National Open Prelim race report

Fred Rahmer, '06 Outlaws Locked In For National Open Finale After Prelim Success at Williams Grove Mechanicsburg, PA -- Sept. 30, 2005 -- For the third time this season, Fred Rahmer got the best of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series. After ...

Fred Rahmer, '06 Outlaws Locked In For National Open Finale After Prelim Success at Williams Grove

Mechanicsburg, PA -- Sept. 30, 2005 -- For the third time this season, Fred Rahmer got the best of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series.

After chasing Daryn Pittman over the first 16 laps of the National Open preliminary feature Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway, Rahmer used a strong run on a restart to slide in front in Turns 1 and 2 before making his lead stick in Turns 3 and 4. From there, Rahmer drove away to the $5,000 checkered flag in the newly painted Miller Brothers Cadillac J&J.

Pittman in the Titan Garages & Carports Maxim, defending National Open champion Donny Schatz in the ParkerStore J&J and Craig Dollansky in the VMAC/Karavan J&J -- all racers gearing up to run with the Outlaws in 2006 -- rounded out the top four and locked themselves into the next three positions in the Stacker 2 Dash that will set the top six spots for the main event Saturday.

Jason Meyers worked his way from eighth to fifth in the Elite Landscaping Maxim for his sixth consecutive top-10 finish. Lance Dewease in the Vogele JEI, Jason Sides in the Wetherington Tractor Services Maxim, Keith Kauffman in the Middlesworth Chips J&J, '06 Outlaw Terry McCarl in the Big Game Treestands Eagle and Steve Kinser in the Quaker State Maxim rounded out the top 10.

With 52 cars in the pits at one of the most intimidating half-mile speedways in the country, Pittman charged into the lead as Pennsylvania legend Rahmer moved to second by Lap 2 as Sides and Kauffman tried to fend off Schatz, Dollansky Lucas Wolfe and Meyers.

It quickly became a two-car bout with Pittman rolling along the top as Rahmer kept throwing jabs on the bottom lap after lap. Pittman absorbed all the blows but in traffic on Lap 9, Rahmer and Sides closed fast. Again, Pittman went to the top and Rahmer to the bottom as Schatz started his move forward by slipping past Kauffman to fourth.

Back-to-back cautions on Lap 16 gave Rahmer the chance he needed. Pittman and Rahmer screamed down the front-stretch in front of the packed grandstands. Rahmer pushed his machine to the inside of Pittman's car in Turn 1 and slid up in front coming off of Turn 2. Pittman tried to pull back even down the back stretch but Rahmer had the position and held on to the lead coming out of Turn 4.

With the remaining nine laps going caution free, the field stretched out as Dollansky raced into fourth and held off Meyers to become the final car locked into the Stacker 2 Dash on Saturday.

"We're lucky so far," said Rahmer, the 2005 Williams Grove track champion who won for the 31st time this season. "Hopefully we can keep it going tomorrow night. It's going to be harder again because these guys get on to it. Home-field advantage is definitely a big plus."

In essence, that was the difference. Rahmer has achieved his legendary status by knowing every inch of the Williams Grove racing surface, how it will react at different times and under changing conditions.

"Without question," Rahmer said. "I got three or four shots at it. After three or four tries, you should make something happen. The guys had the car good and hopefully we'll be able to get it good again tomorrow night. At least we don't have to qualify so we're one up because this is the toughest field of cars I've ever seen here. This is like Knoxville all condensed into one night.

"Being locked in is huge. You can go out and have some fun tonight and come back with a clear head tomorrow night. If you draw a bad time tomorrow, you could be in trouble. If you get the wrong heat race, you could be in trouble. The worse I'm going to start is sixth."

For Pittman, it just continues his incredible run toward the 2006 season with the Outlaws. In 12 races in September, Pittman won three times and finished outside the top 10 only twice.

"I was leading it and I kept looking up and seeing [Rahmer] running second and that's never the car you want to see running second here at Williams Grove," said Pittman, a Mean 15 racer and native of Owasso, Okla. "I was concerned about him but I kept telling myself if he goes by you, just stay calm and don't try to race him, just run second and be happy with that, make sure you stay in the top four because that's the main goal tonight. It doesn't pay enough to get too excited and crash to have to requalify tomorrow. I'm tickled to death we don't have to requalify. This is not my best racetrack to qualify or even race at but we've been good here all year. I think we had the best racecar tonight, I just should have moved to the bottom a little quicker. A second-place run here at Williams Grove is great for us."

Pittman has never won at Williams Grove, but after getting a taste of the lead on Friday he is determined to make it happen on Saturday.

