Brad Doty of Fredericksburg, Ohio, the No. 2 point gatherer in the 1987 World of Outlaws sprint car season, not only leads a strong contingent from his native state, but he returns to a favorite track in the Midwinter Winged Championships at J.C. Agajanian's Ascot Friday and Saturday nights.
Although No. 2 didn't quite attract the attention as usual because of Steve Kinser's domination, Doty established himself as one of the nation's top sprint car pilots.
The 30-year-old father of two opened the 69-event Outlaw season last year by winning his second and third consecutive winged races at Ascot. (He had won the Pacific Coast National in the 1986 finale the previous October).
With that impressive start, Doty led the 1987 point chart for the first 10 races and held onto the No. 2 spot the rest of the way after Kinser passed him for the lead. In addition to Ascot, he won races at I-55 Raceway in Missouri, Santa Fe Speedway in Illinois and at U.S. 131 Speedway in Michigan.
The 1982 Outlaws rookie of the year, Doty steered the No. 18 car for Fred Marks and Les Kepler of Sacramento last year and was the most consistent finisher on the tour, completing all 69 feature races.
He also was the fast qualifier on nine occasions including track records on five occasions. The speed should help him in the new Fram Dash, which features the fastest six cars that make the feature on Friday night. Their finish in this five-lap event determines the top starting positions in Saturday night's main event.
Doty and Kepler are still a team after Marks' withdrawal from racing, but have switched sponsors and will be using a new Lightning chassis instead of a Gambler.
To get to the front of the pack for Saturday's race, Doty will not only have to beat the likes of Kinser, Sammy Swindell and Doug Wolfgang but also a strong contingent from his home town made up of Dave Blaney of Hartford, Jac Haudenschild of Millersburg and Kenny Jacobs of Holmesville.
Blaney was Kinser's chief challenger in the waning part of 1987, winning a big victory in the $40,000 to win Syracuse nationals and two Pennsylvania events. Haudenschild is an Ascot favorite, with or without a wing. He won the wingless California Racing Assn. challenge event in 1986 and was leading eventual winner Ron Shuman in last Thanksgiving night's 100-lap midget car Grand Prix when his machine failed.
Jacobs has alternated between the Outlaws and the U.S. Auto Club championship dirt cars and has done well in both of them.