Battle Lines Set At Williams Grove After Rahmer Edges Schatz In World of Outlaws Prelim Mechanicsburg, PA -- May 26, 2006 -- After round one at Williams Grove Speedway on Friday night, two heavyweights were left standing in the World of Outlaws...
Battle Lines Set At Williams Grove After Rahmer Edges Schatz In World of Outlaws Prelim
Mechanicsburg, PA -- May 26, 2006 -- After round one at Williams Grove Speedway on Friday night, two heavyweights were left standing in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series two-day event.
In one corner, representing the Pennsylvania Posse, it was Fred Rahmer in the Miller Brothers J&J, who picked up a thrilling win in the preliminary feature, passing Schatz with three to go.
In the other corner, representing the Mean 15, it was Donny Schatz in the ParkerStore J&J, the current points leader who was just inches and 0.16 seconds away from picking up yet another win at the famed half-mile oval.
Both drivers, along with Mark Smith in the Zemco Tool & Die Maxim and Doug Esh in the Kinard Trucking J&J, are locked into the 10-car dash on Saturday night. Daryn Pittman rounded out the top five in his Titan Garages & Carports Maxim after starting the feature in 12th on the grid.
Add in Lance Dewease (sixth) and Todd Hestor (10th) to back up the Posse with Mean 15 driver Brooke Tatnell (eighth) and Terry McCarl's car driven by Tim Shaffer (ninth) and the main event has all the makings of a Battle Royale.
Rahmer began the night on the pole by virtue of winning the dash, though he did not take the lead until lap 23 of the 25-lap A-main. Donny Schatz powered to the lead in Turn 4 on the first lap and built on that lead at the midway point of the race.
Schatz was setting a torrid pace when he caught heavy traffic. That helped Rahmer close the gap, but first he had to slide around Mark Smith before he could target on Schatz. Rahmer kept his car locked to the bottom of the track, which produced wicked fast speeds all night.
Schatz was not going to go down without a fight, and made a valiant effort on the last lap, as he pulled along side Rahmer coming off the fourth turn, and finished 0.158 seconds behind.
"I was messing around there on the bottom," said Rahmer, of Salfordville, Pa. "Obviously Donny is a real good racer here. I just got lucky. Those lapped cars played in my favor. We've been on the short end of that stick, so tonight it was good to get on the other end."
Rahmer knew he was in for a battle all night long with Schatz starting near the front of the field. Schatz has five career wins at the track.
"The way I went through three and four, I knew he would be coming," Rahmer said. "I was trying to crowd him down and got lucky. I'm proud to win, and I respect Donny."
Schatz, who has four main-event wins this season, tops on the World of Outlaws trail, viewed the night as a learning experience for Saturday night's feature. Though he strives to win every night out, Schatz was not upset to finish second to the driver who has the most career wins in Williams Grove history.
"The guy that wins the first night, doesn't always win the second night," said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. "Fred beat me, that's all you can say. He did a better job than I did in traffic. To finish first, you have to first finish. We had a good enough race car, and they didn't beat my race team, they beat me tonight."
Schatz was the fourth quickest qualifier on the night, as well as picking up a second-place run in his heat, and a third-place in the dash, along with leading 22 laps on the night.
Midway through the event, it looked as if it would be Mark Smith who challenged Schatz for the lead, but Rahmer caught-and-passed him quickly in traffic.
"When you're locked in these shows for the following night, it's always good, because then you can kind of relax and kick back a little bit," Smith said. "We'll just do our normal maintenance and see if we can get it better for tomorrow."
Doug Esh also represented the Posse very well, coming home with a solid top-five finish. More importantly, his fourth place run locked him into Saturday night's dash.
"We've been pretty good here on a weekly basis," Esh said. "We had another good time-trial lap and timed where we wanted to, in ninth. To start fourth in the dash and finish there was good. We are locked in for tomorrow and that is a good deal for the team. We have to get just a little bit better. We are pretty close, but if we get better, I think we will have something for them. Tomorrow is a new day."
Daryn Pittman rallied from some trouble in his heat race and qualified for the feature through the B-main to eventually finish fifth in the 25-lapper.
