Solwold eyes redemption at Dirt Cup

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 25, 2014 

31 World of OUtlaws

Jason Solwold (39) leads Kevin Smith and Craig Dollansky(2) around the turn during a heat of the World of Outlaws racing August 30, 2008 at the Skagit Speedway.

ANDY BRONSON — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

Jason Solwold's racing career has one glaring omission.

Spanning the better part of two decades, Solwold, 38, has won nearly everything under the moon. One thing, though, has eluded his grasp: Skagit Speedway's Dirt Cup Championships.

"Actually, that's the only big race I've never won at Skagit so far," he said in a phone interview. "It's definitely the one I want to get before my career is over in another 20 years."

He's been close - real close - but something's always found a way to go awry.

In 2001 with five laps remaining, Solwold found himself isolated with now-NASCAR standout Kasey Kahne well beyond the field.

"I started out maybe fourth or so, and me and Kasey took off and I followed him around for most of the race," Solwold said. "We had a little bit of a battle going on. We had a really good race car and just one of those deals where I haven't had the best of luck in this race."

Solwold got tangled up with the pace car after a caution went out, forcing him to spin out and eventually finish in eighth place. Kahne took the checkered flag.

This year, Solwold said with a laugh, he hopes to finally avert the bad luck that's become so familiar at the Dirt Cup Championships.

The three-day long series begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at Skagit Speedway. Opening ceremonies begin each night - Thursday, Friday and Saturday - at 7 p.m., with gates opening for spectators at 5 p.m. each day.

Tickets for adults range from $23 Thursday to $24 Friday and $28 Saturday, or $75 for a three-day pass. Juniors, seniors and active military receive discounted ticket prices.

Solwold had no plans of competing in the Dirt Cup this year. He recently returned from racing around the country professionally, getting mixed up "with the wrong people and got a sour taste in my mouth," he said.

A refreshing break was welcomed, but an opportunity presented itself to reunite with his ex-brother-in-law Mike Anderson, who helped spark Solwold's racing career.

"In a conversation with Jason and his dad, we just came up with a plan to try and start out with dirt cup and see how it goes," Anderson said in a phone interview. "So far, so good. Everybody gets along. If everything goes well, we'll tackle the future."

Anderson, like Solwold, has a bitter relationship with the Dirt Cup Championships. As a car owner he's never managed one of his drivers to victory. In pretty much everything else he's found success. Just not Dirt Cup.

Words, Anderson said, are hard to come by wondering what it would mean for both he and Solwold to finally claim a title that's offered nothing but heartbreak in return.

"It really would be the pinnacle of accomplishments for the many years of trying," Anderson said. "The meaning is almost hard to describe. It's one that's been elusive. ... We agree that Lady Luck is on our side this year, and we come through and avoid all the stuff this season."

Solwold on his run of bad luck: "That all changes this weekend."

Reach Alex Bigelow at alex.bigelow@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-715-2238. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for other Whatcom County sports updates.

DIRT CUP CHAMPIONSHIPS

When: Thursday, June 26 through Saturday, June 28

Where: Skagit Speedway

Time: Gates open at 5 p.m., with opening ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m.

Tickets: Adults $23 Thursday, $24 Friday and $28 Saturday, or $75 for three-day pass. Juniors, seniors and active military receive discounted ticket prices.

For more information, go to www.skagitspeedway.com

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