"I was thinking about that before the race started," he said. "There is probably no place in the country besides Knoxville that I want to win at as much as I do here. I've never been that close. To be able to pull that off would definitely rank right up there, I don't care if it's a prelim or not. I'd put it right there with one of our biggest accomplishments. I'm happy with second. We don't want to get complacent, we definitely want to win, but second-place here with this field of cars is great. This is the Knoxville Nationals at Williams Grove."

As hot as Pittman has been lately, Schatz also has been keeping pace. In that same 12-race span in September, Schatz posted two victories and never finished outside the top 10. In fact, only three times did he miss the top-five.

"Freddy was good, Pittman was good," said Schatz, a Mean 15 racer from Fargo, N.D. "We just had to fight our way through there. Even though you're starting in the top eight it's tough get up there. We made up ground and if I had settled down a little bit at the end I might have had a little better chance at getting to Fred.

"All in all it was a good night. We just wanted to be locked in. We're third and I don't want to start in the front row of this deal. I definitely want to be in the second row and race our way to the front. If you're good enough you're going to get there, if you're not you're not going to win it. We're going to get some good hot lap sessions and we'll see what happens. -- To have three J&Js in the top four is pretty cool. They've always had a great racecar out here, they roll around this place pretty good."

Dollansky, who won at Williams Grove earlier this season in a preliminary feature, wraps up September with eight top-10 finishes and a victory in a Gold Cup preliminary event as his team heats up heading into next season with the Outlaws.

"With the field of cars here at the National Open, a lot of them are capable of winning, to be locked in and not have to go through qualifying and heat races is kind of nice," said Dollansky, a Mean 15 racer from Elk River, Minn. "It doesn't get any tougher when you get out here and have to go through that process so it's good to be locked in.

"Daryn's running real well, Donny's running real good, we're coming back on and hopefully we'll get back on track and win some races down the stretch. It's going to be a heck of a race tomorrow night for 40 laps."

The Outlaws return Saturday to Williams Grove Speedway for the National Open finale in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and back across the Midwest for a two-night event Oct. 7-8 at Dodge City Raceway in Dodge City, Kan. From there the series drops Oct. 11 into Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix to complete the Cactus Classic that was rain-delayed after the preliminary feature in March. The Outlaws close out the year with a two-day show Oct. 14-15 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., and a two-day show Oct. 21-22 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

WILLIAMS GROVE NOTEBOOK

* Mechanicsburg-native Lucas Wolfe paced the 52 cars that went through time trials with an AMB i.t.-timed lap around the half-mile oval in 16.594 seconds at 108.473 mph. Brian Paulus set the record of 16.140 seconds on April 26, 2002. Terry McCarl led the Outlaws by turning the second quickest time of the night with a lap in 16.628 seconds at 108.251 mph. Kevin Swindell was third quick with a 16.663-second lap at 108.024 mph.

* Fred Rahmer's victory Friday night was his second preliminary feature win of the season with the Outlaws. He also won the Summer Nationals crown July 23 and picked up a preliminary feature win in the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 10. -- Steve Kinser has a series-leading 19 A-feature victories and six preliminary feature wins this season. -- There have been 17 different A-feature winners this season. Including preliminary features, 22 different drivers have visited Victory Lane this season with the Outlaws. -- Donny Schatz's victory Tuesday night at K-C Raceway was his seventh of the season, second-most this year with the Outlaws. -- Kraig Kinser captured the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 14 for his sixth A-feature victory of the season. He also has a preliminary feature win at Las Vegas. -- Jason Meyers earned his fourth win of the season July 2 at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D. -- Tim Shaffer's victory July 19 in the Silver Cup was his third of the season, going with wins Lake Ozark Speedway and Thunderbowl Raceway. -- Craig Dollansky has two A-feature victories and three preliminary feature wins. -- Brian Paulus won June 28 at Huset's Speedway for his second victory of the season, and picked up a preliminary feature win in the following race at Red River Valley Speedway. -- Brooke Tatnell has two A-feature victories, winning at Cedar Lake and Fulton speedways, as well as a preliminary feature win at Princeton Speedway. -- Sammy Swindell won his second A-feature of the season June 4 at Eldora Speedway. Swindell also has a preliminary feature win April 8 at Eldora and Aug. 14 at Knoxville Raceway in the Nationals' non-qualifiers event. -- Danny Lasoski won Aug. 30 at Cottage Grove Speedway and has three preliminary feature wins. -- Single-event winners include Jac Haudenschild on Aug. 5 at Eldora Speedway, Stevie Smith July 13 at Attica Raceway Park, Tim Kaeding June 11 at Sheboygan County Fair Park, Chad Kemenah July 9 at I-55 Raceway, and Jeff Shepard Feb. 11 at Volusia Speedway Park. -- In preliminary features, Joey Saldana, Paul McMahan, Jason Johnson and Shane Stewart have each won once.

