2011 All HammerDown! Team December 12, 2011.  Rocklin, CA. ….HammerDownUSA.com today named the 2011 All-HammerDown! Team. Led by Racer’s Racing Series Champion, Donny Schatz – the 40 driver “team” includes those who performed best at the highest paying and most prestigious American, grass roots, open-wheel events.


“I pay attention to it, and check the points,” said Kyle Larson, the youngest member of the team at 19 years-old.  “You have to race well at the big races. And I think it’s cool that the (Racer’s Racing Series) points are given in sprint cars with or without wings, 410’s or 360’s, midgets, Silver Crown – just all the important events.”


“The All-HammerDown! Team is a concept we came up with to honor the drivers in ‘our world’,” said Bobby Gerould – editor of HammerDownUSA.com. “The team, simply, is a way to recognize the best of the best nationally.  Our points and annual slate of 60 races are the events racers need to be running to be recognized.”


Nine drivers continued their streak of making the All-HammerDown! Team in each of the nine years since the honor was created in 2003. The talented nine are: Dave Darland, Jac Haudenschild, Tim Kaeding, Steve Kinser, Danny Lasoski, Jason Meyers, Daryn Pittman, Joey Saldana, and Donny Schatz.  Three drivers made the team in 2011 for the first time in their career. Veteran pilots Brian Brown, Johnny Herrera, and Jeff Swindell all expanded their recent travel schedules and in return are being recognized as drivers who had fantastic performances this season.


The ninth annual All-HammerDown! Team in alphabetical order:


·         Brady BaconBroken Arrow, OK. – Age 21. Bacon impressed with his versatility in 2011. He finished second in the non-wing, Ultimate Challenge (Oskaloosa, IA.), and had the same result with the wing on at the ASCS Short Track Nationals (Little Rock, AR.), and in ASCS National action at Las Cruces, NM. Bacon was also named Rookie of the Year at the Knoxville Nationals (Knoxville, IA.).

·         Brian Brown – Grain Valley, MO. – Age 33. Brian earned his first All-HammerDown! Team honor with a seven win season that saw him travel more than prior years. Brown finished on the podium in his preliminary night at the Knoxville Nationals, and backed that up with a seventh place finish on Saturday night. Brown won races in four states (Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska.)

·         Bryan Clauson – Noblesville, IN. – Age 22. Clauson won both the overall USAC National Drivers Championship, as well as the USAC National Midget title in 2011. He was runner-up in the Indiana Sprint Week points, and also ran second at the annual Haubstadt Hustler (Haubstadt, IN.). Clauson also earned his third National Midget Driver of the Year points championship.

·         Jerry Coons Jr. – Tucson AZ. – Age 39. Coons won the Hoosier Hundred (Indianapolis, IN.) and posted strong runner-up finishes at the Belleville Midget Nationals (Belleville, KS.), and at the Gold Crown Midget Nationals (Pontoon Beach, IL.). 2011 marks the seventh All-HammerDown! Team selection for Coons.

·         Dave DarlandLincoln, IN. – Age 45. Darland finished second in the sprint car portion of the Four Crown Nationals at Eldora (Rossburg, OH.). He was third in the Ultimate Challenge and third in the final Indiana Sprint Week points.

·         Cody Darrah – Red Lion, PA. – Age 22. Darrah’s rookie year on the World of Outlaws trail included winning a feature in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and scoring top-five finishes in two high visibility events; the WoO season-opening weekend at Volusia, Florida, and the WoO World Finals (Concord, NC.).

·         Lance DeweaseFayetteville, PA. – Age 46. Dewease won the Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA.) track championship as well as the All-Stars Eastern Region title. He also finished a career-best ninth in the Knoxville Nationals. Unfortunately - he suffered a broken neck in a crash at Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA.) in early October. Dewease says he will return as soon as he is fully healed.

·         Craig DollanskyElk River, MN. – Age 45. The hard-charging Dollansky won nine World of Outlaws feature events in 2011. Among his wins were scores in the Mini-Gold Cup (Chico, CA.), and the Iron-Man 55 (Pevely, MO.). He has made the All-HammerDown! Team eight years in a row.

·         Bobby East – Age 26. Brownsburg, IN. East used top finishes at a trio of BIG events to make the All HammerDown! Team for the third time in his career. He was on the podium at the Belleville Midget Nationals, and in the sprint car portion of the Four Crown at Eldora. East also had a top-ten result at the 2011 Chili Bowl (Tulsa, OK.).

·         Damion GardnerConcord, CA. – Age 34. Gardner won the Perris Oval Nationals (Perris, CA.) in November as well as USAC’s National Sprint Car opening event at Ocala, Florida in February.  Sandwiched between those two triumphs was a July victory in Haubstadt, Indiana.

·         Sam Hafertepe Jr. – Sunnyvale, TX. - Age 26. The confident Texan won both an ASCS National and a World of Outlaws feature in 2011. His March ASCS win came at Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX.), while an early September score in WoO competition occurred at Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA.).  Hafertepe made the All-HammerDown! Team for the fourth consecutive season.

