Pittman Looks to Repeat at Manzanita Speedway Phoenix, AZ& -- March 2, 2007 -- Winning can change a lot of things. Before last fall, Daryn Pittman never really got very excited to head to Manzanita Speedway. He always enjoyed being in the...
Pittman Looks to Repeat at Manzanita Speedway
Phoenix, AZ& -- March 2, 2007 -- Winning can change a lot of things. Before last fall, Daryn Pittman never really got very excited to head to Manzanita Speedway. He always enjoyed being in the Arizona desert, due to the warm weather, and he marveled at the history of the track, but he never had the best of luck when he took to the famed half-mile.
After a dominating performance on October 20 of last year, that saw him lead all 30 laps, wire-to-wire after winning the dash to earn the pole position, he is ready to return to the track on the corner of 35th and Broadway in Phoenix to see if he can return to Victory Lane on Saturday March 3 in the Cactus Classic.
"Manzanita has always been a tough place to run at," said Pittman, driver of the Titan Garages Maxim. "We have some confidence going back. I'm definitely looking forward to going back and seeing if we can repeat."
Pittman, a native of Owasso, Oklahoma has started the season very solidly, as he capped off the 36th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals with a win on February 11 at Volusia Speedway Park. It was his first win at the half-mile, and has him primed to return to Manzanita Speedway.
"After winning at Volusia we feel like we are going pretty good right now on the big race tracks," he said. "I'm definitely looking forward to it."
When comparing Manzanita Speedway to Volusia Speedway Park, Pittman smiles and shakes his head. He finished ninth in the spring race last year at Manzanita on his way to a fourth-place finish in the championship points.
"The only similarity between Manzanita and Volusia is that they are fast," explained Pittman. "Manzanita is a little bit racier. I think it's a little bit easier to pass guys than it is at Volusia. Every race track is a little different in its own right."
With car counts hovering around 45 machines per event this season, Pittman knows the importance of being fast every time he takes to the track, whether for hot laps, time trials, a heat race, the dash, or the A-Feature. With nearly 30 cars traveling full-time with the World of Outlaws, the level of competition is as high as it has ever been.
"You have to be on top of your game every night out here this year," said the 2001 World of Outlaws Gumout Series Champion. "It's going to be brutally tough and you definitely have to get qualified in the right spot and give yourself a chance to start as close to the front as you can."
With his early season win, the always optimistic driver is tied for the fourth spot in the championship points, only 44 points out of the lead. In five races, he has recorded three Top-10 finishes, and is gearing up for the bulk of the World of Outlaws schedule.
"It's huge for any team to get a win right out of the box," shared Pittman, who finished in the Top-10 in all four races in Arizona last year, including three of those finishes in the Top-Five. "That gives everyone confidence and keeps the car owner's happy and the sponsors happy. It helped us out for a couple of weeks, but we have raced since then, so it is kind of forgotten. Every time you show you are looking for the next one."
With his dominating win last October, Pittman added his name to an illustrious list of winners at the storied Manzanita Speedway. In World of Outlaws action, 20-time Champion Steve Kinser, has won at the track a series-best nine times. Also, reigning series Champion Donny Schatz has been victorious at the half-mile, as has 2001 Champion Danny Lasoski, and three-time Champion Sammy Swindell. Other legends of open wheel racing that have graced Victory Lane at Manzanita include: Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Al Unser Jr., Al Unser Sr., and Bobby Unser.
"Manzanita is definitely a track that has a lot of history," Pittman said. "A lot people have won and raced there over the years. Besides Knoxville (Raceway) and Williams Grove (Speedway) that place is close behind in terms of prestige. We're able to say that we have won a World of Outlaws race at Manzanita and there are only a handful of guys that can say that."