CALISTOGA, CA -- The fall World of Outlaws (WoO) California swing has been good to Daryn Pittman. The 24 year-old Oklahoman will be looking to add another WoO victory when the series kicks off seven nights of action on California soil Friday with...
CALISTOGA, CA -- The fall World of Outlaws (WoO) California swing has been good to Daryn Pittman. The 24 year-old Oklahoman will be looking to add another WoO victory when the series kicks off seven nights of action on California soil Friday with the 11th annual Harvest Classic at Calistoga Speedway.
In his last two late summer trips into the Golden State, Pittman has won a Gold Cup preliminary feature in 2000, and last year, he won the Harvest Classic finale, which earned him a cool $20,000.
"I guess California has been pretty good to me the last few years," said Pittman, who currently ranks fourth in the WoO standings. "Calistoga is a great racetrack and I've always liked it since my first time racing there in 1999. Last year, we had a great time there, and that's got all of us excited to be back this weekend."
Last August, Pittman and the Sherdon Motorsports team battled driveline problems early in the final night of the 10th Annual Harvest Classic. The crew had the #21 J&J working well in 30-lap "A" feature as Pittman raced right to the front from his seventh starting position and into third place by the second lap. He was in second place ten laps later and quickly reached the back bumper of leader Brad Furr before the track began taking rubber. Pittman challenged Furr, but wasn't able to take the lead until Furr blew a tire with less than five laps to remaining.
"I know we had one of the fastest cars on the track and I really believe if the track wouldn't have taken rubber that we would have passed Brad," recalled Pittman. "I had a little softer tire on, so once the rubber started coming in I had to back off. He had a problem and we took advantage of it."
The half-mile track, which sits in the scenic wine country of California, is a great fit for Pittman. " It's big. It's fast and normally has a good top and bottom groove. Rarely the races end up being a follow the leader deal. The speed and other attributes of the track just suit our program really well."
Confidence is still strong for the Sherdon Motorsports team following a grueling month of action. They started August on fire winning consecutive World of Outlaws "A" features -- first at KC Raceway and then at Beaver Dam Raceway. On August 9th, Pittman won the biggest race of his career pocketing $100,000 for winning the Historical Big One at Eldora Speedway. Following the Big One victory, they had a promising Knoxville Nationals end on a down note (a packed right rear cost him a top ten finish) before heading west for races in Kansas, Colorado and Washington.
"Everybody is still really upbeat right now," said Pittman following his fourth place finish on Tuesday night at Cottage Grove Speedway. "We've been racing good, but we just haven't been in position to win a race. I don't think we've fallen off in performance. The circumstances just haven't been in our favor to start in the spots that we need to. We're plenty capable of picking up a few more wins in a row here. My guys have been working really hard and there's still a lot of momentum with this team."
Pittman heads to Calistoga with consecutive top five finishes, and his performance last Saturday in Elma, WA, had everyone excited as he charged from the 16th starting position and came home fifth. Racing well in the feature hasn't been a problem for Pittman this year, but the reigning World Series Sprintcar champion knows with the format of a three-night program that he'll have to be strong every time he has the #21 Hop & Sack/Mopar/ Gaerte/ J&J on the track.
"Hopefully, we can do a little better this year in our qualifying programs," said Pittman, who was eighth in points following the two qualifying programs at Calistoga last August. "Our goal for the weekend is to be locked into Sunday night's dash, which would mean we were in the top four overall. To do that, we'll need to get our qualifying program back to the point where we are regularly qualifying in fifth or better. You've got to be good every time you hit the track. All we want is a chance on Sunday night, and I'm confident we can make that happen."
Following the weekend's Harvest Classic, the team is scheduled to compete on Tuesday night at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, CA, before traveling to Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, CA, where Pittman will be in action both Friday and Saturday night.