As the weather started to warm up, so did the action for the World of Outlaws, as the series visited seven different states in the month of June. The month opened up at the legendary Eldora Speedway on June 3. Craig Dollansky wasted little time...
As the weather started to warm up, so did the action for the World of Outlaws, as the series visited seven different states in the month of June.
The month opened up at the legendary Eldora Speedway on June 3. Craig Dollansky wasted little time after winning the dash to earn the pole position in the A-Feature. He led into the first turn and would go on to lead the entire 30-laps holding off Jason Solwold and Donny Schatz.
Dollansky made up for some bad luck that befell him at Lernerville Speedway earlier in the week during the Commonwealth Clash.
"It was a total team effort," Dollansky said after the win. "It's great to get a win for the Karavan team. After Lernerville, we started on the front row and I got turned around on the first lap and really didn't know what happened there. I felt like we had a really good opportunity to win that one as well and I kind of gave it away. It's good to get a win finally. It's been over a month since we won, so it's nice."
Schatz's third-place finish allowed him to stretch his lead in the championship standings to 171 over Jac Haudenschild who was fifth at Eldora. With his win, Dollansky remained third in points followed by Joey Saldana and Daryn Pittman.
A trip west on Interstate 70 the following day brought the series to the always tough Terre Haute Action Track, another high-horsepower half-mile facility.
Joey Saldana set the tone for the evening right off the bat, as he set fast time among the 37 cars that signed in. He finished third in his heat race to secure a spot in the dash, where he would finish second to earn the outside front row starting spot for the 30-lap A-Feature.
Dean Jacobs filling in for the injured Terry McCarl led the opening lap with Saldana taking the lead on Lap 2. Jacobs then took the lead again on Lap 10, with Saldana making the pass for the win on the next circuit, as he would lead the rest of the way. Jacobs would win up fifth. Craig Dollansky followed his win up the night before with a second-place run at Terre Haute, with Danny Lasoski and Chad Kemenah behind him.
"We needed this," Saldana said. "We've had a strong car, we have been racing strong. We've just been starting too far back. The guys have been working hard and they just needed a good finish. It's nice to come back and perform and not get discouraged after what happened at Eldora last night. You have to run 30 laps like it's the last lap with these guys. I got a little messed up with lapped traffic and Dean (Jacobs) drove by me. I think we were a little bit soft on tires. If we would have had on harder tires, we would have been even better. I'll take it and hopefully we can build on it and get all that bad stuff out of the way."
Having set fast time and led the most laps, Saldana was able to accumulate the most possible points and in the process chopped 23 points off of Donny Schatz's lead in the championship standings. The spread was 168 as the series headed to Eagle (Neb.) Raceway for the Eagle Nationals.
Searching for his fist trip of the year to RacinSoles Victory Lane, Daryn Pittman won the dash to earn the pole for the preliminary feature on June 9 at Eagle. He would lead the first 15 laps on the 1/3-mile before relinquishing the point to Craig Dollansky who would lead eight laps, before Donny Schatz would grab the top spot, only to have Pittman battle back on the final circuit to take the preliminary win and lock himself into the dash the following night, along with Schatz, Dollansky, and rookie Jeremy Campbell.
In the finale, Pittman again won the dash to earn the pole position. A strong initial start by Craig Dollansky vaulted him into the lead for the first eight laps. Pittman made the pass for the lead and ultimately the win on the ninth circuit, as he claimed his first A-Feature win of the season. It also marked the first time in his career that he swept a World of Outlaws event. Brooke Tatnell was second, with Dollansky, Schatz, and Saldana rounding out the Top-Five.
"I think we reached our goal," Pittman said after the win. "We were really good here in the fall last year so I was looking forward to coming back. I've never swept a weekend and with the competition out here, it's a big achievement for our team."
Schatz extended his lead in the standings to 172 points over Saldana as the series headed north to The Raceway @ Powercom Park in Wisconsin.
Traffic was the name of the game at Powercom Park, as Schatz led from the get-go, but got bottled up in traffic on the 27th lap allowing Jac Haudenschild to make a bold pass for the lead. Haudenschild held off a couple of late charges from Schatz to claim his third A-Feature win of the season. Craig Dollansky was third, with Daryn Pittman fourth, and Sammy Swindell filling in for the injured Terry McCarl rounding out the Top-Five.
