'Dude' Regains Points Lead in Houston Preliminary BAYTOWN, TX (March 23) -- Danny Lasoski's first preliminary feature victory of the season pushed the defending Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series champion back into the lead in the point standings...
'Dude' Regains Points Lead in Houston Preliminary
BAYTOWN, TX (March 23) -- Danny Lasoski's first preliminary feature victory of the season pushed the defending Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series champion back into the lead in the point standings Saturday on opening night of the Third Annual Texas Shootout at Houston Raceway Park.
"The Dude," whose strong finishes in 2001 preliminary features pushed him to his first Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series title, passed pole-sitter Donny Schatz for the lead late in the 19th lap on his way to the $5,000 victory.
"That's all Jimmy Carr right there," Lasoski said. "I think I have the best crew chief out there. He talked me through some things there on the (13th-lap) red, and it really helped.
"We're running really well right now. We just need to stay consistent, and the main thing is getting a top four on these preliminary nights. I have to thank Paul Kistler, who drove all the way down here from Fremont, OH, with a brand new engine for us. I'll just come in here tomorrow and leave it all up to Jimmy as far as what we do to the car. It's almost like he's driving by remote control right now."
Lasoski, the second-fastest qualifier in the 27-car field, finished third in the Second Heat Race and earned the right to start the 25-lap preliminary feature outside the second row by driving the #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle into second place in the Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash.
Schatz, who had mechanical problems during his first qualifying lap, burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the preliminary feature. Steve Kinser passed him in the low groove between the first and second corners early in the opening lap, however. Tyler Walker, who started outside the third row, passed Craig Dollansky and Lasoski to take over third place.
Stevie Smith and Brooke Tatnell collided on the back straightaway while racing for 10th place two laps later, but neither crashed. Smith stopped in turn three the next time around, however, so his crew could repair the damage to the right side of the #11 Vivarin Maxim.
Mark Kinser, the defending Texas Shootout champion, started inside the fifth row. He began making his way through the field during the sixth lap, passing Travis Rilat deep in the fourth corner. Kinser steered the #5M Mopar Maxim into the low groove between turns three and four to pass Jac Haudenschild for eighth place two laps later.
Steve Kinser, who has won three of the four main events the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series has run at Houston Raceway Park, was two seconds ahead of Schatz when he entered lapped traffic 10 ¾ laps into the race. "The King of the Outlaws" surrendered first place one lap later, however, when he collided with Ricky Logan and spun in the fourth corner.
Schatz drove the #15 Parker Stores J&J away from the field as the green flag replaced the yellow. Mark Kinser, Joey Saldana and Tim Shaffer raced wheel-to-wheel down the back straightaway, with Kinser surging ahead to take over fourth place. Shaffer and Matt Clevenger collided and flipped in turn three late in lap13, however. Shaffer was taken to a nearby hospital so doctors could treat his injured shoulder. The tough Aliquippa, PA, racer was released Sunday morning and planned to drive the #83 Beef Packers Eagle in the feature program later that day.
Lasoski passed Walker for second place with an inside move in turn two as the race resumed. Brad Furr, who started inside the 10th row, drove his #2 Sanmina/SCI Eagle past Haudenschild in the low groove between the third and fourth corners to take over seventh place late in the 14th lap.
"The Dude" and Walker raced side-by-side through much of the next two laps before Mark Kinser took third place from Walker with an inside move in turn four.
Lasoski used a similar move to pass Schatz for the lead late in the 19th lap. Kinser claimed the runner-up spot by passing Schatz deep in the fourth corner with 2 ¼ laps remaining and was 1.6 seconds behind when Lasoski took the checkered flag.
Walker held off Saldana for the final automatic qualifying position in Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash. Dollansky finished sixth, ahead of Furr, 15th-starting Jason Johnson, Johnny Herrera and Steve Kinser.
Randy Hannagan won the "B" Feature and raced into 12th place from inside the ninth row.
Mark Kinser set quick time for the second time this season, circling the semi-banked, 4/10-mile oval in 13.630 seconds, an average speed of 105.649 m.p.h.
Steve Kinser's son, Kraig, crashed during the opening lap of the Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash. The 17-year-old driver was uninjured and ready to race from outside the eighth row, but decided to start at the rear of the field.