Stewart Soars to Victory in Winter Nationals Preliminary MESQUITE, TX (October 26) -- The valuable experience Shane Stewart gained while working for Andy Hillenburg and racing with the World of Outlaws Gumout Series is paying off in a big ...
Stewart Soars to Victory in Winter Nationals Preliminary
MESQUITE, TX (October 26) -- The valuable experience Shane Stewart gained while working for Andy Hillenburg and racing with the World of Outlaws Gumout Series is paying off in a big way.
Stewart won his second straight Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Preliminary Feature Friday when the series opened the 28th Annual O'Reilly Winter Nationals at Devil's Bowl Speedway. Hillenburg finished right behind his protégé for the second straight week.
"I can't say enough about this crew," Stewart said. "We hurt a motor in hot laps and they got it changed just in time to qualify. My car owner, Junior Holbrook, builds the motors and I can't thank him enough. I have to thank the Lord. He's blessed me ever since I got in this car.
"Andy is awesome. Any time you can outrun the black #2, you've done something. I started the year working for him and 'Diesel' (Keith Carlson) and what I learned has definitely helped me. I can't thank them enough. Last week at Talladega, I outran him on the preliminary night and I know he'll be hot on my heels tomorrow (Saturday) night. I hope I can outrun him again.
"I told the guys at Talladega if I could win a World of Outlaws race before the end of the year I'd be really happy. I've done that, so my next goal is to win a big show (main event)."
The $5,000 victory gave Stewart the pole position in Saturday's Channellock Dash. Stewart won the dash at the Talladega Short Track and finished in fifth place while Hillenburg claimed the $20,000 first prize.
Stewart, the 10th-fastest qualifier in Friday's 34-car field, won the Second O'Reilly Heat Race and earned the right to start the 25-lap feature on the pole by winning his third Channellock Dash of the season.
Stewart drove Holbrook's #8H Maxim into the lead as the green flag fell in the evening's main event. Fast-qualifier Craig Dollansky raced around Joey Saldana in the high groove between turns one and two for second place.
Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Mark Kinser suffered through a miserable night. After qualifying a disappointing 25th-quick, Mark stopped the #5M Mopar Maxim in the fourth corner early in the second lap. Despite racing into 14th place from outside the 12th row, Kinser saw his points lead drop to nine points over Danny Lasoski.
Sammy Swindell, who has won more Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series "A" Features at Devil's Bowl than any other driver, started inside the fourth row. He drove his #1 Channellock Stealth into the low groove to pass Stevie Smith for fourth place late in lap two.
Stewart was 2.6 seconds ahead of Dollansky when he caught the back-markers during the sixth lap. Brad Furr took the leaders out of lapped traffic and tightened the field two laps later when he stopped the #2F Sanmina Eagle in the second corner.
Swindell continued his run toward the front as the green flag replaced the yellow, passing Saldana for third place with an inside move between turns one and two.
Dollansky, who won the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at the Devil's Bowl in March, raced wheel-to-wheel with Stewart through the first and second corners early in lap 10 but was unable to surge ahead. Hillenburg drove his #2 Luxaire J&J into the low groove in turn one to pass Saldana for fourth place the next time around.
Stewart enjoyed a comfortable 2.2-second advantage when he caught the back-markers during the 15th lap. Swindell passed Dollansky for second place deep in turn two early in lap 17. Three cars passed Dollansky when the #7 Polydome Maxim slid over the cushion in the first corner the next time around.
Swindell caught Stewart in turn two and raced with him down the back straightaway during the 18th lap. They collided, however, sending Swindell spinning off the track in turn three.
"I definitely owe Sammy Swindell an apology -- I didn't see him at all," Stewart said. "It's hard to see someone on your outside, especially at this place, and I'm sorry for Sammy because that was definitely my fault."
Dollansky raced past Saldana in the second corner to take over third place as the race resumed. Steve Kinser, who started outside the 10th row, took over fifth place with a low move past Tim Shaffer in turn two early in lap 20. Stewart took the checkered flag with 1.3 seconds to spare.
"It's good to run second, but I'm unhappy with myself," Hillenburg said. "I made the wrong decisions on the car. I just wish we could have had a better race car. At Talladega when Shane outran me, I had as good a car as I could have. I thought we could have had a better car tonight.
"He's just fast. I ran as hard as I could run. I need to figure out how to outrun him. I waited on him to make a mistake and he never did. He's doing a great job. If we learn from out mistakes, maybe Shane and I can run for it tomorrow night."
Dollansky held off Saldana for third place. "The King of the Outlaws" finished fifth, ahead of Shaffer, "B" Feature winner Paul McMahan, Jeff Shepard, 16th-starting Lasoski and Smith.