Historical big one winner Pittman to start seventh in Knoxville Nationals "A" feature. KNOXVILLE, IA - Daryn Pittman and the Sherdon Motorsports team entered sprint car racing's biggest event with a ton of confidence following his ...
Historical big one winner Pittman to start seventh in Knoxville Nationals "A" feature.
KNOXVILLE, IA - Daryn Pittman and the Sherdon Motorsports team entered sprint car racing's biggest event with a ton of confidence following his $100,000 Historical Big One victory last Saturday night. The 24 year-old parlayed that momentum into a career-best seventh starting position in Saturday's Ford Dealers of Iowa Knoxville Nationals 30-lap "A" feature that will pay $125,000-to-win.
"I think we made the car better for racing on Friday and got better every time we hit the racetrack," said Pittman, the 1998 Knoxville Nationals Rookie of the Year. "I feel really positive about tonight and all we've got is one race. We're done qualifying and the heat races are all behind us. Now, we've got to be good for 30 laps and I think we're getting really close. We'll watch how everything goes with the track and make changes to be ready for the best 30 laps of our season."
Pittman, who entered Friday's "A" Scramble eighth overall in points, earned a third place finish in the 12-lap race. After falling to fifth, he charged back to third passing tonight's pole sitter Donny Schatz. The finish was the best of the weekend after he finished fifth in Thursday's qualifying program.
"We gained on them tonight and I think we can get it done from the seventh spot," continued Pittman, who's best "A" finish at the Nationals was 11th in 2000. "The biggest part of this week is putting yourself in a position to do it. I've got a lot confidence and this is my best starting spot for the Nationals and after last week, I know we can get it win a major race."
The team concluded Friday's program by racing from 14th to seventh in the Kele World Challenge. Pittman carried the World Series Champion torch in the event, but it wasn't easy getting the #21 Hop & Sack/ Gaerte/ Mopar/ J&J ready for the 16-lap affair. During the "A" Scramble, Pittman's mount was losing power steering fluid - making his run to third more remarkable driving with power steering fluid spraying inside the cockpit. But the crew was able to make the changes, which has been a constant during the entire season for the Sherdon team.
"My guys did a great job tonight," continued Pittman. "Joe (Gaerte), Bingo (Jenkins) and Glenno (Inglis) really had to hustle to get a new power steering put in the car. We only had about 10 minutes, but they've been great all year. The biggest struggle with teams and owners in this sport is finding crew members that are willing to work through the bad times and keep positive attitudes. We are fortunate to have those kind of people working on our team, and they have done a great job giving me a racecar that I can drive to front and have a chance in these races. They never once doubted that I could drive the car, nor have I questioned their abilities. They've worked a lot harder than I have and probably deserve more of the credit that's for sure."
Crew Chief Joe Gaerte would agree with the "team" assessment and as a former driver he knows what it takes to be ready for the biggest race in sprint car racing. "The main thing is to have everything working well together before the big race. We've really got a good handle on these Mopar motors now and our results are showing that. The J&J car is performing flawlessly and that's a testament to them, because we only got two nights on it. We're going to have to be on our game tonight, because the guy with the best handling racecar and strongest motor is the one to beat."
The spotlight will be at it's brightest for Pittman and the rest of the teams on Saturday night. Pittman will be featured on "Speed News" at 6:00 PM (CT), and the Knoxville Nationals races will air live on Speed at 9:00 PM (CT).
"I'm excited to be back on live TV," concluded Pittman. "This is our Superbowl and we want to have a great showing for all of the people that make this possible. I'm just really happy that we sitting here with a good chance of having our best finish ever in the Nationals."
The Sprint Car Network will also provide live coverage via www.sprintcarnet.com.