"I think we definitely had a top four car and should have gotten locked in, if things would have gone right," said Pittman, a native of Owasso, Okla., who had the third-fastest car in time trials. "We had a mistake and the nozzle line fell off in the heat. We have a great race, but mistakes do happen. The car was great and we got all that we could. We have to show back up tomorrow and be on a level playing field with everyone tomorrow night and requalify. We'll see how it goes."
Many drivers' spend a lifetime coming to Williams Grove and never feel a comfort level at it. With another solid run, Pittman appears to be right on par with the legendary track, and looks to be one of the drivers that will stand tall for the Mean 15 on Saturday night.
"I think we are pretty good here," Pittman said. "Last year, we didn't qualify well here, but we raced great. I think tonight we were one of the best three cars. I've got a lot of confidence coming in here and that's a hard to do to come into Williams Grove with confidence. Right now we feel awfully good, and hopefully we'll keep this going as long as we can."
Tatnell, in the No. 8 Race Outfitters/Castrol Eagle, wants to win everytime he sits in his racecar, but he realizes that before wins can come at Williams Grove, he has to feel more comfortable at the track. After his eighth-place finish, he certainly looked acclimated with the track.
"This is a place that I do not have a handle on," Tatnell said. "I'm never happy with eighth. I'm never happy with second or third. Our eighth place tonight though was probably as good as any second place finishes we've had this year. We definitely learned something and I think we are starting to come to grips with this place. It's just a combination of finding what we need. We're reasonably happy."
If round one was an indication, the action will be fast and furious on Saturday night, and look for the Mean 15 to give the Posse all that they handle on their home turf.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series is brought to the fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire and The Outdoor Channel. Promotional Partners include AMB i.t. and The University of Northwestern Ohio. Associate sponsors are ButlerBuilt Motorsports Equipment, Maxim Racing, RacinSoles and Snap-on. Contingency sponsors include DART Machinery, MSD Ignitions and Wrisco Industries.
WILLIAMS GROVE SPEEDWAY NOTEBOOK
FAST QUALIFIER: Craig Keel paced the 49-car field with a lap around the 1/2-mile oval in 16.821 seconds. Williams Grove Speedway is a semi-banked 1/2 mile oval and Brian Paulus holds the track record at 16.140 seconds.
QUALIFYING EVENT WINNERS: Stevie Smith won the first heat. Jac Haudenschild won the second heat. Lance Dewease scored a win for the Posse in the third heat, as did T.J. Stutts in the final heat. In the dash Fred Rahmer picked up the win. In the "C- Main," it was Justin Henderson crossing the line first, while Craig Keel topped the "B-Main."
MAIN-EVENT WINNERS: Kevin Swindell's win Wednesday night at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway was his first World of Outlaws A-feature victory. There have now been 10 different winners in 14 race nights to visit the RacinSoles Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws this season. The win list also includes Jac Haudenschild (May 6 at U.S. 36 Raceway and May 20 at Sharon Speedway), Sammy Swindell (April 8 at Eldora Speedway and March 10 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as well as a preliminary victory April 7 at Eldora), Donny Schatz (March 9 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 31 at Batesville Speedway, April 1 at I-55 Raceway and May 16 at Grandview Speedway), Craig Dollansky (April 15 at Tri-State Speedway), Paul McMahan (March 4 at USA Race Park), Danny Lasoski (March 3 at Manzanita), Joey Saldana (Feb. 10 at Volusia) and Chad Kemenah (Feb. 9 at Volusia), Kevin Swindell (The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway).
PRELIMINARY FEATURE WINNERS: Fred Rahmer's win on Friday night was his first preliminary feature win of the World of Outlaws season, joining Sammy Swindell, who won the preliminary feature on April 7 at Eldora Speedway.
HALF-MILE WINNERS: Williams Grove Speedway is a semi-banked half-mile oval. The World of Outlaws Sprint Series has now raced eight times this season on half-mile ovals, including preliminary features. Winners include Chad Kemenah (Volusia), Joey Saldana (Volusia), Danny Lasoski (Manzanita), Donny Schatz (Las Vegas), and Sammy Swindell (Las Vegas and twice at Eldora Speedway twice), Fred Rahmer (Williams Grove Speedway in preliminary event).