If you have ever wondered how much fun a driver has steering a race car, take a look at Ryan Watt (foreground). Watt beamed with joy in his first time racing a wingless sprint car. You could see that megawatt smile as he made the winning pass on Bill Unglert (background) during the USAC East Coast Sprint Cars feature at Delaware’s Georgetown Speedway.
Tim and Franny Hogue gave Watt, an accomplished modified driver, a chance to wheel their sprint car. The three-time Short Track Super Series champion jumped at the opportunity. However, his inexperience behind the wheel of the notoriously twitchy cars showed during hot laps.
“I went over the banking twice in hot laps,” Watt, of Boyertown, Pennsylvania, said. “The track was yet to come in and I was trying to learn to drive a wingless sprint car as fast as I could.”
Watt had to master the differences of a wingless sprint car compared to a modified.
“There is a lot of power to weight in sprint cars,” said Watt. “You have to use the throttle to get through the turns.”
Modifieds and sprint cars also have similarities, according to Watt.
“The modifieds and sprint cars are comparable in lap times,” Watt said. “My modified was slower than my sprint car by a few tenths of a second. The sprint cars have straightaway speed. The modifieds are fast through the turns.”
Ryan Watt used a slide job to pass Unglert, of Old Bridge, New Jersey, for the lead and then went on to win his first wingless sprint car feature.
“Sure, there was a smile on my face when I made my move, but there was also a smile on my face going off the banking in hot laps, too,” Watt said. “I just had so much fun driving that car.”
This year marks the Outside Groove Director of Photography’s 50th year of covering auto racing. Adaskaveg got his start working for track photographer Lloyd Burnham at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in 1970. Since then, he’s been a columnist, writer, and photographer, in racing and in mainstream media, for several outlets, including the Journal Inquirer, Boston Herald, Stock Car Racing, and Speedway Illustrated. Among Adaskaveg’s many awards are the 1992 Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Ace Lane Photographer of the Year and the 2019 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) George Cunningham Writer of the Year.