(Editor’s Note: SLS Promotions Press Release)
BILLINGS – It’s not very often that sprint car drivers agree on something, but when it comes to Big Sky Speedway in Montana, the common sentiment is how racy of a track the three-eighths-mile, located just north of Billings, truly is.
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series heads to the Big Sky country on Saturday, August 25 as NAPA Auto Parts and Visit Billings presents the Brawl at Big Sky Speedway. The event will mark the second consecutive year the series has visited the track, after nearly a decade absence.
Shane Stewart, who raced at Big Sky Speedway for the first time in 2005, led the first eight laps of the 35-lap event last year at the track. He ended up finishing second to Daryn Pittman, which was Stewart’s second straight podium finish at the track.
“Last year Daryn (Pittman) and I had a really good battle for the lead and he ended up prevailing,” said Stewart. “We ran a pretty strong second. Before that, it had been quite a few years since I had been to Billings. We put on a really good show last year and am looking forward to getting back there this year.”
Stewart, who hails from Bixby, Okla., but now calls the Indianapolis area home, looks forward to getting to race in front of fans who only see the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series once a year. Heading into this weekend’s event, the veteran driver is fifth in points and has one victory thus far in 2018.
“It’s a smaller track and it traditionally puts on good races,” he noted. “The fans will see an action-packed event. Normally, on smaller tracks we tend to not get spread out as much like we do on bigger tracks. There will probably be some slides jobs here and there and some tight-quarters racing.”
Jason Sides, who made his Big Sky Speedway debut in 2004, with an eighth-place finish, ran 10th at the track last year. The native of Bartlett, Tenn., has two straight top-10 finishes at the track and a total of three in career.
“Billings is a very raceable track,” shared Sides. “It always seems like it is wide and has a top and bottom (groove). It’s a good race track. We’ve been there numerous times. It seems like we go there for a few years and then don’t go for quite a few years. It always seems like the race are good and we enjoy going to that part of the country.”
Brent Marks not only saw Big Sky Speedway for the first time last year, but the state of Montana as well. The native of Myerstown, Pa., battled mechanical problems throughout the night and had a DNF (did not finish). Marks looks to rebound from that this weekend.
“It’s a pretty cool race track and I am looking forward to getting back,” Marks said. “We had some engine trouble last year, so my memory of things happening with the car there, were not so great. It’s a nice facility and the track was racy last year. I’m looking forward to all of the West Coast races.”
Marks, who is his sophomore season with the Outlaws, is also quick to point out the action that fans, not accustomed to seeing sprint car, will see at Big Sky Speedway. The young driver, who has a pair of wins this year, has passed more cars in feature races than any other driver on the tour.
“Fans who don’t get to see sprint cars very often get very, very excited to see us,” he explained.
“It’s a different form of racing. The fans can expect some close, side-by-side racing. It’s always nice, after the races, to talk to new fans and see what they thought of the event and how excited they were to watch.”
Sheldon Haudenschild, who claimed the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series last year, made his Big Sky Speedway debut in 2017. He raced his way to a ninth-place finish, after starting 16th. The fourth-generation driver is having a breakout season, having scored his first-career Outlaws win on opening night in Florida and following that up with three more victories over the course of the season. Haudenschild is currently tied for sixth in the series standings.
“The shape of the track is pretty cool,” said Haudenschild. “We could race on it and pass. Any track that we can do that, I feel the fans will get a good show. I’m ready to get back there for sure. That’s a nice part of the country and we have a good time going out there.”
Tickets for the Big Sky Brawl presented by NAPA Auto Parts and Visit Billings, featuring the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at Big Sky Speedway in Billings, Mont., on Saturday, August 25 can be purchased in advance online at https://slspromotions.ticketforce.com or by phone at 815-344-2023. Tickets can also be purchased at the track on race day.