Danny Lasoski motors to World of Outlaws Harvest Classic qualifying night win at Calistoga Calistoga, CA -- Sept. 3, 2005 -- What started out Saturday night looking like a repeat performance of the Harvest Classic opener on Friday at Calistoga...
Danny Lasoski motors to World of Outlaws Harvest Classic qualifying night win at Calistoga
Calistoga, CA -- Sept. 3, 2005 -- What started out Saturday night looking like a repeat performance of the Harvest Classic opener on Friday at Calistoga Speedway turned into a wild World of Outlaws Sprint Series feature where twice the front-runner was knocked from the lead in the 25-lap second preliminary event.
Danny Lasoski was patiently running third Saturday when leader and opening-night winner Steve Kinser was collected in a five-car wreck in Turns 3 and 4 that brought out a red flag with six laps complete. Lasoski then held off Donny Schatz on the restart and was beginning to pressure new leader Tim Kaeding when left rear tire trouble sent Kaeding spinning in Turn 2 with 19 laps down. Lasoski, Schatz, Jonathan Allard, Daryn Pittman, Jason Meyers and Jason Sides went by as Kaeding tried to recover, but Kaeding made it only to Turn 4 before contact with Kraig Kinser sent Kinser's car into a flip for the second red flag of the race.
From there, Lasoski took charge and used all of the Mopar horsepower in his Tony Stewart Motorsports Bass Pro Shops Eagle to charge into Victory Lane for the second time in the past three race nights.
"I knew with the King and Tim Kaeding starting up in front of us, they were going to be pretty hard to beat early because [the track] was abrasive," said Lasoski, who has won three Harvest Classic A-feature titles including the past two in a row. "I've been here before and I know if you abuse your tires early you have nothing for lapped traffic. I just wanted to keep them in sight. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Definitely King had the best car and Tim was second, we were third. But who knows what would have happened in lapped traffic. I've just got to take my hat off to this Bass Pro Shop/J.D. Byrider Eagle with Mopar power. [Engine builder] Paul Kistler has done a great job with this thing and it's showing. We're not where we need to be but we're getting closer and closer. I'm excited about being able to race for the lead now."
Schatz, who started ninth, motored his Parker Store J&J to the checkered flag in second, unofficially giving him the highest point total after the two qualifying nights and putting him on the pole for the Stacker 2 Dash that will determine the top six positions for the A-feature on Sunday night.
"We qualified decent, ran decent in our heat and decent in the feature," said Schatz, a Mean 15 racer from Fargo, N.D. "You've got to do that. It's just the way it is. We needed a good run tonight. We put ourselves behind in the dash, but Steve definitely had a good car and you just have to survive to the end. We all know that here at Calistoga. We had a decent racecar and we actually passed Danny at one point and I didn't get the pass completed. He got me back. He did a good job.
"Our whole goal for the weekend was getting in the top four, definitely getting on the front row because this race is tough to win coming from the back."
Jason Sides worked his way from 13th to finish third in his Wetherington Tractor Services Maxim as Steve Kinser battled all the way back in his Quaker State Maxim from restarting at the rear of the field with a damaged car to finish fourth.
"The others had bad luck and all, but that's part of it," said Sides, a Mean 15 racer from Bartlett, Tenn. "We've had bad luck before, too. I hate it for them but it's a good night for us to start where we did and end up third. We need the luck and we needed this good run. I actually felt like the last few laps we were running Schatz down, but there were only six to go so you could run it as hard as you wanted."
Fans and drivers alike were not surprised but still amazed by Kinser's impassioned run back through the field after he went into Turn 3 with six laps down and found that Jac Haudenschild had jumped the cushion and come back down the track sideways, leaving nowhere to go for Stephen Allard, Roger Crockett, Craig Dollansky and himself. Kinser's car had damage to the front and rear, but Dollansky might have gotten the worst of it when he went over in his VMAC/Karavan J&J. Both Kinser's and Dollansky's crews recovered quickly and made repairs to get them back into the race. While Kinser drew the attention from his fourth-place finish, Dollansky wound up eighth for an improbable top 10 after it looked as if his machine would be done for the night in that crash.
"It just started going every direction and it just got tangled up," said Kinser, whose recovery to finish fourth combined with his victory in the opener will unofficially put him on the front row of the Stacker 2 Dash on Sunday alongside Schatz. "I was coming in there wide open. I got on them so fast I couldn't miss them. I actually started to go down under [Crockett] and then he chopped down. I was going to run in there hard and then I just saw cars spinning and piling up everywhere and I couldn't get stopped and backed into the wall.
"The bad thing in these three-day point things, there is just so many things that can mess you up for the whole weekend. You can be running good and stuff like that can happen, especially at this track. It just seems like there's so many people who just lose their cars here when they get to racing. I've been taken out four or five times by lapped cars here. It's just a track that when you get in the feature it gets a little slick and when they get to racing they have a little trouble with it."
