Las Vegas: Hillenburg makes it two straight in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, NV (March 2) -- The rain that forced Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series officials to postpone opening night of the Fifth Annual Silver State Shootout did nothing to dampen Andy Hillenburg's spirit or cool his early-season hot streak. ...

LAS VEGAS, NV (March 2) -- The rain that forced Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series officials to postpone opening night of the Fifth Annual Silver State Shootout did nothing to dampen Andy Hillenburg's spirit or cool his early-season hot streak. Hillenburg drove his #2 Luxaire J&J past leader Donny Schatz in dense lapped traffic with 1 3/4 laps remaining Friday on his way to winning the First Preliminary Feature at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. TNN: The National Network televised the race live. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' 1988 Rookie of the Year overcame all kinds of obstacles en route to his second victory in as many races. "We packed a left rear wheel with mud on the first lap, and it was shaking so bad I could hardly see," Andy said. "Every time we got off the throttle the car got sideways and I nearly wrecked a couple of people." Defending Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series champion Steve Kinser crashed into the wall while trying to avoid Hillenburg, who turned sideways between turns three and four late in the second lap. "We got a good run there at the end," Hillenburg explained. "I think Donny was originally going to go low getting into one, but a lapped car was there. Then another one pushed up right in front of him, and it opened the door for me. It was pretty close, but we didn't touch. "This track was pretty tough with all the rain they've had lately, I don't think they could have gotten in any smoother. Randy (Grove, from Hagerstown Speedway) is the best there is. If he couldn't get it smooth, nobody can. I'm sure they'll work on it again tonight and, if we don't get any more rain, we can come back and try to get another one tomorrow night. "I can't believe we're starting this good. It seems like it usually takes us a few races to get going." Hillenburg got off to a slow start in time trials, qualifying 10th-quick among the 44 cars in the field. After barely beating Mark Kinser across the finish line in the Second O'Reilly Heat Race, he earned the right to start the Preliminary Feature inside the second row by following Jason Meyers and Schatz across the finish line in the CHANNELLOCK Dash. Meyers started on the front row for the second straight race. Schatz, who won the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' 1999 season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, took the lead with a high move between the first and second corners to take the lead within seconds after the green flag fell in the 30-lap feature. Hillenburg fell back as far as fifth place as he wrestled with his sprinter throughout the first half of the race. Keith "Diesel" Carlson and Shane Stewart dug the mud out of his right rear wheel during a 17th-lap red period. Schatz raced away from the field following the restart and was a half-straightaway ahead of Hillenburg with 10 laps remaining. Andy narrowed the gap to five car-lengths in dense lapped traffic by the 25th lap and caught the leader late in lap 28. Hillenburg took the low line into turn one and almost collided with Schatz as he passed him for the lead several seconds later. Fellow Oklahoman Danny Wood stopped on the front straightaway as the leaders took the white flag, setting up a two-lap dash to the checkered flag. Two lapped cars restarted between the leaders, enabling Hillenburg to coast to an eight-car-length victory. "I was just trying to play cautious with lapped cars," Schatz said. "It really shocked me; Andy came running through there and I hit the brakes. I think we touched wheels, but we both came out of it smelling like roses. It could have been a bad deal, but that's racing. I'm angry at myself. Andy should have never been close enough to me to bother me. I just got cautious in lapped traffic. With two cars side- by-side, you never know what they're going to do. We lost this one tonight, but there's another 102 to go so we'll be alright." Brooke Tatnell finished in third place, ahead of fast-qualifier Danny Lasoski, Brad Furr, Craig Dollansky, 22nd-starting Sammy Swindell, Joey Saldana, Jeff Shepard and Tim Shaffer. Jac Haudenschild who, along with Stevie Smith took a provisional starting positions, drove the #83 Beef Packers Eagle past 15 cars to finish in 11th place.

-WoO

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Andy Hillenburg , Tim Shaffer , Brad Furr , Mark Kinser , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Craig Dollansky , Brooke Tatnell , Jason Meyers , Jac Haudenschild