BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Ryan Timms made history at the inaugural Germfree Southern Sprint Car Shootout and returns this year for a piece of the event's historic purse.
At 16 years old, the Oklahoma-born driver won the first Southern Sprint Car Shootout race in his first start at Volusia Speedway Park last year.
This time around, knowing his winning potential at the half-mile Volusia dirt track, the now-17-year-old Timms hopes to capitalize on the event’s increased payout.
“It’s always good to start a year off with a win,” Timms said. “Last year was cool. There were some pretty good guys there. (Ricky) Stenhouse was there. Guys like that. It felt really good to pick up a win early. I’m looking to do the same this year.
“It’s one night extra – three nights, instead of two – and it’s paying a lot more this year.”
The second annual Germfree Southern Sprint Car Shootout, Jan. 25-27, will see nearly 50 of the best 360 Sprint Car drivers compete for three straight nights with the United Sprint Car Series at Volusia, boasting an overall purse of more than $65,000 – the largest in USCS history.
Thursday and Friday’s features will pay $2,500 to win, before Saturday’s massive $10,000 payday.
Entering the Southern Sprint Car Shootout last year, Timms said he didn’t expect to win, or even be fast. Along with it being his first trip to the Florida facility, his experience on half-mile tracks was limited.
Now, after standing in victory lane once before, Timms expects nothing less than another win.
“We had a ton of speed the last time we were there,” Timms said. “I didn’t expect to be that fast there. Now, going into it this year, knowing how fast I was last year, I know I should be even faster this year. The big deal is just putting a full night together. You got to qualify good, you got to run a good heat race. That’s how every night is. That’s another struggle. I’ll have one night where I can’t be beaten and another night where I don’t qualify so good and it kind of messes up the rest of your night.
“I just need to work on putting full nights together. The [more] we do that, we can get some pretty good results.”
After winning the first night of last year’s event by more than seven seconds, Timms went on to finish fifth the second night. However, he charged from 17th to do so.
Between those two days, Timms said he learned a lot about racing at Volusia and what it’s going to take to stay up front all three nights this year.
“It’s just about putting yourself in the right position,” Timms explained. “On those half miles, there’s a lot of dirty air. Volusia kind of has a weird shape to it. For whatever reason, to me, dirty air there is a lot more extreme than [it is] at other places. There’s a couple things to learn there.
“Going into it this year, we have a new set of guys with us. I’m going into it feeling really good about it. I love running the 360 stuff. It’s what I started running and it feels really natural. I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully we can improve on what we weren’t so good at last year.”
The Germfree Southern Sprint Car Shootout will also be a good test session before he returns to the 410 sprint car ranks with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series during the Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 7-10.
After that, Timms will begin his quest for a national midget championship with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota.
“As long as you’re getting laps at all, no matter what car it’s in or what track you’re at … just in anything, it’s going to help you more than sitting at home doing nothing,” Timms said. “Any time you can get laps, the more racing you can do the better. I know not everyone can race as often as they want [to].
“I think a lot of guys aren’t starting their season up that early. To go there and run one of the first races of the year puts you that much further ahead of everyone else.”
The Germfree Southern Sprint Car Shootout takes place Jan. 25-27 at Volusia Speedway Park. For those unable to make it to the racetrack, all three days will be streamed live on DIRTvision.