Talladega: Final report

'Dude' regains points lead with Talladega sweep. TALLADEGA, AL (April 20) - "If you didn't like that race, you're not a race fan. That's what the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series is all about. Man, what a race!" Danny Lasoski yelled to the...

'Dude' regains points lead with Talladega sweep.

TALLADEGA, AL (April 20) - "If you didn't like that race, you're not a race fan. That's what the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series is all about. Man, what a race!" Danny Lasoski yelled to the sellout crowd at the Talladega Short Track Saturday after completing a double-feature sweep that pushed him back into first place in the point standings.

Lasoski collected $12,000 for winning one of the most exciting races in the series' 24-plus-year history; a 40-lap classic that featured at least 20 passes for the lead. "The Dude" drove NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart's #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle under the checkered flag less than a car-length ahead of Donny Schatz, who led all or parts of 26 laps.

"This Eagle car and these Hoosier tires worked great tonight," Lasoski said. "My crew chief, Jimmy Carr, told me he'd get me locked down on the bottom. He said, 'don't worry if they go around you on the top, just stick down there and you'll be alright.'"

Lasoski's fourth "A" Feature victory of the season pushed him two points ahead of Steve Kinser in the point standings. Mark Kinser, who ranked first for several weeks, fell to third place with a 10th-place finish, but is only two points behind "The King of the Outlaws."

Lasoski, who followed Shane Stewart across the finish line in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash, burst into the lead from outside the front row as the green flag fell in the main event. Schatz drove the #15 Parker Stores J&J past Steve Kinser during the opening lap, then passed Stewart for second place in the low groove between the turns one and two the next time around.

Schatz caught "The Dude" early in the fifth lap, raced wheel-to-wheel with him down the back straightaway and took the lead high in the fourth corner. Schatz was two car-lengths ahead of Lasoski when they entered lapped traffic during lap eight.

"The Dude" chased Schatz for 15 laps before catching him late in 20th lap. Lasoski regained the lead deep in turn four one lap later, only to have the 1997 Rookie of the Year pass him in the high groove between the first and second corners several seconds later.

Lasoski came back with an inside move in the same spot to retake first place early in lap 25, but the relentless Schatz pulled off another pass for the lead high between turns one and two.

Stewart lost third place and temporarily slowed the fast-paced race early in the 29th lap when he spun in the second corner.

Schatz controlled the ensuing restart as Steve Kinser challenged Lasoski for second place. "The King of the Outlaws" passed Lasoski deep in turn three late in the 30th lap, only to have "The Dude" come back with an inside pass in the fourth corner three laps later.

Schatz, Lasoski and Kinser were nose-to-tail when they caught the back-markers with 7 ½ laps remaining. They raced three-abreast for the lead through dense lapped traffic in turn three late in the 38th lap, but no positions changed.

"The Dude" continued to battle Schatz before pulling off the winning pass in the low groove between turns three and four with 1 1/3 laps remaining. Schatz raced with Lasoski through the second corner and down the back straightaway, but was unable to surge ahead.

"I just had some problems with traffic right at the end," Schatz said. "I kept getting beside the #U2 (Paul McMahan) and the #29 (Wayne Johnson). They kept wanting to try to pass me back, and then Danny just got by me again on the bottom.

"We struggled at the beginning of the season, but Kenny (Woodruff) and Shane (Anderson) have worked really hard, and maybe I've been lacking a little bit on my performance. Now that the weather's getting warmer, we're getting back on track. We really need to get that first win to feel completely better. I thought I had it tonight."

Kinser, who won in his third International Race of Champions race at the Talladega Superspeedway in 1994, thought he had several chances to win the classic race as well.

"I got up to second, and thought maybe I had a shot at (to win), but then I got hung up by a lapped car, and Danny got back by me," he said. "I might have had another shot, but it seems like we just all went for the same spot getting into turn three, and I couldn't make any kind of a move.

"We've been pretty fast all year, especially at the beginning of the season. Right now, we're maybe a little slower than we'd like to be, but I still think we're one of the cars to beat any night, and we'll just keep plugging along and see what happens."

Brad Furr finished in fourth place, ahead of fast-qualifier Tim Shaffer, Craig Dollansky, Johnny Herrera, 13th-starting Craig Keel, Joey Saldana and Mark Kinser.

The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series will run a single-program event at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, KS, Wednesday, then race at Knoxville Raceway Friday and Saturday.

-WoO

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Brad Furr , Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Craig Dollansky , Paul McMahan , Shane Stewart , Johnny Herrera