Daryn Pittman rounded out the top five when he drove his back-up Titan Garages and Carports Maxim to fifth after his primary car was damaged in a crash during hot laps. His recovery from the incident in the warm-up session unofficially moved him to third in qualifying points, locking him into the Stacker 2 Dash on Sunday.
"Any time you bring out a backup car and come out and time trial fifth, then with a six inversion come back and still finish in the top five, I'm tickled to death," said Pittman, a Mean 15 racer and native of Owasso, Okla., who won the Harvest Classic in 2002. "I didn't feel like we were very good at all but we were good enough. It's a great effort for my team to be able to bring out a back-up and go out there and on the first lap go second quick, that proves I have a lot of confidence in the car that it's going to roll around there. They build a lot of good cars. That was a great car we crashed. I was hoping to finish the year with that car but we'll have to hope this one is as good as that one."
Jason Meyers posted another strong qualifying-night run to finish sixth in the Elite Landscaping Maxim. He was followed by Jason Solwold in the City Wide Insulation Schnee, Dollansky, Tim Shaffer in the Casey's General Stores Maxim and Calistoga veteran Steve Kent in the Island Muffler and Brake Eagle.
Shaffer's run unofficially moves him into the fourth spot in the Stacker 2 Dash to set the top-six spots for the A-feature, with the heats lined up by qualifying points. The two drivers with the highest qualifying point totals that transfer out of their heat races will fill the fifth and sixth spots in the dash.
But for Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws champion, his victory is just the latest strong run in a series of top-10s. Only once since he was third in the Knoxville Nationals -- a span of nine races including preliminaries -- has Lasoski finished outside of the top eight, and it was in the Harvest Classic opener on Friday.
"I give all the credit to Paul Kistler," said Lasoski, a Mean 15 racer from Dover, Mo., who picked up his first A-feature win of the season on Tuesday at Cottage Grove Speedway. "He's the one who has worked all the hours, doing everything he can do to get this thing to where it needs to be because we've been down. Chevrolet passed us but with the help of Mopar engineers, Kevin Miller and everybody working with Paul Kistler it's definitely shown and our performance has stepped up.
"You're racing the 18 best teams in the world, not the country, the world. When you come here, you've got to be ready. If you're not ready, you're going to get beat and that's what happened. We got our tail kicked. We thought we had a product that was going to be as good as we had been. We've had that advantage before, but we lost that advantage and now we have to work to get that advantage back, and that's what we're doing."
The series completes the Harvest Classic Sunday at Calistoga Speedway in Calistoga before shifting to Chico, Calif., for the Gold Cup Sept. 8-10 at Silver Dollar Speedway.
HARVEST CLASSIC NIGHT TWO NOTEBOOK
* Kraig Kinser paced the 31 cars that went through time trials by turning an AMB i.t.-timed lap around the half-mile oval in 17.020 seconds. For the second night in a row, Terry McCarl posted the second-fastest lap when he circled the speedway in 17.134 seconds. Mark Kinser established the single-lap record in an Outlaws event by turning a lap in 16.016 seconds on Sept. 1, 2000.
* A three-night event such as this weekend's Harvest Classic uses a unique scoring system. Teams earned qualifying points Friday and Saturday, with the top four in qualifying points after Saturday's A-feature locked into the first four starting positions of Sunday's Stacker 2® Dash. The remainder of the Sunday field will be placed into heat races, lined up according to qualifying points with no inversion. Of the heat race cars, the highest two in qualifying points that transfer from the heats will start fifth and sixth in the Stacker 2® Dash. Starting positions 7-24 in Sunday's A-feature will be lined up according to qualifying points from the first two nights. No qualifying points will be awarded on Sunday. Also, teams can't use provisionals on either of the preliminary feature nights.
