Desert Domination: Daryn Pittman Wins at Manzanita Phoenix, AZ--Oct. 20, 2006-- All week long, all Daryn Pittman could think about was how close he was to winning at Wilmot (Wisc.) Speedway last Saturday night. He entered Friday night's race at...
Desert Domination: Daryn Pittman Wins at Manzanita
Phoenix, AZ--Oct. 20, 2006-- All week long, all Daryn Pittman could think about was how close he was to winning at Wilmot (Wisc.) Speedway last Saturday night. He entered Friday night's race at Manzanita Speedway with one thing on his mind, and that was to pick up that win that he feels he let slip away last weekend.
Pittman used a dominating performance to pick up his fifth World of Outlaws Sprint Series A-Feature win of the season, leading wire-to-wire in the 30 lap contest, as he earned his first trip to Racin Soles Victory Lane at the storied half-mile, in the opening night of the Outlaw Desert Classic.
Pittman, driving the Titan Garages & Carports Maxim held off a charging Donny Schatz in the Parker Store J&J over the last two laps to pick up his 19th career series win. Schatz closed to within a few car lengths but came up just short as he was looking to add to his series best 15 A-Feature wins.
"We're excited about the win," said Pittman, who is fourth in series championship points. "It was a good win."
After a big pile up on the initial start in turn one that brought out the red flag and ended the night for a few cars and sent several others to the work area, Pittman got a strong start and powered his way down the long front straight-a-way to lead Schatz into the first turn.
Pittman showed his prowess all night long on restarts as he continued to power his way into turn one. In the middle stages of the 30-lap event, Brooke Tatnell in the Race Outfitters Eagle was closing in on Pittman before he sustained a shredded left rear tire in his first race back after spending a few weeks in his native Australia with his father George, who is battling cancer.
"We are able to get good restarts and stay ahead," said Pittman, a native of Owasso, Okla. "I think (Donny) Schatz was closing a little bit at the end. We pretty much wore our tires off. I think we had the best car and we were able to bring it home tonight. We were really good at Wilmot (last week) and I gave one away. It was good to rebound here."
For Schatz, the current championship point leader, it was his series best 40th Top-Five finish of the year as he closes in on his first series title. He got up to Pittman's tail tank a couple times, but each time Pittman blasted back down the long straights to maintain the lead.
Craig Dollansky aboard the Karavan Trailers Maxim turned in a very solid run to pick up his 18th third place finish of the season. He kept the leaders in his sight all race long, as he and Terry McCarl wages an epic battle for the fourth spot and then the third spot.
"We just seemed like we were fighting our car all night long," said Dollansky. "On that last red we were able to make an adjustment that helped us out toward the end. We were just a little bit on the tight side, which made it difficult to deal with. All in all, it was a good run for us."
McCarl, who battled with Schatz and Dollansky most of the night, settled for the fourth spot, to earn his 18th Top-Five of the year, piloting the Big Game Treestands Eagle.
"We had a great car and could have run second," said McCarl. "I tried to pass Donny (Schatz) on the last restart. If you don't get the pass made, you may give up a spot, and Craig (Dollansky) got back by us."
Joey Saldana rounded out the Top-Five in the Mopar-powered Dodge/Curb Records JEI.
Danny Lasoski finished sixth in the Roth Motorsports Eagle, after having to visit the work area in the middle of the race. Justin Henderson, who is currently second in the battle for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented by Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt finished seventh in the Jolt Energy Gum Schnee. Brooke Tatnell recovered from his flat tire to come home eighth. Travis Rilat was ninth in the Sander Construction Maxim. Jac Haudenschild recovered from getting upside down in turn two, to finish 10th in the Wright One Construction Maxim.
After a ninth place finish at Manzanita back in March, Pittman was anxious to get back to the desert to see if he could improve on that, and add to his strong second half of the season, that has seen him pick up $50,000 for winning the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar (Calif.) Speedway as well as $20,000 at Williams Grove Speedway in the summer. While he would have been pleased with a solid Top-Five, Pittman was ecstatic to win on the blazing fast half-mile and admitted to surprising himself a little.
"This has never really been a good track for me, and I really wouldn't have given myself much of a chance to win the race," said Pittman. "To come out of here with a win, I am tickled to death."
While he was thrilled to win on Friday night at Manzanita, the always well spoken driver still looked back on the win that eluded him a week ago on a chilly Wisconsin night, pondering how his most recent win would have then given him back-to-back wins.
"Wilmot was a hell of a race," said Pittman. "We were disappointed, but that was an area for some young guys to step up and shine and show how good they are, and I am proud of that too. To get a win at Manzanita is a big hat's off to our team. We've rarely had a Top-10 here and we came out with a win. We are pumped about that."
Now Pittman has the chance to make it two wins in a row, as the series heads south to USA Race Park on Saturday night, a track where he ran very strong earlier this season.
"I've been looking forward to going back to Tucson all year," said Pittman, who also picked up his eight dash win of the year and seventh pole position on Friday night. "We were awesome there in the spring. We had to come out of the B-Main and ran in the Top-five. It is a great race track and facility. We are looking forward to it. Hopefully we'll get qualified well and start up front."
After staring in the sixth spot, McCarl quickly moved into the Top-Five, and slid his way up to the fourth spot on the 18th lap. Like some of the other drivers, he was battling his race car all night long, not quite knowing how the track would react after the sun beat down on it all day.
"We were a little bit too soft on the left rear," said McCarl. "I was trying to baby it a lot of the time. We have a new Wesmar Engine in there and that really made a difference. We put it in at Knoxville last time and came from the back to run fourth. We put it back in for tonight, and boy it is really working well."
McCarl waged an entertaining battle with both Schatz and Dollansky over the second half of the race. While he finished behind those two drivers, he was pleased with the effort of his team on a night that took its toll on many contenders.
"It's a chess match on the restarts," said McCarl. "You try to pass the guy and if you don't make, then the guy behind you will have a run on you. The big money is up front and that is what I am running for. The Big Game Treestand guys want us to win these things. I had a run on Donny (Schatz) and I thought I would get him and just missed it on the last restart. That's what makes these things exciting. I would have liked to have seen it go green to checkers so we could have got into lapped traffic."
Dollansky and his crew worked with their car all night long and they found the most speed over the last handful of laps. For Dollansky who is solidly in the second spot in points, it was his 32nd Top-Five finish of the season.
"At the end we made a pass and the yellow came out, and that's just how that goes sometimes," said Dollansky. "Sometimes the flags fall your way and sometimes they don't. At the end, we were running down the 21 and 15 cars. Things were getting better for us the last few laps. It was another Top-three finish for us, and anytime you can do that it's not a bad night."
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series wraps up the Outlaw Desert Classic on Saturday night at USA Race Park in Tucson.