World Racing Group to launch Xtreme Outlaw midget, wingless sprint series in 2022

Xtreme Outlaw midget sprint
World Racing Group

World Racing Group, the parent company of the World of Outlaws Sprint and Late Model Series, will enter midget and wingless sprint racing with the creation of the Xtreme Outlaw Series in 2022. Operating under the names Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series and Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Car Series, each division will feature 10-15 races with a combined point fund.

“I have always been a huge fan of this type of racing, and I believe World Racing Group can contribute to the future success of these classes,” World Racing Group CEO Brian Carter said in a release. “There’s no denying how spectacular midget and non-wing sprint car racing is, and we want to bring it to more people. Working in conjunction with POWRi and USAC to the extent possible, and combining World Racing Group’s already established resources, will allow us to expand the sport and provide more entertainment for our fans.”

The Xtreme Outlaws will compliment an already robust schedule of more than 80 winged-sprint events scheduled for 2022.

The two series join the Outlaws, Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds and DIRTcar regional series in a continued effort to become the biggest dirt sanctioning body in North America.

For 2022, the points’ fund will be combined with a total purse approaching $100,000.

Schedules will be released at a later date, but the plan is to run many races in conjunction with established sprint or late model races, including being added to the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 14-15, in Barberville, Fla. The A-Main Monday night will pay $5,000-to-win. Tuesday will pay $10,000-to-win. This placement provides a bridge between the sprint cars, which run Feb. 10-12, and late models (Feb. 16-19) to provide two full weeks of racing.

Plans are also in place to add the series to the Ironman 55 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway on Aug. 5-6 in Pevely, Mo.

Casey Shuman, winner of more than 100 USAC Sprint Car Series races, will helm the effort.

“I’m beyond thrilled to get this adventure going in 2022,” Shuman said. “With the resources we have here at World Racing Group and the people we have lined up, I think we can build something great here. The midget and non-wing community offers some of the most exciting racing in all of the world and we want to increase the awareness and exposure.”

Shuman will continue in his current duties as the World of Outlaws Late Model Series director.

A full schedule, complete points fund, race payout and more information will be announced at a later date.

Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”