---- — By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
MECHANICSBURG -- After toiling for five years on the World of Outlaws sprint car series and coming oh-so-close to earning his first win, second-generation sprint car driver Lucas Wolfe finally broke through in 2012.
Wolfe won his first-ever WoO feature at one of the oldest race tracks in America, Bloomington Speedway.
Wolfe steps into a new ride in 2013 as he has teamed up with Todd and Susan LaHaise of Sioux Falls, S.D, to drive their 410 sprint car.
The team is looking at racing nearly 100 times this season with a true outlaw-style schedule.
"It's going well," Wolfe said of the early part of the season and getting to know the LaHaises and the team. "It should have been better. We've had a decent start, the results have been OK."
Throughout the early part of the season, the team has set two fast-times in World of Outlaws action, including at Las Vegas on March 7. Wolfe has a top-five finish, four top-10s and in a handful of starts with the Outlaws.
In action with the American Sprint Car Series, a 360 sprint car circuit based in Oklahoma, he has two top-fives and four top-10 finishes.
"We're qualifying well and I am excited about the opportunity," he said.
Wolfe ran the previous years with Jim & Laura Allebach. The team finished ninth last season in the World of Outlaws points standings.
Along with the win at Bloomington last year, Wolfe also won at Carrick Speedway in Australia and a 360 sprint car feature at Tucson International Raceway last October.
In all, the 26-year-old tallied 14 top-fives and 39 top-10 finishes in 89 races last year. He also set the one-lap track record during qualifying at Cornwall Motor Speedway in July.
He has a new crew chief this season in Greg McCormick.
"So far, we've been getting along well," he said of his relationship with McCormick whom he has known for some time. "We've made a lot of changes but we are staying competitive. We were happy with our performance with the Outlaws. We were in the dash all but one night."
With the LaHaises being from South Dakota, the team is planning on racing in Minnesota and South Dakota at tracks like Huset's Speedway (Brandon, S.D.) along with some trips to Knoxville.
"We should be in a position for more wins this year," he added.
Last season, with Justin Henderson piloting the car, the team finished fourth in the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway and won the Friday preliminary night at the Knoxville Nationals.
This year's early-season success hasn't come without some trials on the road.
"The truck's turbo went out on the trip from Phoenix to Dallas, so we missed the drivers meeting at Devils Bowl Speedway (Tex.) for the ASCS race," Wolfe said. "ASCS has a different channel for its Raceceiver radio so I missed going over the scales after the race and that took a fifth-place finish and made it a 24th-place finish."
Wolfe's father, Randy, is an 18-time sprint car winner at Selinsgrove Speedway. Wolfe noted the team could potentially race in Pennsylvania in July and the fall Outlaws races at the Grove.