Eagle Prelim report 2006-06-09

Final Lap Pass Lifts Daryn Pittman To World of Outlaws Eagle Nationals Prelim Victory Eagle, Neb. -- June 9, 2006 -- The last time the World of Outlaws Sprint Series raced on a track the size of Eagle Raceway, it seemed as if Daryn Pittman was...

Final Lap Pass Lifts Daryn Pittman To World of Outlaws Eagle Nationals Prelim Victory

Eagle, Neb. -- June 9, 2006 -- The last time the World of Outlaws Sprint Series raced on a track the size of Eagle Raceway, it seemed as if Daryn Pittman was going to drive off to an easy victory. But traffic and Donny Schatz with three laps to go relegated Pittman to a runner-up finish.

On Friday night in the Eagle Nationals Preliminary Feature, Pittman evened the score by passing Schatz on the final lap and powering to the checkered flag for the first time this season.

Pittman started on the pole in the Titan Garages & Carports Maxim and jumped out to a quick lead at 1/3-mile Eagle Raceway. Craig Dollansky ran him down on Lap 16 and swiped the lead with Schatz watching the action in third and Jeremy Campbell in fourth. On Lap 22, Schatz first busted past Pittman and then Dollansky to slide in front and pull away to what looked like a sure victory. But a caution for a spinning car in Turn 4 with three to go bunched the field with Schatz in front, Dollansky second and Pittman third.

Schatz jumped out quick on the restart, but Pittman jumped quicker. He got past Dollansky and locked onto Schatz. With Schatz's tires not able to hold the ParkerStore J&J on the bottom, he slid up in Turn 2 with two laps to go and Pittman saw it, as did nearly everybody in the grandstands as they jumped to their feet in anticipation of side-by-side battle for the lead on the final lap. When Schatz slide up the track again on the last lap, Pittman didn't waste any time. He dove off of the high-banked Turn 2 and shot down the backstretch to the lead and held on through the final two corners to visit the RacinSoles Victory Lane for the first time in 2006.

"I saw him miss it with two laps to go and I thought, 'Man, if he does that again we're going to have a shot at him,'" said Pittman, a native of Owasso, Okla., who now has a win, a second-place finish (Grandview) and a fifth-place run (I-55) on 1/3-mile ovals this season. "I really didn't expect him to do it two laps in a row. Sure enough, he went in there and did what he had been doing. Just after the restart it didn't seem like his tires had enough heat in them to make that middle work. I knew when he opened the door we had a good shot to get him. I think I owed him that one. It seems like he's taken a few from us on the last lap. My guys, Glenno Inglis and Bingo Jenkins, have done an awesome job with my car owner Reeve Kruck. We put together a new Maxim this week and so far it's working really well."

Schatz settled for second with Dollansky third and Campbell using a strong run in the Americas Best Value Inn Maxim to earn the final locked-in position to the dash that will set the top five rows for the main event on Saturday night. Brooke Tatnell in the Race Outfitters Eagle rounded out the top-five.

Pittman had a strong car early on -- timing in fifth quick -- and he felt the pressure to finally get that first win after grabbing a victory in the dash to start the feature from the pole.

"Brad Doty came over earlier and asked, 'Are you nervous starting on the pole?' I said, 'Yeah, I'm always nervous,' Pittman said. "But I just want to get this win out of the way. I wasn't going to be disappointed if we backed up to fourth because the main goal on a prelim night is to get locked-in, but Saturday if we start on the pole back up to fourth we'll be disappointed. To get that win out of the way, we'll come back and be a little more relaxed. Once I get my first win out of the way, it seems like we're a little quicker to rattle off a few more."

With as tight as the points race is right now, Pittman finding his groove could make things even more interesting, and keep the pressure mounting on leader Schatz, who used a harder Hoosier tire compound on Friday night than he would normally run.

"Tires won the race," said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. "We ran a tire we probably never should have thought of running, but these first nights like this if you start near the front and if you're not as good you can carry the car a little bit. It's worked for a few other guys so we tried it. It was real good through the middle of the race and if the race would have stayed green we were in good shape, but every yellow it got worse and worse. It's just one of those deals, certain tires work for certain people. I was kind of sliding on that last yellow and he was able to stick it on the bottom."

It was in the middle of the feature when Pittman and Dollansky were battling for the lead with Schatz closing on them each lap. With heavy lapped traffic up and down the high-banked corners, Dollansky worked his way to the front and Schatz decided it was time to make his move.

"Dollansky was getting pressure from Pittman and we were coming to him at the same time," Schatz said. "My dad taught me to never follow. If you follow a guy in, you follow a guy out. Craig was on the bottom, I had been running the top. I ran it in on the cushion, Daryn hit the slop and pushed up, I turned and went underneath Daryn and got a good run on Craig. As soon as I got clear of Daryn, I turned it right back out in front of him and went back to the top and I entered on the outside of Turn 1 and passed Craig. It was fun racing like that. The longer my car went the better it got in those situations.

"We finished one spot shy of the win. We're here to win, not just chase points. Getting locked in is what the prelim night is for, but ultimately we come here to win. We're disappointed with second, but what's done is done. I feel that way about wins, when the night's over don't dwell on it tomorrow so I won't dwell on running second."

Dollansky patiently worked his way past Pittman just past the halfway point of the feature as cars were racing all over the track. Dollansky was locked to the bottom and it seemed as if he might pick up another win, but Schatz made the middle and top work and Pittman could race anywhere he needed to go.

"It was fun," said Dollansky, of Elk River, Minn. "There's a lot going on. A lot of lapped traffic and on that last restart we had a lapped car that cost us pretty big at the end. To be locked in here is one of the goals for the first night of a two-day show so we're sitting in a pretty good position.