"The car felt good tonight," said Haudenschild, whose first victory with crew chief Bonzai Bruns also came at Powercom in 1998. "It was a real good race track. It feels very good to win a race. We ran in traffic most of the race and the car felt good in it. The guys had this car running very good."
With his runner-up finish, Schatz was able to extend his lead in the standings to 177 over Dollansky who moved up a spot, as the series traveled west to Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, North Dakota.
At his hometown track, Schatz won the dash to earn the pole position for the 25 lap preliminary feature. Joey Saldana took the initial lead and led the first 19 laps. Schatz though looked high and low lap after lap for a way around Saldana. He pulled along side the Brownsburg, Ind. native throughout the first half of the race and never let him out of his sight.
Schatz found the line he needed in traffic on lap 20, as he sliced to the inside and took the lead from Saldana. This caused the crowd to erupt, as everyone was on their feet wildly cheering for the series point leader. The hometown favorite withstood one late caution and held off a determined Tyler Walker for the win. Schatz pocketed $5,000 for his efforts, and more importantly put himself on the pole for the dash on Saturday night.
"Nothing is better than getting to victory lane at home," Schatz said after the win. "We want to thank everyone for coming out. Joey and I ran laps side by side in the dash and it's not very often you have that anymore. It was a good fun night for us, and I hope the people enjoyed it. There's going to be even more tomorrow."
Schatz picked up right where he left in the finale on June 17, as he led all 30-laps to complete the weekend sweep, holding off Tyler Walker and Saldana, before a very enthusiastic crowd that gave him a standing ovation as he took the checkered flag.
"This team worked awful hard," Schatz said. "A lot of people have stood behind us for a lot of years and they're finally starting to reap the rewards. We just try to win everything we can and there's nothing better than coming home to Fargo and winning."
With his win, Schatz was able to pad his lead in the championship point standings to 194 over Dollansky, with a trip south to the famed Knoxville Raceway on the docket.
Joey Saldana nearly won a preliminary feature the week before at Red River Valley Speedway, and that race was still fresh in his mind as he rolled through the pit gates at Knoxville. The Brownsburg, Indiana native, was determined to show that he was the man to beat on the opening night of The Mediacom World of Outlaws Shoot-Out Presented by Sonic, America's Drive-In, at Knoxville Raceway.
Saldana powered around early race leader Billy Alley on the tenth lap and held off a charging Donny Schatz to pick up the win.
Saldana started in the second spot and stalked Alley for the first half of the race. After looking high, Saldana dove to the low side in turn three and made the pass for the win, with Alley coming home in fourth.
"We tried a different motor tonight and that was good," said Saldana after his win. "We are trying some different motors before the Nationals, and this one tonight ran pretty good. We were a little off on the car."
The event which was scheduled to be a two-day event became a one-day event with full championship points distributed after heavy rains forced the cancellation of the second night.
With his win, Saldana moved back into second-place in the standings, cutting five markers off of Schatz's lead, as the series headed to 81 Speedway in Wichita, Kansas to finish off the month.
After nearly winning the previous race, point leader Donny Schatz was poised and determined to return to the winner's circle as the tour hit the Heartland on June 30.
Starting on the outside of the front row, Schatz actually slipped over the banking of the fourth turn on the start at the 3/8-mile oval, but a caution waved, and series rules state that since a full lap was not recorded, a complete restart was in order. When the green flag waved, Schatz kept Terry McCarl in his sight and ran him down. When McCarl went up the track, Schatz turned to the bottom and into the lead. From there he held off a late surge by McCarl and Danny Lasoski to power his way into the $10,000 victory.
"I'm just glad to be in victory lane," said Schatz. "Today we got the breaks we needed. It started to lay rubber a little bit and if we hadn't been racing lapped cars I probably wouldn't have found it."
With the win, Schatz extended his lead to 212 points over Saldana with Craig Dollansky third, Jac Haudenschild fourth, and Daryn Pittman fifth, as the series headed to the Old West for a Showdown at Dodge City Raceway Park to open up July.
Up Next: A review of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series events from the month of July- Part I.