POWER SURGE: Haudenschild Slides To World of Outlaws Sprint Series Win At Powercom Park Jac Haudenschild certainly did not forget how to win at The Raceway at Powercom Park. It had been a while since he won at the track -- 1998 to be exact. On...
POWER SURGE: Haudenschild Slides To World of Outlaws Sprint Series Win At Powercom Park
Jac Haudenschild certainly did not forget how to win at The Raceway at Powercom Park. It had been a while since he won at the track -- 1998 to be exact. On Wednesday night, the driver of the Wright One Construction Maxim posted his second World of Outlaws Sprint Series feature win at the racy 1/3-mile oval and his third victory overall this season.
Haudenschild looked for a way around pole-sitter Donny Schatz and the ParkerStore J&J in the early going and finally found the opening he needed on Lap 28 of the 40-lap event. Haudenschild slid around Schatz in traffic on the low side. Schatz fought back, giving it everything he had in the closing laps. Twice he pulled up to Haudenschild's back bumper despite battling a broken torsion stop on his machine.
Haudenschild used a couple of late restarts to show off the horsepower in his Paul Kistler motor and secure the victory with Schatz in second. Craig Dollansky was third in the Karavan Trailers Maxim, with Daryn Pittman in the Titan Garages & Carports Maxim and Sammy Swindell in the Big Game Treestands Eagle rounding out the top five.
"The car felt good tonight," said Haudenschild, of Wooster, Ohio, whose first victory with crew chief Bonzai Bruns also came at Powercom in 1998. "It was a real good race track. It feels very good to win a race. We ran in traffic most of the race and the car felt good in it. The guys had this car running very good."
For Haudenschild, it was his first win of the year on a 1/3-mile track. His previous two victories came at U.S. 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo., and Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio, both 3/8-mile tracks. He now has 43 career World of Outlaws A-feature wins, which puts him ninth place all-time, only three wins out of the eighth spot.
Haudenschild is known for running the high line, but on Wednesday night he used a move on the low side in traffic to make the winning pass. He certainly used every inch of the track early in the race, as he looked high and low, far and wide, for a way around Schatz. For the first 27 laps, he shadowed the current championship points leader, plotting when and where he would make his move.
"The cushion was a little rough out there in Turns 1 and 2, but the rest of the track was pretty smooth," Haudenschild said. "It was a real nice race track."
A flip by Chad Blonde on Lap 15 led to an open red flag period. After restarting with a car between him and Schatz, Haudenschild quickly disposed of the slower car and again set his sights on the leader.
"We changed the car around a little bit during the red and got it a little bit better," Haudenschild said.
With 12 top-five finishes this season, second only to Schatz, Haudenschild and his team are clicking on all cylinders. Though he has never won at half-mile Red River Valley Speedway -- where the World of Outlaws will battle the All Star Circuit of Champions as well as the Northern Outlaw Sprint Association in the Duel in the Dakotas on Friday and Saturday -- he has run well there in the past and knows what it will take to find victory lane at the high-speed, high-banked half-mile.
"We feel real good going to Fargo," Haudenschild said. "We'll head that way, and hopefully we can get a win there too."
Schatz's runner-up finish was his series leading 15th top-five as the North Dakota native returns home to compete at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo. He led the first 27 laps on Wednesday, giving him a series-high 139 laps led this season. He also won the dash to earn the top starting spot in the 40-lap event.
"I'd be lying to you if I told you we felt good," Schatz said. "We have a problem somewhere and the race car is not rolling like it should. I guess that's the way it goes. We've had a good racecar for a while. Now we just have to find out what is wrong. We have a problem to fix."
Schatz continued his astounding streak of finishes at the front of the field dating back to May 24 at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In that span, Schatz has not finished worse than seventh.
"I think we were good enough to win the race," Schatz said, who despite all of his success this season started from the pole for the first time in 2006. "I got myself caught in lapped traffic. We had a right front torsion stop break and had the car drop down. We got lucky to get another red flag to work on it. It's a points night, and that's not where we want to be. What can you say, it's over with."
Schatz knows that going into Red River Valley Speedway, the crowd will be behind him, which comes with added pressure to win.
"I was trying to win the race, that's what I'm here for," Schatz said. "I was not going to settle back and finish second. Winning is what pays the bills here. We just have to keep focusing on winning. The guys keep working hard to fix everything. We'll get it."
Craig Dollansky continued his strong run of top-five finishes by finishing third for the third consecutive night. In fact, since picking up his second win of the season on June 3 at Eldora Speedway, the native of Elk River, Minn., has finished third or better.
After setting quick time in qualifying, Dollansky was fifth in the dash and battled not only the frontrunners, but also lapped traffic as the leaders set a blistering pace on the 1/3-mile.
"We needed the race to go close to non-stop or get into lapped traffic," Dollansky said. "We got a little bit loose the last 15 laps. We got up there to third and it was a good run for the Karavan team."
The race was a homecoming of sorts for Dollansky's team, which is based nearby The Raceway at Powercom Park. Many fans in the stands were cheering for Dollansky's No. 7 machine and waiting in the pit area after the checkered flag waved to talk to the always cordial driver.
"We have a lot of great friends and fans around here," Dollansky said. "It's great to have a good run here. We would have loved to have picked up a win for everyone, but we came up a couple spots short. We'll get ready to go to Fargo. We feel real good about things right now. The racecar is working well. We've had good success up there and we always enjoy going there."
Daryn Pittman, coming off of a sweep at the Eagle Nationals, was fourth on Wednesday after gaining a couple of spots late in the race.
"We got better the longer the race went," Pittman said. "That seems to be typical for us, we seem to run better on longer runs. It was a good finish for us. Obviously, not a win but another top-five. It was a good points night, and we need to start separating ourselves a little bit if we can. All in all, it was a good night."
Pittman is eager to get to Fargo and compete on another fast half-mile. Having picked up that elusive first win of the season at the Eagle Nationals, he has plenty of momentum on his side.
"We've been very steady," Pittman said. "We're looking forward to getting back to Fargo. I feel like we still have a little bit of work to do on some half-mile stuff. We have some stuff that we are getting better at. That will be a good test before we go to Knoxville."
Sammy Swindell, filling in for the injured Terry McCarl in the Big Game Treestands Eagle, worked his way from the 13th to finish fifth. Swindell won the B-Main to transfer to the 40-lap feature.
"We found a few things with the car that made it a lot better," Swindell said. "It's a new car and we have been searching a little bit for it. We found a couple of things that we put on after the B-Main. We didn't have time to do it before then. It was kind of a shot in the dark, and we didn't have time to try everything. It was fast though. Terry has a good car. We just have to get a few things sorted out and get in the right place."
Swindell, a three-time World of Outlaws Champion, was pleased with his run, but like a true racer lamented on what could have been.
"Not making it through the heat hurt us," Swindell said. "We had to start in the back of the feature. I think if we would have started up front we would have gained a few more spots. I don't know if we could have won, but we could have been in the top-three."
Joey Saldana finished sixth in the Mopar-powered Dodge/Curb Records JEI, followed by All Star Circuit of Champions points leader Greg Wilson in the All-Star Plumbing Maxim. Randy Hannagan was eighth in the Penthouse Maxim with rookie Justin Henderson in the Jolt Energy Gum Protected By Data Dots Schnee and Chad Kemenah in the Underground Utilities Inc. Eagle rounding out the top-10.
After packing up at The Raceway at Powercom Park, the Mean 15 drivers head west for the Duel in the Dakotas on Friday and Saturday at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D.