"We've got a little bit of work to do for Saturday night to try to get ourselves a little bit better, but all in all we're pretty close with the Karavan team and we'll see what we can do."

With Pittman, Schatz and Dollansky battling each other throughout the race, Campbell maintained his spot in fourth and tried to pay attention to what the leaders were doing. In the end, Campbell, a contender for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented By Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt, achieved his first top-four with the World of Outlaws on a preliminary feature night.

"This is my first time finishing in the top four of a two-day show so I'm already locked in," said Campbell, a native of Monroe, Mich., who wasn't sure how he'd spend his extra time on Saturday. "I guess I can sleep in or something. It'll be nice to walk around and not worry about getting in the show.

"Watching them go to the top and bottom of the track, I was just trying to stay in a consistent groove and stay on the bottom and keep up with those guys and I did."

The Mean 15 drivers return Saturday to Eagle Raceway for the Eagle Nationals finale before competing again against the All Star Circuit of Champions on June 14 at The Raceway @ Powercom Park in Beaver Dam, Wis., and June 16-17 in the Duel in the Dakotas at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D.

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series is brought to the fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire and The Outdoor Channel. Promotional Partners include AMB i.t. and The University of Northwestern Ohio. Associate sponsors are ButlerBuilt Motorsports Equipment, Maxim Racing, RacinSoles and Snap-on. Contingency sponsors include DART Machinery, MSD Ignitions and Wrisco Industries.

EAGLE NATIONALS OPENER NOTEBOOK

* McCARL RACES: Terry McCarl, whose left leg was broken May 20 at Sharon Speedway, returned to the track for the first time since the incident but watched as Sammy Swindell drove his Big Game Treestands Eagle to the fastest lap of the night in time trials. McCarl, who had surgery on his leg two weeks ago, tested his leg by time-trialing a car owned by Mark Burch.

"Mark Burch was nice enough to let me go out there in his car and see how I feel, try to get a feel for the pedals again and see how far away I really am," McCarl said. "I'm doing way better than expected on my physical therapy and all of the healing so I'm excited to get back in a car.

"In one way it's difficult because you're competitive and you want to be out there, but on the other hand, Johnny Gibson does such a great job and DIRTVision.com is such an awesome deal, it's really cool for the fans. It was exciting to listen to Dean win the other night. Being competitive, you wish you were in the car but it's nice that the technology nowadays allows you to listen and hear such an exciting event."

* FAST QUALIFIER: Sammy Swindell paced the 34-cars in time trials with an AMB i.t.-timed lap around the 1/3-mile oval at 11.804 seconds at 101.559 mph. Because the Eagle Nationals is a multi-day show with varying championship point totals on each night, no qualifying bonus points are awarded. Joey Saldana holds the track record of 11.124 seconds established on September 20, 2002.

* QUALIFYING EVENT WINNERS: Daryn Pittman held off Jeremy Campbell to win the dash. -- Gary Wright captured the B-main. -- Heat race winners included Wayne Johnson, Brian Carlson, Kevin Swindell and Trevor Green.

* MAIN EVENT WINNERS: Joey Saldana's win Sunday night at the Terre Haute Action Track was his second World of Outlaws A-feature victory of the season. There have been 12 different winners in 23 race nights to visit the RacinSoles Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws this season. The win list includes: Donny Schatz (March 9 at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 31 at Batesville Speedway, April 1 at I-55 Raceway, May 16 at Grandview Speedway and May 30 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park), Jac Haudenschild (May 6 at U.S. 36 Raceway and May 20 at Sharon Speedway), Joey Saldana (Feb. 10 at Volusia and June 4 at Terre Haute), Sammy Swindell (April 8 at Eldora Speedway and March 10 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as well as a preliminary victory April 7 at Eldora), Brooke Tatnell (May 7 at Huset's Speedway and May 29 at Orange County Fair Speedway), Fred Rahmer (May 27 at Williams Grove, as well as a preliminary victory May 26 at Williams Grove), Craig Dollansky (April 15 at Tri-State Speedway), Paul McMahan (March 4 at USA Race Park), Danny Lasoski (March 3 at Manzanita), Chad Kemenah (Feb. 9 at Volusia),Kevin Swindell (May 24 at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway), and Dean Jacobs (May 31 at Lernerville Speedway).

* PRELIMINARY FEATURE WINNERS: Daryn Pittman's victory on Friday night was his first preliminary feature win of the season. He joins Fred Rahmer, who won the prelim night on May 26 at Williams Grove Speedway and Sammy Swindell, who won the prelim feature on April 7 at Eldora Speedway.

* 1/3-MILE WINNERS: Eagle Raceway is a 1/3-mile oval. The World of Outlaws Sprint Series has raced three times this season on a track that size, including preliminary features. Winners include Donny Schatz (I-55 Raceway, Grandview Speedway) and Daryn Pittman (Eagle Raceway).

* ON TELEVISION: The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on June 14 the finale from Williams Grove Speedway that ran on May 27. The Outdoor Channel is available nationwide through the DISH Network (Channel 153) and DIRECTV (Channel 606).

* UP NEXT: The exciting month of June continues with the conclusion Saturday of the Eagle Nationals at Eagle Raceway near Lincoln, Neb. Then the Mean 15 will head north for a stop at The Raceway @ Powercom Park in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin on June 14. June 17-18 will take the Outlaws to Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, North Dakota. After being postponed by rain earlier in the season, the series makes its first appearance of the year at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa on June 23-24.

-woo-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Kevin Swindell , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Sammy Swindell , Craig Dollansky , Brian Carlson , Brooke Tatnell , Daryn Pittman , Dean Jacobs , Joey Saldana , Paul McMahan , Jac Haudenschild , Wayne Johnson , Chad Kemenah
Teams Williams