Eldora: Friday Prelim report

Schatz wins Eldora opener, Lasoski regains points lead. ROSSBURG, OH (April 18) -- Donny Schatz won his first Preliminary Feature of the season and Danny Lasoski returned to first place in the point standings Friday when the O'Reilly World of ...

Schatz wins Eldora opener, Lasoski regains points lead.

ROSSBURG, OH (April 18) -- Donny Schatz won his first Preliminary Feature of the season and Danny Lasoski returned to first place in the point standings Friday when the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series opened a double-feature event at Eldora Speedway.

Schatz, who last won a Preliminary Feature during the Knoxville Nationals last August, exchanged the lead with Brian Paulus twice during the race's middle stages and held off Chad Kemenah and Sammy Swindell for the $5,000 first prize.

"Chad has been running really good this year and Brian was setting a pretty good pace early," Schatz said. "We knew the track would start to get slicker as the race went on and we probably had a little harder (right rear) tire on. The main thing is that we got locked in for tomorrow (Saturday) night.

"We got up in to the loose stuff and knocked the radiator out of the car. This is kind of a new radiator set-up for this year -- it's open on the bottom -- and if there's one place where you can really use up your equipment, it's Eldora. I don't know if we hurt the motor with the radiator knocked out, but we won't worry about that until tomorrow."

Lasoski, who has led the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series point standings for 10 of the first 12 events this season, returned to first place when he finished fourth and Steve Kinser ran 14th in Friday's Preliminary Feature.

Schatz, the second-fastest qualifier in the 32-car field, earned the right to start the 25-lap feature outside the third row by following Paulus and Kemenah across the finish line in the Second Dash Race.

Pole-sitter Tim Shaffer burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the evening's main event, but Paulus drove P and P Motorsports' #28 Verdelli Farms Maxim past him in the low groove between the third and fourth corners late in the opening lap.

Shane Stewart surrendered seventh place early in the third lap when he stopped the #4M MIN Motorsports MCI in turn two with a broken drive shaft. Swindell, who started outside the fifth row, restarted the race in fifth place.

Schatz, who exchanged third place with Kemenah during the second and third laps, raced with Shaffer throughout lap eight, but was unable to surge ahead.

Paulus was a straightaway ahead of Shaffer when he entered lapped traffic two laps later. Schatz passed Shaffer in the low groove between the first and second corners early in the 11th lap and closed to within eight car-lengths of Paulus the next time around. Shaffer, whose crew replaced the engine in the #83 Beef Packers after the First Dash Race, coasted into the pit area 13 laps into the Preliminary Feature.

Schatz took the lead with an inside move between turns one and two early in the 14th lap. Paulus took the high line around the 1997 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year in the first corner the next time around, only to have Schatz regain first place deep in turn four several seconds later. Kemenah, the runner-up on opening night of the United States Air Force Showdown at Texas Motor Speedway March 28th, used an inside move to pass Paulus in the third corner late in lap 16.

Swindell, who has won 14 O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series main events at Eldora Speedway, steered Dennis Roth's #1 Ore-Cal Beef Packers Eagle into the low groove between turns three and four to pass Paulus for third place the next time around. Brandon Wimmer flipped in the second corner the next time around, bringing out the red flag. Heat Race winners Paul McMahan and Kinser lost ninth and 11th place, respectively when their crews repaired their flat tires during the red period.

Joey Saldana and Lasoski, the fastest qualifier, passed Paulus for fourth and fifth place within two laps after the race resumed.

Schatz was seven car-lengths ahead of Kemenah when he took the checkered flag. "The Dude" passed Saldana for fourth in turn four late in the final lap.

Swindell finished in third place, ahead of Lasoski, Saldana, Paulus, Randy Hannagan, Mark Kinser, Jac Haudenschild and Craig Dollansky.

Mark Kinser's crew, led by father Karl, replaced the engine in the #5M Durst Auctions/ Williams Properties Maxim following the Fourth Heat Race. Mark passed six cars to finish eighth in the evening's main event.

Kenny Jacobs won the "B" Feature and passed 10 cars to finish 12th in the Preliminary Feature.

Stevie Smith, making his 2003 O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series debut, finished 22nd in the evening's main event.

Lasoski paced the qualifying session for the sixth time this season with a 136.281-M.P.H. lap around the high-banked, ½-mile oval.

-WoO

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Kenny Jacobs , Brian Paulus , Joey Saldana , Paul McMahan , Randy Hannagan , Shane Stewart , Jac Haudenschild , Chad Kemenah
Teams Williams