2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Daryn Pittman Daryn Pittman is one of the most focused racers in the world. He is determined to win every time he hits the track. That intensity and drive is what has made him so successful over the years with the...
2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Daryn Pittman
Daryn Pittman is one of the most focused racers in the world. He is determined to win every time he hits the track. That intensity and drive is what has made him so successful over the years with the World of Outlaws. One of the friendliest drivers off the track, he is also one of the most fierce when he puts the helmet on and straps into the cockpit.
Over the course of last season, which stretched from early February until late October, he racked up an impressive 43 Top-10 finishes. Pittman won five A-Feature events as well as two preliminary features. He also turned the quickest lap in time trials, three times. In addition to this, he was tied for the series lead with eight dash wins, which earned him seven pole positions. He led 287 laps on the year, second only to series champion Donny Schatz. When the final points were tallied up, Pittman matched his career best finish of fourth.
Never resting on his laurels, the veteran driver is ready to begin the 2007 season, and continue to carry this momentum that he built throughout last season. His quest will begin with the 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida, February 9-11.
In between two trips to Australia to compete during the off-season, which saw him score a win in the Kings Challenge at Borderline Raceway, Pittman and his team have been busy in the shop making sure all the pieces of the puzzle are in place so that when they hit the road for the season, they are fully prepared. He is confident that every last nut and bolt has been tightened and that they have accomplished everything they had on their off-season "to-do" list.
"The time has gone by pretty fast," said Pittman, who has 19 career World of Outlaws A-Feature wins. "It is winding down quick, but we work all year on racing and come about August we start preparing stuff for the next year. We're in great shape and everyone at the shop has done a great job getting the cars built. We're definitely ready to go to Volusia and get started. With the increase in races, that's more cars that you have to have ready, and more motors you have to have ready. It's not just more races, but its more equipment that you have to be prepared with. We're looking forward to that and I think we're up to that."
While pleased with how well the team performed last year, Pittman is always looking to make improvements. Setting his goals high each season, he is looking to build on the solid foundation that his Titan Racing team has established the last couple of years.
"We just have to be a little more consistent than last year," he commented. "The last two years we have finished the last three months of the season very strong and very consistent. We just have to figure out a way to do that all year long. In terms of accumulated points over the last three months of 2006, we probably would have been second in points. We just have to step it up."
With nearly 90 races on the schedule this season, Pittman knows how important it will be for the team to pace themselves over the long haul. The native of Owasso, Oklahoma has finished eighth or better in World of Outlaws championship points in each of the last four seasons, and knows that as a driver, he cannot dwell on a bad night or two, but has to find the positives from each race and move on to the next one.
"We have to come out of the gate at Volusia and be good, and have a Top-Five car all year," he explained. "We have to have our crew and motors and cars working good from February to November. That's the big key. We know how to do it in short periods. We just have to figure out how to do it for nine or ten months."
After seeing an average car count of 41 machines per event last season, the always affable driver knows that the competition will be just as tough this year, especially beginning with the three straight nights of racing at the DIRTcar Nationals. A record number of nearly 30 drivers plan to start the season full-time with the World of Outlaws. Also at Volusia, expect a strong contingent from the O'Reilly All Star Circuit of Champions, as well as the always tough drivers from Pennsylvania.
"Last year was a very competitive season," Pittman said. "A lot of young guys were able to get out on the road and were tough to beat by the end of the year. A lot of those guys that are coming back are going to be even better. It quite possibly could be as competitive as last season. It's tough every year, to win an Outlaws show. I don't think it will be an easier to win races. It will be tougher to be consistently in the Top-10. It's going to be really tough this year."
Pittman, who was the 1998 Knoxville Nationals Rookie of the Year, gladly welcomes the expanded schedule this season that awaits him and his fellow drivers. They will compete nearly 90 times from coast-to-coast, as well as making three trips north of the border to Canada.
"The more (races) the better for us, especially as a driver," he shared. "It keeps us busy. I feel like we are a better race team the more we race. The heavier we get into racing, the better I believe our team shines. I'm definitely looking forward to that, as well as going back to a few places we skipped out on last year."
One of the most important pieces of the puzzle for any team is the crew, and Pittman believes he has one of the strongest and most well prepared in the business. They helped guide him to a $20,000 victory in the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway last July, as well as a $50,000 triumph in the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar (Calif.) Speedway in September.
"No changes here at all," beamed Pittman. "Glenno (Inglis) and Bingo (Jenkins) will both be back on the road. It's a good solid core group of guys that have been with me for about three or four years. That's a big part of our race team, the people that we have working for us. I'm glad to keep having the same good guys around."
After matching his career best finish in points last season and picking up the seven overall wins, including weekend sweeps at Eagle (Neb.) Raceway and Princeton (Minn.) Speedway, Pittman has one thing on his mind entering this season.
"Hands down the goal for the season is the championship," he said. "That is what everyone works their tails off for, and dreams of. We don't for one second think that we are not capable of doing it. That's our main goal and we just have to go out and prove it. We know it will be tough and it's a tough task. We have to go out and win races. The main goal is the championship, and my second goal is that we have a good Knoxville Nationals."