Seeking a Sweep: Daryn Pittman Looks to Stay Unbeaten in Two States Lincoln, NE--Sept. 12, 2006 -- A win is a win. That is how most drivers feel, but some wins stick out more than others in their minds. That was exactly the case for...
Seeking a Sweep: Daryn Pittman Looks to Stay Unbeaten in Two States
Lincoln, NE--Sept. 12, 2006 -- A win is a win. That is how most drivers feel, but some wins stick out more than others in their minds. That was exactly the case for Daryn Pittman last weekend, as he picked the victory in the 53rd Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions. He picked up an event record $50,000 payday, as he bested a field of over 100 cars on the always grueling quarter-mile high-banked Silver Dollar Speedway.
Pittman aboard the Titan Garages & Carports Maxim looks to parlay that momentum into this weekend's doubleheader of racing. The action kicks off on Friday with a return trip to Eagle (Neb.) Raceway for the 1/3-mile Short Track Nationals. Then on Saturday, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series heads north to Jackson (Minn.) Speedway.
Pittman has been looking forward to returning to Eagle Raceway since the beginning of June when he swept the Eagle Nationals. In both of those nights of racing, he won the dash to earn the pole position. He also was victorious last year at Jackson Speedway.
"I have never really been all that great there (at Eagle Raceway) until this spring," said Pittman. "We've been on a roll and had some good cars. Luck was on our side the first night and we got locked in. We're just looking to go back pick up another win. We're definitely looking forward to it. It's an awesome race track, and I love to be in the Lincoln area. Hopefully we can make it three in a row at Lincoln."
Twice this season, Pittman has swept a weekend of racing. In addition to the double-dip at Eagle, he broke out the broom at Princeton (Minn.) Speedway at the end of July. Those were both two-day events, this weekend the native of Owasso, Oklahoma will have another challenge, as he looks to sweep two single-day events on successive nights.
"It's extremely tough to sweep a weekend," he said. "Donny (Schatz) was leading the first night (at Eagle) and made a rare mistake and we got by him and that doesn't happen very often. Then the second night it rubbered up and we were lucky to stay in the lead. Our guys put the right tires on. There are so many things that go into it. It's not as easy as starting on the pole and finishing up there, even though it may look that way. Our crew put us in the right position and gave us a car to go out there and win the race two days in a row."
While Eagle is only a few hours from his native state of Oklahoma, Pittman does not consider it a home track. Though he greatly enjoys going to the high-banked 1/3-mile, as well as the sprawling ½-mile at Jackson Speedway.
"Eagle has always been one of my favorite race tracks," said Pittman. "We won last year at Jackson as well so we are looking forward to going back there too. Maybe we can sweep a weekend at two different tracks."
Entering the season, Pittman knew he had one of the strongest teams in the pit area. His crew meticulously prepares the race cars for each event, and his car owner Reeve Kruck, a native of Australia, makes sure the team has everything they need to run up front. This teamwork is certainly paying off, as Pittman has finished outside the Top-10 only once since July 18, a span of 20 race nights.
"We've stayed with the plan we've had all year," said Pittman. "For the most part, we have been a very steady car. We just haven't been able to pick up quite as many wins as some other guys. Minus some bad luck and a few crashes, we have been a top-five car at most of the race tracks we have been to. There's room for improvement as there always is, but I'm definitely happy with the direction the team is going. I'm looking forward to finishing up this year on a good note and building for next year."
Pittman enters the events this weekend fourth in series points on the strength of four A-Feature wins. He also has crossed the finish line first in two preliminary features. In addition to this, the well-spoken driver has 23 top-five finishes, and just surpassed the $200,000 mark in season earning with his Gold Cup win. With six dash wins on the campaign, Pittman has started from the pole position five times in World of Outlaws events.
With only 134 points separating position two through five in the standings, Pittman knows the importance of every position on the track. He also knows how vital it is to qualify up front, because of the bonus points the top-five qualifiers receive during a single-day event. Four bonus points can also be accumulated by leading the most laps during A-Feature events on those single-day races as well.
"We've felt like we have spent the last month gaining slowly," he said. "In the last week, we took a big hit by crashing out the final day (at Calistoga). We just have to keep finishing top-five. Joey (Saldana) and Craig (Dollansky) have been steady as well. They will need to have some bad luck, and you never wish that on anybody. It's going to be tight. Everyone is running so well. Brooke (Tatnell) is breathing right down my neck. From fifth to second is very close. I think between us five, it will be a big toss-up with who does well. I think Williams Grove will be a big points weekend. It is a place where you can really gain and lose points. If we come out of there with a good weekend, we can definitely close the gap."
While celebrating his win at the Gold Cup, Pittman already had his mind on this weekend's events, as he looks to add to his win total. He now has 18 career World of Outlaws Sprint Series A-Feature wins.
"There is no reason to stop now," said a smiling Pittman after winning the Gold Cup last Saturday. "We'll go to Eagle (Raceway) and hopefully pick up another one and at Jackson (Speedway) as well."
Pittman has the chance to go undefeated for the season in not only the Cornhusker state, but also the Land of 10,000 Lakes, if he can find his way to RacinSoles Victory Lane in both events this weekend.
For ticket information about the 1/3-mile Nationals on Friday (Sept. 15) at Eagle Raceway visit www.slspromotions.com, or 815-344-2023. Adult reserved and general admission tickets are $30. Reserved and general admission tickets for children ages 6-12 will be just $10, while children 5-under will be admitted free. Fans can save $5 per advance general admission ticket by stopping in at any Lincoln, Omaha, or Council Bluffs area O'Reilly Auto Parts location to purchase their tickets. Pit pass combos are available for $35.