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WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Cars head to Illinois for doubleheader weekend

The Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Car Series presented by Low-E Insulation is back in action this weekend with back-to-back races in Illinois – Friday, Sept. 9, at Jacksonville Speedway and Saturday, Sept. 10, at Spoon River Speedway.

While the Series hasn’t seen action since the inaugural St. Louis Firecracker Faceoff at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in late June, it has seen a list of five different winners in the first six races and presents drivers with a chance at a sixth or seventh different winner this weekend.

Among those five victors is current points leader Shane Cockrum, who prepares for the first Series races in his home state, maintaining a 47-point lead over Alex Bright. Matt Westfall sits third, 69 points out of first place, while Mario Clouser (-107) and Jake Swanson (-116) complete the top-five at the halfway point in the chase for the inaugural season championship.

Both races will be run in conjunction with the POWRi WAR Sprint Car League, bringing racers and championship chasers from both Series to both venues for an all-out Non-Wing Sprint Car brawl in the Land of Lincoln.

Tickets for this weekend’s races will be available at the gate on race day. If you can’t be there in person, stream all the action live on or on the official DIRTVision app.

Here are the drivers to watch and the storylines to follow this weekend:

FIGHTING ILLINI – Current points leader Shane Cockrum, of Benton, IL, has been a wealth of consistency so far this season, posting top-10 finishes in all but one Series race – one of only two drivers with that accolade thus far.

Cockrum at I-55 Raceway in June (Jacy Norgaard Photo)

Though he hasn’t seen Victory Lane on tour yet, he’ll have his best chance Friday at Jacksonville. Cockrum won a POWRi National Midget League race there in 2013 and charged from 15th-to-5th in a 2016 POWRi WAR Sprint Car League event.

His last two Xtreme Outlaw starts ended with finishes of fifth and sixth, boosting him into the Series points lead.

THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT – Alex Bright’s first Xtreme Outlaw victory of the season came at a perfect time. The Collegeville, PA-driver bagged a victory in the opening night of the STL Firecracker Faceoff at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in June, two Series races after suffering a DNF at Lake Ozark Speedway in April.

He and the Hummer Motorsports team now turn their attention to Illinois, where they aim for their first Non-Wing Sprint Car wins together at Jacksonville and Spoon River. They’re coming off a big weekend in Pennsylvania, scoring back-to-back Feature wins with the USAC East Coast Sprint Cars, and aim to keep that momentum rolling as they head for the Midwest.

SUPER MARIO – Currently sitting fourth in Series points, Mario Clouser is one of three drivers in the top-five without a win thus far. However, signs do point to a potential trip to Victory Lane this weekend.

Clouser, of Chatham, IL, won the most recent 410 Non-Wing Sprint Car event at Spoon River, taking the checkers in June of last year en route to his first WAR Sprint Car League championship. He also won a POWRi Midget event at Jacksonville in 2012, showing he knows his way around both tracks.

In recent Xtreme competition, Clouser was contending for his first win in both nights at I-55, leading laps in both Features and bagging a runner-up finish to Jake Swanson in the Saturday night finale.

Clouser at I-55 (Jacy Norgaard Photo)

WAR LORDS – Current POWRi WAR Sprint Car League points leader Kory Schudy, of Battlefield, MO, has ruled over the Missouri-heavy schedule in 2022, winning a league-high three Features in the first 14 races.

He leads the WAR charge into Illinois for the first time this season with a 490-point lead on second-place Steven Russell, a native Illinoisan, and a 500-point gap on Anthony Nicholson.

Nicholson, of Bartlett, TN, won a WAR event at Spoon River in June 2019.

SIZE MATTERS – Already having competed on a 1/2-mile and two 1/3-mile ovals, the Xtreme Outlaw field now takes on the 1/4-mile of Jacksonville and 3/8-mile of Spoon River.

Wesley Smith, of Nixa, MO, currently sits sixth in Series points and already owns a WAR Feature win at the 1/4-mile Double X Speedway and 3/8-mile Central Missouri Speedway this year.