OWASSO, OK (June 26) - It's amazing what winning can do for confidence and team morale. After competing in 41 O'Reilly World of Outlaws races, most figured it was only a matter of time before Daryn Pittman would park his ...
OWASSO, OK (June 26) - It's amazing what winning can do for confidence and team morale. After competing in 41 O'Reilly World of Outlaws races, most figured it was only a matter of time before Daryn Pittman would park his #21 Sherdon Motorsports J&J in victory lane.
Last Saturday, the 24 year-old Owasso, OK native put on a dominant performance leading all 30 laps at Lakeside Speedway just outside of Kansas City and claimed his first "A" feature win of the season. Winning one night after finishing a strong second has given Pittman and the team some much needed momentum heading into this weekend's 20th annual Eagle Nationals at Eagle Raceway in Nebraska.
"Getting that first win was important, but having a second and first on consecutive nights really was a big boost," said Pittman, who currently ranks fourth in the WoO standings. "When things aren't going well, you can only point the finger at so many things. I know this team is good enough to win, so hanging together and continuing to work hard is the key. Winning is a good way to refresh your memory that you can do it and wet your appetite for more. We want to win more than we did last year (six), so we've still got plenty of work to do."
In the last seven "A" feature events, Pittman has finished in the top ten all seven times. He started the stretch with a ninth in the Duel in the Dakotas finale in North Dakota and concluded the busy week of action with a fourth place finish on Monday at Farmer City Raceway in the #21 Hop & Sack/Gaerte/Mopar J&J.
"We probably went from our worst month to hopefully turning things around," continued Pittman, the 2001 WoO Gumout Champion. "Finally, we got the chance to start on the pole and took advantage of it. At the beginning of the year, we were being pretty consistent, but just not good enough to win races. We had a stretch from late May through the first night at Fargo where we couldn't do anything right. With this series you've got to start up front and be good enough to win. At Joplin (last Friday) and Lakeside (Saturday) we were and came home with a second and first. We've just got to keep it rolling. This next six weeks is the most important time of the season."
The "next six weeks" begins with the $15,000-to-win Eagle Nationals. Pittman admits that he hasn't quite figured out the unique high-banked 3/8-mile track located in Eastern Nebraska. In fact, his best finish came in last year's Eagle Nationals second preliminary program when he raced from10th to finish fifth.
"I really like Eagle, but for some reason I haven't gotten better there, but I know my crew (Joe Gaerte, Glenno Ingliss and Bingo Jenkins) will do everything they can to give me a chance," said Pittman. "Eagle probably ranks right up there with Eldora as far as being a physically demanding racetrack. I'm going into this weekend with a really good mindset and am going to do everything I can to breakthrough and have a strong weekend."
The team has spent the week preparing for the long stretch of races that will follow the Eagle Nationals and the key for Pittman and the team is to continue their recent trend of being in contention each night.
"What we'll do from here is just start with the baseline that we usually do and try to get better every race," continued Pittman, who is the reigning Australian World Series Sprintcar Champion. "We started this season working with a new Mopar motor program, and I think we're really seeing some of the benefits. Power is key to winning and these big races in the upcoming months all require power and our Mopar should give us an advantage."
"We know that everyone is hungry to win races and we have to keep using our heads and continue to find ways to be there each night. Everything goes in cycles and we want to ride this one out as long as we can. You have to remember what got your running up front and try to keep doing it."
Both nights of the 20th annual Eagle Nationals will be aired live on Sprint Car Net beginning at 8 PM (CT).