* Including preliminary features, the series has raced 35 times this year on half-mile circuits with Steve Kinser winning nine times (Volusia, Eldora three times, Knoxville, Williams Grove, Hartford, Red River Valley and Calistoga), Sammy Swindell winning four times (twice at Eldora, once at Hagerstown and Knoxville), Kraig Kinser winning three times (Las Vegas and twice at Knoxville), Donny Schatz winning three times (Las Vegas, Route 66 Raceway, Calistoga), Craig Dollansky winning twice (Manzanita and Williams Grove), Jason Meyers winning twice (Granite City and Red River Valley), Fred Rahmer winning three times (Williams Grove twice and Knoxville), Danny Lasoski winning twice (Knoxville and Calistoga), and Daryn Pittman (Jackson), Brian Paulus (Red River Valley), Jeff Shepard (Volusia), Jason Johnson (Williams Grove), Paul McMahan (Williams Grove), Jac Haudenschild (Eldora) and Shane Stewart (Knoxville) each winning once.

* Drivers who have raced to victory in preliminary features this season include (in alphabetical order) Craig Dollansky three times (Manzanita/Williams Grove/Silver Dollar), Jason Johnson once (Williams Grove), Kraig Kinser once (Las Vegas), Steve Kinser six times (Eagle twice/Billings/Elma/Calistoga/Silver Dollar), Danny Lasoski three times (Australia/Knoxville/Calistoga), Fred Rahmer twice (Knoxville/Williams Grove), Kerry Madsen once (Australia), Paul McMahan once (Williams Grove), Brian Paulus once (Red River Valley), Joey Saldana once (Lernerville), Shane Stewart once (Knoxville), Brooke Tatnell once (Princeton), Sammy Swindell twice (Eldora/Knoxville).

* In the Stacker 2® Dash and the second Dash that set the top six rows for the main event, Daryn Pittman earned the pole Keith Kauffman picked up the outside pole. Kauffman was later moved back a row for being late to the staging area before the A-main.

* After one false start in the B-main, Terry McCarl went to the top and led flag-to-flag with Kevin Swindell, Steve Kinser and Tim Shaffer all advancing to the main event. Brandon Wimmer and Dale Blaney advanced to the rear of the B-main by finishing in the top two spots in the C-main.

* In the first heat race, Greg Hodnett slid up in front of Jason Solwold in Turns 1 and 2 and opened a huge lead as Jason Meyers worked the low groove to secure third. That left Daryn Pittman to hold off fast-qualifier Lucas Wolfe for the fourth and fifth transfer spots.

* In the second heat race, Doug Esh powered to victory with Mark Smith, Craig Dollansky, Todd Hestor and Jason Sides racing to the remaining transfer spots.

* In the third heat race, Brooke Tatnell outdueled Kraig Kinser for the lead on the first lap and pulled away to victory. Kinser, Fred Rahmer, Jason Johnson and Brian Leppo earned the final transfer spots.

* The fourth heat race featured some of the winningest drivers in the history of sprint car racing, including Kenny Jacobs and Chad Kemenah in the front row, Donny Schatz and Lance Dewease in the second row, and Keith Kauffman and Steve Kinser in the third row. In the end, Jacobs darted out to the lead motored to victory with Donny Schatz, Chad Kemenah, Lance Dewease and Keith Kaufmann also transferring.

* In the D-main, Jeff Shepard held off Stevie Smith after a wheel-to-wheel battle to pick up the victory. Chad Layton and Dave Ely earned the other two transfer spots to the back of the C-main.

* The Outlaws return Saturday to Williams Grove Speedway for the National Open finale in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and back across the Midwest for a two-night event Oct. 7-8 at Dodge City Raceway in Dodge City, Kan. From there the series drops Oct. 11 into Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix to complete the Cactus Classic that was rain-delayed after the preliminary feature in March. The Outlaws close out the year with a two-day show Oct. 14-15 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., and a two-day show Oct. 21-22 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

* The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. Eastern on Oct. 5 the event from The Raceway at Powercom Park, followed by the National Open from Williams Grove Speedway on Oct. 12.

-woo-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Kevin Swindell , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Craig Dollansky , Kenny Jacobs , Brian Paulus , Brooke Tatnell , Daryn Pittman , Jason Meyers , Jason Sides , Joey Saldana , Kerry Madsen , Kraig Kinser , Paul McMahan , Shane Stewart , Lucas Wolf , Jac Haudenschild , Chad Kemenah , Tim Kaeding , Jason Johnson
Teams Williams