Two-day World of Outlaws event boasts $35,000-to-win (Emily Schwanke Photo)

Racers Eager for WoO North Carolina Weekend at Ultimate 

ELKIN, N.C. — Over the course of the 10-month World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models tour, drivers anticipate opportunities to capitalize on a big race weekend. 

Midwesterners Brent Larson, Ryan Gustin and Dustin Walker are a long way from home this week, but they’re all aiming to close out the first quarter of the 2024 season on a strong note at Ultimate Motorsports Park. 

Walker recently changed his No.14W to a Longhorn Chassis — giving him a new experience while making significant ground in the points hunt at Ultimate. 

“The (new car) has better traction, but we’re figuring it out since it’s drastically different,” Walker said. “The chassis moves a lot more, like the body and such, and it feels like driving an A-Mod of sorts, and it just has its nuances that we’ll work out.

“I think we’ll be better in the long run because we can drive it in harder, and it’ll stick (through the corner). It’s hard to get used to after a year of driving a different car.” 

While Larson’s best finish in 2024 is two 12th-place finishes at Mississippi Thunder Speedway, he has relied on the resources around him to improve at new tracks the series visits in 2024. 

“We haven’t gotten to where we want to be just yet,” Larson said. “But we’ve been able to gain a ton when we race and we gotta keep working on the qualifying portion. A lot of these new tracks can be tough to learn at the start, but everybody’s working hard and doing their best.

“A lot of resources and intelligence have been helping us and we’re doing our best to keep up with all that, and keep on digging.” 

Gustin is in his first year with Todd Cooney Racing and has dealt with the inconsistency of putting a complete night together in his first five months. Despite that, he’s earned a win at Mississippi Thunder as the team has progressed and he looks forward to a new track in Ultimate Motorsports Park. 

“After the last few weekends, I’m feeling really good so far,” Gustin said. “Our car is where it needs to be, and of course we were off at Marion Center, but we definitely had a top-10 car at Raceway 7 before issues with the radiator. I think we’ve done really well to start, and I’m interested to see what Ultimate brings us.” 

With a year under his belt on a national touring Series, Walker is pleased to be on par with his competitors right out of the box in hot laps and qualifying. 

“The biggest hurdle is going to places you’ve never been before,” Walker said. “We’re going to get two hot laps then go immediately into qualifying. So you got to try and get a feel while going wide-open and hope you don’t stick it in the fence. Outside of the travel, it can be long nights when you travel from track-to-track, you just have to persevere through that and we’ve done well so far, I’d say.” 

Gustin began the month with a statement victory in the Dairyland Showdown. After beginning his venture with Todd Cooney Racing with nothing to start, “The Reaper” respects and sees the importance like these weekends at Ultimate can be for a small team. 

“The funds at some of these events have helped us for sure,” Gustin said. “When we go race for $30K, $40K or even $50K, when you win those events, it helps us for sure. Winning races like Mississippi Thunder is a big boost for our team from where we had started and keeps you going in a long season.” 

Larson echoed the appreciation of having a feature that starts with $3,000 to win, as the increasing purses help keep teams motivated to race with The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet. 

“The funding part has been a big deal this year,” Larson said. “We put so much into what we do now, and it keeps escalating every time. So, the extra purses like (Ultimate’s) are very much appreciated and helps keep our team going up and down the road and gives us something to look forward to.”