·         Jac HaudenschildWooster, OH. – Age 53. Most of Haudenschild’s success came out West. “The Wild Child” won the Trophy Cup (Tulare, CA.), and the $20,000 winner’s share that comes with it, while finishing third in Skagit’s Dirt Cup. He also had strong fourth place finishes in WoO action at Tulare, and at the Gold Cup (Chico, CA.).

·         Johnny HerreraAlbuquerque, NM. - Age 45. Herrera earned his first All-HammerDown! Team nod on the strength of his consistent top finishes in ASCS National competition. Herrera won ASCS A-Mains in Arizona, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Texas.

·         Tracy HinesNew Castle, IN. – Age 39. Hines earned his eighth All-HammerDown! selection following another season of consistent top finishes in USAC competition. He also won the “Wingless Western” at USA Raceway (Tucson, AZ.).

·         Jason JohnsonEunice, LA. – Age 35. The “Ragin’ Cajun” won an ASCS National, series-high, six feature events in 2011 to further establish himself as a legitimate star of winged sprint car racing. Johnson also surpassed 200 career feature wins. The 2011 season marked the sixth time as a pro that he has earned All-HammerDown! honors.

·         Levi JonesOlney, IL. – Age 29. Not only was Levi the USAC Silver Crown champion, he also became USAC’s first five-time National Sprint Car champion with another stellar campaign that saw him score huge wins in October at the City of Lawrenceburg Fall Nationals (Lawrenceburg, IN.), and in the Gold Crown Midget Nationals. Levi has made the All-HammerDown! Team eight years in a row.

·         Bud Kaeding – Campbell, CA. - Age 31. Brandon “Bud” Kaeding scored top-five finishes in a pair of BIG events as the impetus for his eighth career All-HammerDown! Team selection. He was fourth at both the Hoosier Hundred and in the Perris Oval Nationals. He had seven feature wins in Central California in 2011, five without the wing, two with the wing.

·         Tim KaedingSan Jose, CA. - Age 33. “T.K.” once again dazzled race fans with his hard-charging style. Along the way he won an ASCS National feature at Thunderbowl Raceway (Tulare, CA.), and landed on the podium at Skagit Speedway’s two biggest events, the Dirt Cup and their WoO race. Tim won 13 A-Mains on the season.*

·         Kraig KinserBloomington, IN. – Age 27. Kraig had a dream night at Cottage Grove Speedway in September when he won his heat, the dash and the feature event in World of Outlaws action. He had a solid sixth place finish at the Iron-Man 55 on his way to eighth in the final WoO points.

·         Steve KinserBloomington, IN. – Age 57. The King of the Outlaws started the season strongly, winning the season opener for the World of Outlaws (Barberville, FL.), and four of the first seven nights of racing on their schedule, including the WoO visit to Las Vegas.  Kinser won features in California, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

·         Brad KuhnAvon, IN. – Age 30. Kuhn is the professional to call if you want your midget to finish up front in a BIG race. Kuhn wheeled to top-six finishes in four of the most prestigious midget races in the USA. He was sixth at the Chili Bowl, fourth at the Belleville Midget Nationals, third at the Gold Crown Midget Nationals and sixth at Turkey Night (Irwindale, CA.).

·         Kyle Larson – Elk Grove, CA. – Age 19. Larson had a dream season in his first full year racing outside of his home state. He won the Belleville Midget Nationals, the Ultimate Challenge, the Ted Horn 100 (DuQuoin, IL.), the Gold Cup, and then swept the midget, sprint car, and Silver Crown portions of the Four Crown Nationals at Eldora. He became the first driver in the history of our sport to win an ASCS National feature, a World of Outlaws feature, and features in all three of USAC’s national divisions in the same season. All tallied – Larson won 21 A-Mains in 2011.

·         Danny LasoskiDover, MO. – Age 51.  “The Dude” closed the season strongly after a championship campaign at Knoxville Raceway. He won the Devil’s Bowl Winter Nationals (Mesquite, TX.), and posted top-five finishes at the Short Track Nationals and Western World Championships (Tucson, AZ.). Lasoski won a dozen A-Mains on the season.  

·         Kerry Madsen – Saint Mary’s, New South Wales, Australia. – Age 40. Madsen was the highest ranked Australian driver in the 2011 Racer’s Racing Series points. He scored a runner-up finish with the World of Outlaws at the Joe Stelter Memorial (Fremont, OH.), and he was fourth in the Iron-Man 55. 

·         Paul McMahanHendersonville, TN. – Age 41. McMahan’s successful 2011 saw him finish fourth in the World of Outlaws point standings. Among his four WoO wins were scores at the Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC.), and at the Belleville High Banks (Belleville, KS.). 

