Eldora III: Eldora Clash race report

Pittman wins Eldora Clash, 'Dude' regains points lead. ROSSBURG, OH (July 19) -- As Daryn Pittman recovered from a back injury several months ago, he decided to skip the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' April 12-13 event at Eldora Speedway. The...

Pittman wins Eldora Clash, 'Dude' regains points lead.

ROSSBURG, OH (July 19) -- As Daryn Pittman recovered from a back injury several months ago, he decided to skip the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series' April 12-13 event at Eldora Speedway. The defending World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion said the intense speed generated on "The World's Fastest Half-Mile" would hamper his recuperation.

Pittman showed he was fully recovered from the injury that caused him to miss nine races Friday, leading the final 14 laps to win the Eldora Clash. The $10,000 victory, Pittman's second in the series' last three events, was the first of his career at Eldora Speedway.

"Man, I can't believe it!" Pittman yelled to the capacity crowd. "It just feels great to finally win a race at Eldora. There are just certain places you dream about winning races -- like Eldora and Knoxville. I just wish it was tomorrow night (at the $50,000-to-win Kings Royal). Maybe we'll be able to get some of the big money here tomorrow or in a couple of weeks.

"This car is great from the start of the race until the finish. My guys -- Joe Gaerte, Bob Curtis, and Billy (McTighe) -- have been working really hard, and I'm just glad I can make it pay off for them."

Danny Lasoski's 14th-place finish gave him first place by one point in the point standings when Steve Kinser's blown engine caused him to finish 19th. "The Dude" has been the points leader six different times as three drivers have exchanged first place 12 times this year.

Speed Channel taped the racing program for an August 15th telecast scheduled to begin at 11 p.m. Eastern Time.

Pittman, who finished 21st when mechanical problems in the #21 Hop & Sac J&J forced him out of the June 1st race at Eldora, was Friday's 11th-fastest qualifier. His fourth O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash victory of the season put him outside the front row in the "A" Feature lineup.

Shane Stewart, who won the Second Heat Race and the First O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash, burst into the lead from the pole as the green flag fell in the 30-lap main event. Brian Paulus drove the #28 Verdelli Farms Maxim past Pittman in the low groove between the first and second corners early in the opening lap.

Defending Kings Royal champion Mark Kinser spun in turn two the next time around. Kasey Kahne, who strayed from his NASCAR Busch Grand National duties for the weekend, crashed in the fourth corner as the green flag replaced the yellow.

Paulus chased Stewart for two-thirds of lap after the race resumed before taking the lead with an inside move between turns three and four. Paulus raced ahead of the 24-car field for six laps before he hit the second-corner retaining wall and stopped on the back straightaway. Stewart returned to the front of the field as the cars lined up for the eighth-lap restart.

Jac Haudenschild steered Guy Forbrook's #5 Maxim into the low groove between the first and second corners to pass Joey Saldana for third place on the ensuing restart.

Sammy Swindell, who started outside the 10th row, raced past 10 cars during the first nine laps. The three-time Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series champion passed Chad Kemenah and Phil Gressman during the two laps after the race resumed.

Pittman's nose wing was just inches from Stewart's rear bumper when the leaders entered lapped traffic during the 16th lap. Pittman took the lead with an inside move between turns three and four the next time around, just seconds before P.J. Chesson stopped on the front straightaway with a flat left front tire and malfunctioning brakes.

Swindell chased Greg Hodnett for two laps before passing his fellow Memphian for sixth place in the low groove between the third and fourth corners.

The caution flag was flying during the 21st and 25th laps as Steve Kinser's #11 Quaker State Maxim suffered a blown engine and Stevie Smith stopped in turn two with ignition problems. Smith finished fifth in the "B" Feature, but started at the rear of the main event when Johnny Herrera was unable to start the First O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash and the "A" Feature.

Haudenschild was passing Stewart for the runner-up spot with 3 ¾ laps remaining when their collision sent Stewart crashing into the retaining wall in turn two. Pittman controlled the final restart and was a straightaway ahead of "The Wild Child" when he took the checkered flag.

"We were out of fuel under that red flag," Pittman admitted in victory lane. "If it hadn't been for Shane's crash and the red flag, we would not have made it here."

Saldana finished in third place, ahead of fast-qualifier Craig Dollansky, Swindell, Hodnett, 19th-starting Donny Schatz, First Heat Race winner Paul McMahan, Kemenah and 22nd-starting Tim Shaffer. -

-WoO-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Kasey Kahne , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Brian Paulus , Daryn Pittman , Joey Saldana , Paul McMahan , Shane Stewart , P.J. Chesson , Jac Haudenschild , Chad Kemenah