'Dude' Gains Power After Outage, Wins Gold Cup By Richard Day CHICO, CA (September 16) -- Where were you when the lights went out Saturday at Silver Dollar Speedway during the 15th lap of the 47th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions main...
'Dude' Gains Power After Outage, Wins Gold Cup
By Richard Day
CHICO, CA (September 16) -- Where were you when the lights went out Saturday at Silver Dollar Speedway during the 15th lap of the 47th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions main event? Danny Lasoski knows exactly where he was -- in the #83 Beef Packers Eagle, right behind race leader Tim Shaffer. A traffic accident on one of Chico's main streets sheared a utility pole, causing a power surge that knocked out power all over town. Following a 30-minute delay, "The Dude" chased Shaffer for another 11 laps before executing the winning pass to claim his first Gold Cup title. The $20,000 victory was Lasoski's first at Silver Dollar Speedway. He has won two of the last four Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series "A" Features, and both climaxed triple-program events in California. "I'm just really tickled for Dennis (Roth) to win another one in his home state and for my guys (Jack Hickman, Mark Ellis and Craig Stevens) who worked so hard," Lasoski said following his ninth victory of the season. "I'm not usually very good on these little tracks, but with the caliber of drivers you race against with the World of Outlaws, sometimes it helps to be running second in traffic. I just went where he (Shaffer) didn't and we came out with the lead." Lasoski, who scored the second-most points in the preliminary programs without the benefit of a feature victory, passed Shaffer for the lead high in the second corner as the green flag waved in the championship feature. Stevie Smith's #19 Ingersoll-Rand Black Bandit slid over the cushion in turn two, allowing 18 cars to pass him during the opening lap. A broken rear end in the #20 Networks Eagle caused Johnny Herrera to stop on the back straightaway the next time around. Shaffer battled "The Dude" for 1 1/4 laps before steering the #11H Vivarin Eagle to the deepest point between the first and second corners to take the lead early in the fourth lap. Shaffer was five car-lengths ahead of Lasoski when he entered lapped traffic three laps later. "The Dude" closed to within two car- lengths in dense traffic midway through the ninth lap. Two laps later, Jac Haudenschild collided with Randy Hannagan and spun in the second corner while Brian Paulus flipped in turn four, bringing out the red flag. The power outage forced Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series officials to stop the race again four laps later. "B" Feature winner Sean Fenn flipped in the second corner late in the 16th lap, giving Dean Jacobs' crew an opportunity to repair his right rear tire. Shaffer raced away from the field when the race resumed and opened a six car-length advantage within seven laps. "The Dude" caught Shaffer the next time around, but was unable to take the lead in turn two. Lasoski executed the move to perfection early in the lap 26, taking the low line into the first corner and passing him in turn two. "We made some changes under that red," Shaffer said. "I don't think it hurt us, but it didn't really help us either. I think I might have sealed a tire over at the end. It just got really loose in (turns) one and two, and it didn't help when I went to the top there." Haudenschild's third-corner spin brought out the caution flag and tightened the field late in the 27th lap. Tim Kaeding, who won the First Preliminary Feature at the Gold Cup a year ago, went to work when the race resumed, passing Dale Blaney and his father, Brent, within three laps to take over sixth place. Lasoski was seven car-lengths ahead of Shaffer when they caught the backmarkers with 4 1/2 laps remaining. "The Dude" increased his advantage in lapped traffic and took the checkered flag with half a straightaway to spare. Mark Kinser, who finished in third place, is still searching for his first Gold Cup Race of Champions title. "Lasoski did an awful good job, and Tim was tough, too," Kinser said. "We were really just a third-place car tonight, but one of these days I'm going to win this race. Traffic didn't really make or break our race. We just got strung out there at the end and, by the time I caught some of those guys, they had already cleared a bunch of lapped cars." Sammy Swindell, the 1981 Gold Cup champion, finished fourth, ahead of Tim Kaeding, Second Preliminary Feature winner Daryn Pittman, Brent Kaeding, Greg Hodnett, Blaney and two-time Gold Cup winner Andy Hillenburg. Hodnett, who started 13th in the "B" Feature, pulled off a last- lap pass of Shane Scott to claim the final transfer position for the main event. The 1993 Rookie of the Year drove Jimmy Vasser's #V12 Wirtgen America Maxim past 16 cars in the championship feature. Silver Dollar Speedway track champion Jason York surrendered fourth place in the "B" Feature when he pitted to change a right rear tire. The 78 cars in Silver Dollar Speedway's pit area Saturday represents the third-largest number competing in a Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series racing program this season. Eighty-eight sprinters raced in the 40th Annual Amoco Knoxville Nationals finale and 82 competed in the Nationals' Non-Qualifiers/Scramble program. Randy Tiner, the opening-night Preliminary Feature winner at the Gold Cup two years ago, won the "E" Feature. Jon Lovell won the "D" Feature and Robert Farr won the "C" Feature. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series will sanction the Cornhusker Shootout at I-80 Speedway Thursday through Saturday. TNN Sports will televise Saturday's feature program live, starting at 10 p.m. EDT. WoO k