Shaffer soars in One/Third-Mile Nationals Preliminary EAGLE, NE (September 19) -- Tim Shaffer dominated the Preliminary Feature when the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series opened the 14th Annual One/Third-Mile Short Track Nationals Friday at...
Shaffer soars in One/Third-Mile Nationals Preliminary
EAGLE, NE (September 19) -- Tim Shaffer dominated the Preliminary Feature when the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series opened the 14th Annual One/Third-Mile Short Track Nationals Friday at Husker Auto Group Eagle Raceway, leading all 30 laps from outside the front row.
The $5,000 victory was Shaffer's second Preliminary Feature victory of the series' 25th Anniversary Season. The 1999 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year drove the #83 Beef Packers Eagle to victory in both feature races during the J.D. Byrider Outlaw Nationals at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track early in the year.
"We really needed this," Shaffer yelled to the capacity crowd. "My car was great all night long. (Crew chief) Kenny Woodruff just came on with us a couple of weeks ago, and he's making things happen. Kenny and Scott (Vogelsong) did a great job tonight. I could run this car anywhere on the race track.
"The Beef Packers car has been fast all year long, but we've just struggled. It feels good to win here tonight. Things were starting to get ugly there (in lapped traffic), so I had to tell myself to just settle down and not do anything stupid. I didn't hear anyone around me, so I just took my time to pick through the cars. I didn't want to end up sitting sideways spun out in the middle of the track."
Shaffer, the ninth-fastest qualifier in the 49-car field, earned the privilege of starting the evening's feature race on the front row by winning the Second Dash Race.
As the drivers lined up for the Preliminary Feature, Shaffer's Beef Packers teammate, Sammy Swindell, turned sideways in the second corner. Swindell collided with Brian Brown, causing the #6 Casey's General Stores Maxim to flip. Brown was unable to start the race, so Ricky Logan replaced him at the back of the pack. Terry McCarl crashed into the turn-four wall as the green flag fell, bringing out the caution flag.
Pole-sitter Joey Saldana burst into the lead as the green flag replaced the yellow, but Shaffer passed him deep in the second corner. Second-row starters Shane Stewart and Johnny Herrera exchanged third place during the opening lap.
Donny Schatz, who started outside the fourth row, drove his #15 Parker Stores J&J past Herrera in the low groove between turns one and two for fourth place 1½ laps later.
Shaffer was 1.8 seconds ahead of Saldana when he entered lapped traffic five laps into the race. Brian Paulus spun into Heat Race winners Danny Lasoski and Kerry Madsen in the fourth corner the next time around, opening the track ahead of the leaders. Lasoski and Madsen, who lost 11th and 12th place, respectively, restarted at the rear of the field. The front end on the #4M MIN Motorsports MCI collapsed as race resumed, putting Stewart out of the race.
Shaffer controlled the ensuing restart and opened a 1.2-second advantage in lapped traffic during lap 11. Swindell, who raced past 11 cars during the first 10 laps, took 10th place from Kraig Kinser with a high move in the fourth corner three laps later.
Shaffer was 2.5 seconds ahead of Saldana midway through the race. Schatz rode the rim around Saldana between turns three and four to claim the runner-up spot late in the 18th lap.
Paul McMahan, who duplicated the single-lap record Saldana set at Eagle's high-banked, 1/3-mile oval last September 20th, passed Herrera and Saldana during laps 21 and 25 to take over third place.
Shaffer opened a 3.3-second advantage with three laps remaining and was 2.9 seconds ahead of Schatz when he took the checkered flag.
"I had an awesome car tonight," Schatz said. "I could run anywhere I needed to on the track. (Crew chief) Tyler (Swank) and the guys gave me a great race car. Lapped traffic got a little hairy, so I had to be careful not to make any moves that would cost us second. I ran out of laps to catch Tim, but he was a man on a mission. The important part is we are locked in for tomorrow night. This is one of the best runs we have ever had at Eagle."
McMahan finished in third place, ahead of Saldana, O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series points leader Steve Kinser, Herrera, 13th-starting Jason Meyers, Jason Sides, Swindell and First Heat Race winner Brooke Tatnell. Logan raced past eight cars to finish 16th.