Pittman Looks to Repeat at Gold Cup Daryn Pittman made history last season when he won the 53rd Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California. He led all 40 laps on the high-banked quarter-mile to become the ...
Pittman Looks to Repeat at Gold Cup
Daryn Pittman made history last season when he won the 53rd Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California. He led all 40 laps on the high-banked quarter-mile to become the first driver in the storied history of the event to earn $50,000 for being victorious. It was the highest payday in the history of the event.
This season the 54th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions will again pay $50,000-to-win and Pittman is ready to hit the track and see if he can earn his second Gold Cup title. The event kicks off for the World of Outlaws on Thursday, September 6 with the first of two qualifying nights that will split the field in half, with qualifying points earned over the first two nights, determining the lineups for the features on Saturday night.
"We're excited to head to Chico," said Pittman, driver of the Titan Garages Maxim. "I've always liked going there, even before we won. We will go back and try to repeat. We'll try to have another good showing and they keep putting up good money. It's always fun to go race for 50-grand."
Pittman enters the Gold Cup having won a number of big events in his career, including the Historical Big One at Eldora Speedway (in 2003), which earned him $100,000, as well as the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway (in 2006), and he ranks his Gold Cup win last season right up there as one of the biggest, if not the biggest win of his career. While he earned a record $50,000 for the win last season, it is the tradition of the event which began back in 1951 that adds even more luster to the victory. With five other former winners of the event entered this season, Pittman notes just how tough the competition will be. Last season 105 cars competed in the event.
"That's one of the races you want to win period," he said. "To have it pay more than it ever had in the past, made it that much better. The money is always a good thing after the fact, but we're all competitors and want to win in general. There will be a lot of good cars and it will be even tougher this year. We'll have our work cut out for us."
Pittman heads into the Gold Cup at the high-banked ¼-mile Silver Dollar Speedway with four A-Feature wins on the season, with the most recent coming at Nodak Speedway in Minot, North Dakota on August 14. He also won the ¼-mile at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Arkansas earlier in the season and finished fifth last week at Cottage Grove Speedway in Oregon in the World of Outlaws most recent event on a ¼-mile track.
"The track conditions dictate a lot how demanding the race will be," explained the native of Owasso, Oklahoma. "Normally come A-Main time it's not too physically demanding. It will probably slick up to a big curb and you just have to get through traffic. Forty laps is good and it could even be 50 on that small of a track. It's normally a really good race track."
As the World of Outlaws wrap up the Gold Rush Tour for 2007, before heading back to the Midwest for three events in a five-day period next week, Pittman planned to take a couple of days to do some sightseeing while in California. With the always demanding schedule that the World of Outlaws contest, it is vital to take advantage of days away from the track to unwind, especially for the crew members, who put in countless hours maintaining the race cars and driving from track to track.
"The whole time of the year after Knoxville is a lot of fun," Pittman said. "Going to Chico is always fun. We'll watch the 360's on Wednesday and have an off night to spectate everyone else, which is also a lot of fun. We'll probably go and spend a day in San Francisco after Calistoga and that is always enjoyable. We'll find a day or two to occupy our time and have some fun."
Pittman will take to the track for the first time in the 54th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions on Friday night. Each time he takes to the track, he will earn points that will determine where he will line up on Saturday night in the 40-lap finale. Last season, he turned the fastest lap in time trials on the second qualifying night with 62 cars timing in. He followed that up with a strong finish in his heat race and a third-place performance in the preliminary feature that night to earn the most overall event points, and thus put himself on the pole position for the 40-lap A-Feature where he went on to lead all 40 laps.
"I run Friday again this year and it worked out pretty well doing that last year," he said. "We'll just try to repeat. Sometimes it's better to go the first night and know what your points are and knowing that you did all you could on the first night and watch the second. We'll just do out best."
With the season quickly winding down, Pittman finds himself locked in a tight battle for the third position in the championship points. He is currently sixth in the standings on the strength of 41 Top-10 finishes, and is just five points out of the fifth spot and six points out of fourth. The four drivers who are third through sixth in the standings are separated by just 94 total points. Pittman has one simple goal, after finishing fourth in points last season, which matched a career-best finish.
"Anything other than third in points will be a disappointment to be honest," Pittman stated. "I think we should get two or three more wins as well. We've been fast, we just have had some bad luck that has hurt us and taken away some good finishes. We've finished fourth twice and would like to better that and finish third. We are in some pretty tough company, with the guys we are battling right now. To win races and to finish third in points is our main goal right now."