* Danny Lasoski's victory Saturday night was his third preliminary feature victory of the season to go with his one A-feature victory at Cottage Grove Speedway that made him the 17th different A-feature winner. Including preliminary features, there have been 22 different drivers to visit victory lane this season with the Outlaws. -- Steve Kinser's victory Friday night at Calistoga Speedway was his fourth preliminary feature win of the season. He leads the series with 17 A-feature victories. -- Kraig Kinser captured the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 14 for his sixth A-feature victory of the season. He also has a preliminary feature win at Las Vegas. -- Donny Schatz earned his fifth victory of the season on Aug. 27 at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash. -- Jason Meyers earned his fourth win of the season July 2 at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D. -- Tim Shaffer's victory July 19 in the Silver Cup was his third of the season, going with wins Lake Ozark Speedway and Thunderbowl Raceway. -- Craig Dollansky has won two features, most recently at Powercom Park, and he also has two preliminary feature wins. -- Brian Paulus won June 28 at Huset's Speedway for his second victory of the season, and picked up a preliminary feature win in the following race at Red River Valley Speedway. -- Brooke Tatnell has two A-feature victories, winning at Cedar Lake and Fulton speedways, as well as a preliminary feature win at Princeton Speedway. -- Sammy Swindell won his second A-feature of the season June 4 at Eldora Speedway. Swindell also has a preliminary feature win April 8 at Eldora and Aug. 14 at Knoxville Raceway in the Nationals' non-qualifiers event. -- Daryn Pittman won his second A-feature of the season Aug. 21 at BMP Speedway in Billings, Mont. -- Fred Rahmer won the Summer Nationals crown July 23 and picked up a preliminary feature win in the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 10. -- Single-event winners include Jac Haudenschild on Aug. 5 at Eldora Speedway, Stevie Smith July 13 at Attica Raceway Park, Tim Kaeding June 11 at Sheboygan County Fair Park, Chad Kemenah July 9 at I-55 Raceway, and Jeff Shepard Feb. 11 at Volusia Speedway Park. -- In preliminary features, Joey Saldana, Paul McMahan, Jason Johnson and Shane Stewart have each won once.
* Drivers who have raced to victory in preliminary features this season include (in alphabetical order) Craig Dollansky twice (Manzanita/Williams Grove), Jason Johnson once (Williams Grove), Kraig Kinser once (Las Vegas), Steve Kinser four times (Eagle/Billings/Elma/Calistoga), Danny Lasoski three times (Australia/Knoxville/Calistoga), Kerry Madsen once (Australia), Paul McMahan once (Williams Grove), Brian Paulus once (Red River Valley), Fred Rahmer once (Knoxville), Joey Saldana once (Lernerville), Shane Stewart once (Knoxville), Brooke Tatnell once (Princeton), Sammy Swindell twice (Eldora/Knoxville).
* Including preliminary features, the series has raced 32 times this year on half-mile circuits with Steve Kinser winning nine times (Volusia, Eldora three times, Knoxville, Williams Grove, Hartford, Red River Valley and Calistoga), Sammy Swindell winning four times (twice at Eldora, once at Hagerstown and Knoxville), Craig Dollansky winning twice (Manzanita and Williams Grove), Kraig Kinser winning three times (Las Vegas, and twice at Knoxville), Jason Meyers winning twice (Granite City and Red River Valley), Donny Schatz winning twice (Las Vegas and Route 66 Raceway), Fred Rahmer winning twice (Williams Grove and Knoxville), Danny Lasoski winning twice (Knoxville/Calistoga), and Brian Paulus (Red River Valley), Jeff Shepard (Volusia), Jason Johnson (Williams Grove), Paul McMahan (Williams Grove), Jac Haudenschild (Eldora) and Shane Stewart (Knoxville) each winning once.
* The Stacker 2® Dash that set the inside top six rows for the main event was definitely stacked. It feature five of the top six drivers in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series championship standings, and for the second night in a row Steve Kinser found himself taking the checkered flag. Danny Lasoski started on the outside of the front row and powered around the half-mile to finish second with Daryn Pittman, fast-qualifier Kraig Kinser Donny Schatz and Jason Meyers rounding out the field.
* In the second dash that set the outside top six rows for the A-main, San Jose's Tim Kaeding thrilled the California crowd by motoring to victory and a spot on the outside of Row 1 for the main event. Jonathan Allard continued his strong West Coast run with the Outlaws by finishing second ahead of Steve Kent, Paul McMahan, Tim Shaffer and Terry McCarl.
* Stephen Allard and the No. 35 Rick Wright team changed motors after heat race action and powered to victory in the B-main. Once in front Allard continued to ease away from the field as Brooke Tatnell slid around Toni Lutar to finish second. Lutar, Roger Crockett, Brandon Wimmer and Craig Dollansky earned the remaining transfer spots to the A-main.
* The heat race format was changed from four heats on the opening night of the Harvest Classic to three heats when the No. 96 car dropped out before time trials, leaving 31 cars in the field. Shane Stewart captured the first heat with Kraig Kinser making a pass in Turn 4 on the last lap to grab the sixth and final transfer spot; Paul McMahan started on the front row of the second heat and raced to victory; Jac Haudenschild motored to the lead in the first corner of the third heat and drove off to a win.
* The series completes the Harvest Classic Sunday at Calistoga Speedway in Calistoga before shifting to Chico, Calif., for the Gold Cup Sept. 8-10 at Silver Dollar Speedway.
* The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. Eastern on Sept. 7 the show from Grays Harbor Raceway and on Sept. 14 the Harvest Classic from Calistoga Speedway.