Year Bryan Clauson turned in a monster weekend in USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series action at the Canyon Raceway Park in Peoria (Ariz.).
Clauson swept both nights of the twinbill at the track and moved ever closer to scoring the USAC National Drivers Championship in the process, extending his lead to 50 points over second-place Kyle Larson.
On Friday night, Clauson slipped past leader Mike Spencer on the 25th lap, then held on the final five circuits en route to the win. Chris Windom, second to points leader Levi Jones in the championship chase, took second and Damion Gardner third. Jones and Spencer completed the top five. Among the drivers on hand who are regulars at either or both Kokomo or Gas City, Hunter Schuerenberg was seventh, Jon Stanbrough eighth, Robert Ballou ninth and Tracy Hines 13th. Casey Shuman, who replaced Dave Darland in the Roberts/Tate Racing No. 21x, was 21st.
Saturday night, Clauson had a bit of an easier time in scoring the win, getting by Keith Bloom Jr. on the ninth lap and never trailing the rest of the 30-lap event.
Bloom, who earned his first win in the Midwest on July 3 at Gas City, was second and Jones third. Windom and Nic Faas comprised the rest of the top five. Gardner was seventh, Schuerenberg 10th, Stanbrough 11th, Ballou 12th and Hines 13th.
The series returns to action this weekend at the Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway for the 16th running of the Budweiser Oval Nationals. With just the three races at Perris and a single show at the Giant Speedway in Hanford (Calif.) on Nov. 12 left on the slate, Jones holds a 43-point lead over Windom (1,449-1,406) as they are the only two drivers left with a mathematical chance of winning the championship.
Stanbrough is third in points with 1,319 and Schuerenberg fourth with 1,260. Ballou sits in fifth with 1,158. Darland is ninth with 1,054.
• Brett Bowman is the Tribune’s lead auto racing columnist. He may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the sports department.