CALISTOGA, CA (September 1) -- Andy Hillenburg, who qualified for 507 straight Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series "A" Features in the 1990s, will always be known for his persistence. Hillenburg showed his never-ending persistence during the ...
CALISTOGA, CA (September 1) -- Andy Hillenburg, who qualified for 507 straight Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series "A" Features in the 1990s, will always be known for his persistence.
Hillenburg showed his never-ending persistence during the second preliminary program at the Ninth Annual Harvest Classic Saturday at Calistoga Speedway, battling Steve Kinser during the first half of the race and leading the final 12¼ laps for the $5,000 victory.
"The car was working real well down low, especially in turn two," Hillenburg said. "I think that was the key. Five laps longer, and the race would have been on because we were running out of tire, but these Hoosiers got the job done and got us into victory lane. Steve (Kinser) and I were racing pretty hard. He slipped up over the cushion trying to get by a lapped car, and that let us catch up a little bit.
"You never forget the races that get away from you. We were pretty good last night and just caught a bad break. The track was great tonight -- it was a little wider and racier than last night. They'll probably put a little water on it tonight so it doesn't take rubber tomorrow. I just hope everyone enjoyed the show tonight and the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series can put on another great race tomorrow."
Hillenburg, who also won the Second Preliminary Feature in the 1993 Harvest Classic, was the 14th-fastest qualifier among the 31 cars in Saturday's qualifying session. He won the First O'Reilly Heat Race and earned the privilege of starting the evening's main event outside the front row by following "The King of the Outlaws" across the finish line in the Channellock Dash.
Kinser, the 1993 Harvest Classic champion, burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the Preliminary Feature. Hillenburg challenged him with inside moves in all four corners, but was unable to drive his #2 Luxaire J&J into first place.
Tim Shaffer, who raced past seven cars during the opening lap, steered the #11H Vivarin Maxim into the low groove between turns three and four to pass Sammy Swindell for fifth place the next time around. Swindell stopped in the second corner with a flat left rear tire early in lap three.
Stevie Smith, who won the Harvest Classic in 1998, passed Shaffer deep in the second corner as the green flag replaced the yellow.
Hillenburg won a back-straightaway drag race with Kinser midway through the fifth lap, only to have "The King of the Outlaws" regain the lead with a high move around him in turn four a few seconds later.
Craig Dollansky exchanged sixth place with Shaffer during the next three laps. The defending World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion steered Karavan Racing's #7 Polydome Maxim to the rim between the third and fourth corners to pass Shaffer, only to have the 1999 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year pass him in the low groove in the same spot one lap later. Another high move -- this one between turns one and two -- gave Dollansky sixth place early in lap eight.
Kinser was six car-lengths ahead of Hillenburg when he entered lapped traffic the next time around.
Defending Harvest Classic champion Danny Lasoski drove NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart's #20L J.D. Byrider Eagle past five cars in the first 8½ laps. He took the low line through the third and fourth corners to pass Dale Blaney for eighth place late in lap nine.
Hillenburg caught Kinser in a pack of back-markers three laps later, and passed him for the lead deep in turn four.
Shaffer started making his way back toward the front during the race's middle stages, passing Dollansky early in the 10th lap and Smith for fifth place with an inside move between the first and second corners five laps later.
Paul McMahan and Lasoski relegated Smith to eighth place during lap 16, then Shaffer raced into fourth with an inside move past fast- qualifier Mark Kinser between the third and fourth corners three laps later.
Ignition problems in DOCC Motorsports' #20 Eagle Raceway Maxim caused Clovis, CA, resident Jason Meyers to stop in turn two with five laps remaining.
Opening-night feature winner Jeff Shepard took the high line through the fourth corner to pass Steve Kinser for the runner-up spot within a lap after the race resumed.
Kasey Kahne set up a two-lap dash to the checkered flag when he spun in turn two early in lap 23.
Hillenburg raced away from the field as the green flag replaced the yellow, but bobbled in the second corner early in the final lap, allowing Shepard to narrow the gap to four car-lengths. Hillenburg took the checkered flag with four car-lengths to spare.
"The King of the Outlaws" held off Shaffer for third place. Mark Kinser increased his Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points advantage to 18 over Lasoski by finishing fourth. McMahan finished in sixth place, ahead of Lasoski, Blaney, Smith and Dollansky.
Randy Hannagan, who moved his racing operation from San Jose, CA, to Pittsboro, IN, during the off-season, spun in turn four as the checkered flag fell. He was scored as the last driver finishing on the lead lap -- 17th place.