Defending champ takes checkered flag at Thunderbowl Raceway
Daryn Pittman charged to his first World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series victory of the season on Friday night at Thunderbowl Raceway after a thrilling battle with polesitter Logan Schuchart.
After 22 laps, Pittman finally surged ahead of Schuchart, with Donny Schatz and Paul McMahan also motoring ahead of the rookie for podium finishes. Kerry Madsen followed his runner-up finish at Tucson with a fourth-place finish and Joey Saldana rounded out the top five.
Schuchart started the 35-lap main event from the pole at the high-banked, third-mile oval and jumped to the early lead over second starting Schatz. In the early going the battle was for third as Brad Sweet, a two-time winner this season, moved up to battle McMahan and the CJB Motorsports #51 for fourth. Sweet earned the position and immediately set his eyes on third, a position he quickly captured from Kasey Kahne Racing teammate Pittman. Schuchart continued to lead as the laps clicked away.
Pittman fired back in his Great Clips #9 car as a lapped car slowed Schatz's Tony Stewart Racing STP/Armor All #15 car. As Schuchart was faced with lapped traffic, Pittman and Schatz swept through to pass Schuchart and the race was on for the win with just 13 circuits remaining. Pittman was determined not to let the win slip away as it was his first victory since last July.
"I hated to admit how bad this has been burning me up personally and I'm sure this whole team how long it's been since we've won a race," admitted Owasso, Okla., native Pittman. "We had such a good year last year that I can't complain about anything … but we haven't won a race since July of last year. This has been the kind of voodoo place for me that I've never felt comfortable, and last year we came here and ran third and fifth and real well. To snap our non-winning streak here in Tulare, I'll tell you what, I couldn't be any happier."
On the tight track, Schatz was in constant traffic as he sought a way past Pittman.
"We weren't biding any time we were going for it. Logan was setting a really good pace and I was doing everything I could to chase him," said Schatz, a five-time series champion from Fargo, N.D. "We just needed lapped traffic to do that. We got going there and made some [spots] up there at the end."
McMahan, who had been under the weather all week, extended his championship points lead with his podium finish.
"It's been a heck of week, I've been sick all week," said the Elk Grove, Calif., native McMahan. "To come out here and put 35 laps together is pretty tough on me. The top started getting cleaned off a little bit the more cars got up there to clean it off. We were having a little problem getting off the corners with the motor stumble a little bit, but we'll get that fixed up and come back and try again tomorrow night. "
Schuchart held on to finish eighth, marking his first top-10 finish of the season.
Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion celebrating his Salute to the King tour, was seventh for his sixth top-10 in seven starts this season.
World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car touring drivers from California registered strong runs as McMahan earned the third place and Tim Kaeding who finished sixth and earned the KSE Hard Charger award picking up 11 spots in the feature event. Brad Sweet was running third until he had a motor let go forcing him off of the track.
World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series