·         Jason MeyersClovis, CA. – Age 32. Meyers had a spectacular season, driving the Elite Racing #14 to his second consecutive World of Outlaws championship. He dominated action at Williams Grove Speedway with wins in their Summer Nationals, and National Open. Meyers also won the Joe Stelter Memorial at Fremont Speedway and led WoO racing in top-five finishes. From late September to mid-October, Meyers won five straight World of Outlaws races. 

·         Daryn PittmanOwasso, OK. – Age 33. Pittman was perhaps the busiest driver in the United States. He started 88 A-mains in 2011**, winning 15 of those events in five different states (plus one in Canada!). Pittman was excellent on BIG stages in 2011. He finished second in the Williams Grove National Open, fifth in the Knoxville Nationals, and tenth at the Chili Bowl.

·         Joey Saldana – Brownsburg, IN. – Age 39. Saldana healed quickly from a wicked hit at the Kings Royal at Eldora in July; returning to win 67 days later against World of Outlaws competition at Hartford, Michigan. Saldana followed that triumph with a win at Eldora the next night. Saldana also won WoO races in California, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

·         Donny SchatzFargo, ND. – Age 34. Schatz had a spectacular second half of the 2011 season, highlighted by his fifth Knoxville Nationals win, to propel him to the Racer’s Racing Series points title. He also took home top honors at the Brad Doty Classic (Lima, OH.), the World of Outlaws World Finals and at the Western World Championships. 

·         Tim ShafferAliquippa, PA. – Age 44. Shaffer captured the second leg of the twin main events at the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup (Sarver, PA.) along with a dozen other features to make the All-HD Team for the eighth time. In RRS points races, Shaffer was second in the 360 Nationals (Knoxville, IA.) and fourth at the Knoxville Nationals.

·         Jason Sides – Bartlett, TN. – Age 38. Sides won four World of Outlaws feature events in four different states and finished second in the Gold Cup Race of Champions (Chico, CA.) to earn his eighth All-HammerDown! Team selection. Sides’ victories were in California, Florida, Kansas, and Michigan.

·         Stevie Smith – New Oxford, PA. - Age 45. Among Smith’s four 2011 wins were the Tuscarora 50 (Port Royal, PA.) and the opening night of the Trophy Cup where he wound up fourth in the overall event point standings.  Stevie also finished second at the Williams Grove Summer Nationals versus World of Outlaws competition.

·         Jon StanbroughAvon, IN. – Age 44. Stanbrough was consistent in 2011 – earning a top ten finish in the Chili Bowl, and a fourth place result in the final Indiana Sprint Week standings. He scored four wins in three states with his victories in Indiana, Missouri, and Pennsylvania.

·         Shane StewartBixby, OK. – Age 35. Stewart again won the ASCS National championship, driving for Paul Silva. The duo shined at Knoxville Raceway, winning the 360 Nationals and finishing second in the Knoxville Nationals. Stewart won a dozen features in 2011, including the ASCS sanctioned “Copper on Dirt” at USA Raceway (Tucson, AZ.).

·         Brad SweetGrass Valley, CA. – Age 25. Sweet used consistency across winged 410 and 360 sprint cars, along with midgets to make the All-HammerDown! Team for the fifth straight season. He spent a portion of the season filling in for the injured Joey Saldana, finishing third on his preliminary night at the Knoxville Nationals. He also scored third place finishes at the Brad Doty Classic and at the Trophy Cup. Sweet was fourth in the Gold Crown Midget Nationals. 

·         Jeff SwindellBartlett, TN. – Age 50. Jeff returned to the road in 2011 to tackle the ASCS National schedule. He finished fourth in the season standings – scoring a win in April at I-30 Speedway (Little Rock, AR.). Jeff followed that win with a runner-up finish the following night. He was also on the podium – finishing third in the ASCS National stop in Cottage Grove, OR.

·         Sammy SwindellGermantown, TN. – Age 56. Sammy’s fantastic season included two wins on big stages at Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA.). He beat World of Outlaws competition in June at the “Sprint Car Capital of the World”, and then returned to win his preliminary night at the Knoxville Nationals. Sammy also won the ASCS sanctioned Short Track Nationals. 

·         Chris WindomCanton, IL. – Age 20. Windom made the All-HammerDown! Team for the second consecutive season on the strength of his big year in a non-wing sprint car. Windom won the Little 500 (Anderson, IN.) on pavement and also captured the Indiana Sprint Week championship on dirt. He totaled ten A-Main wins on the season.

·         Lucas WolfeMechanicsburg, PA. – Age 25. Wolfe used consistent results on the rugged World of Outlaws trail to notch his fifth career All-HammerDown! Team honor. Wolfe’s third place effort at the Iron-Man 55 in August was his best finish in a Racer’s Racing Series points event.

·         Gary Wright – Hooks, TX. – Age 52. Wright won nine feature events including a Racer’s Racing Series points race in ASCS National competition at I-30 Speedway in April. The Hall of Fame driver finished fifth in the season-ending ASCS National points.


* Stat from SprintCarStats.com **Stat from SprintSource.com