Well Worth the Wait: Meyers Wins Cactus Classic at Manzanita Speedway Jason Meyers had to wait a couple of weeks thanks to Mother Nature to continue his fast start to the 2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season, but he...
Well Worth the Wait: Meyers Wins Cactus Classic at Manzanita Speedway
Jason Meyers had to wait a couple of weeks thanks to Mother Nature to continue his fast start to the 2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season, but he made the wait well worth it, as he picked up right where he left off in Florida, by winning the Cactus Classic at the famed Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday night.
After rain interrupted last weekend's events at his home track of Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California, Meyers and his team spent the week working hard in the shop in preparation for the Cactus Classic, as they continue to tweak on their self-designed and built chassis.
Meyers lined up fifth for the 30-lap A-Feature on Saturday night and was up to third by the completion of the first lap. He then patiently shadowed Shane Stewart early in the race and worked his way into the runner-up spot on the 14th lap.
He made the pass for the lead and ultimately the win on the 17th trip around the half-mile, as he dove under two-time defending Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz exiting the fourth turn. From there Meyers would pull away and used a strong restart after a late caution to seal the win which earned him $10,000.
"Day in and day out, we have great race cars," said Meyers, driver of the GLR Investments KPC. "These guys are doing a great job. We are putting up wins like we need to do for our sponsors. Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen who will be tough this year. I think the list of who wouldn't be tough is shorter, because everyone out here is tough. To come out and win against these guys is a privilege. This car is just incredible right now and it's truly a privilege for me to drive it."
The Cactus Classic began with Schatz who started on the pole leading, though the red flag flew before a full lap was in the books, leading to a complete restart. On the second start Schatz again charged to the lead with Shane Stewart keeping pace with him.
Another anxious moment came on the complete restart, as Kraig Kinser who was running third and looking to make a move on Stewart for the runner-up spot got completely sideways in turn two and did a remarkable job to save the car from spinning, though he lost four spots in the process.
As Schatz began to open a lead over Stewart, Jac Haudenschild began to battle Meyers for the third spot. The field was bunched again after two separate cautions on the sixth lap.
Schatz used another strong restart to again pull away from Stewart, with Haudenschild nearly took the third spot from Meyers on the 15th lap when the caution flew, which ultimately led to a red flag for a fuel stop. Prior to the restart, Haudenschild pulled his car to the pit area while running fourth with engine trouble, ending his night and his bid for a win.
Meyers got into traffic late in the race and used it to his advantage, as Schatz was held up by a few of the slower machines.
For Meyers, it was his first win with both his wife Robyn and baby daughter Delaney at the track and his second overall A-Feature win of 2008.
"It's awesome to win with them here," said the native of Clovis, California. "We made the decision for them to come down here, which was a hard decision with the price of fuel and everything. To win the first one with them here is pretty special. Hopefully it's the first of many."
Meyers is one of just two drivers, along with Craig Dollansky who has finished in the Top-Five in all four A-Feature events this season. He also has had a number of strong runs in qualifying, as he has been in the Top-Five during time trials in three of the four events this season.
"We are definitely clicking right now," he said. "Chemistry is a big part of this deal and that is working for us. It's a long season though, and we have to be strong through the long summer months. That's what we are concentrating on next."
Schatz continued his strong start to the 2008 season driving for Tony Stewart Racing, by earning his fourth Top-10 finish of the year, as he came home second. He has three runner-up finishes in fourth starts with the World of Outlaws this season and is a very solid third in championship points as he chases his third consecutive title.
"We've been up front here the last several times," said Schatz, driver of the Armor All Chevrolet powered J&J. "We were good, and got caught asleep in the rubber. The R19 (Jac Haudenschild) and the 14 (Jason Meyers) were racing through it and knew it was there. I just didn't see it and that's just the way it goes sometimes."
Shane Stewart picked up his best finish of the season as he was third on Saturday night at Manzanita Speedway in the Cactus Classic. After some bad luck to open the 2008 campaign in Florida, he was pleased with how his team has meshed and the speed they have shown the last two races.
"It feels good to have a strong finish here," said Stewart, driver of the DTR Transport JEI. "We should have had a strong finish the last night in Florida, if not for a flat tire. Jason Meyers has been on his A-game since the beginning of the season and it feels good to run third. I can't say that I am extremely happy, but after our bad luck I am happy with it."
Joey Saldana was fourth on Saturday night. He lined up ninth and gained three spots on the opening lap. He then worked on Kraig Kinser for several laps before moving into the sixth spot on the seventh lap, before working on Craig Dollansky, whom he passed at the halfway point of the race.
"It was a good run for us," said Saldana, driver of the Budweiser/Open Joist Mopar JEI. "To start ninth and run fourth with these guys and passing cars to get there was a good effort by our whole team."
Dollansky finished fifth on Saturday night aboard the Auto Value Maxim to retain a slim two-point lead in the World of Outlaws championships standings over Meyers.
Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion, charged from the 13th starting spot to finish sixth aboard the Q Oil Maxim, with his son Kraig Kinser one spot behind him in the Bass Pro Shops Chevy powered Maxim.
Kerry Madsen, the reigning Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year came all the way from the 21st starting spot to finish eighth to earn the KSE Race Products Hard Charger Award in the TK Concrete Maxim.
Tyler Walker, making his first start with the series since 2006 was ninth, driving the NMI Industrial Contractors JEI. Terry McCarl rounded out the Top-10 in the Big Game Tree Stands Eagle.
Schatz, who opened a couple of sizeable advantages early in the race, did not want to see the red flag wave for the fuel stop at the halfway point of the race. He was very happy with the set-up of his car and was working through traffic very well prior to the stoppage that bunched the field up for the restart.
"The car was still good after the red flag," said the North Dakota native. "I didn't think we needed the fuel stop, but that's the way it goes and you just have to move on."
Stewart, who set fast time for the set consecutive World of Outlaws event on Saturday night, spent the week with three-time series champion Sammy Swindell who also drove for Roth Motorsports in the Cactus Classic, as he and the team worked to sort some things out with their car.
"I spent the week testing at Tulare with Sammy (Swindell) and we found a couple of things and made a couple of changes," explained the native of Bixby, Oklahoma. "I have to really thank him. He is a very smart and it's good to have him on our side."
Saldana earned his fourth Top-10 finish of the season on Saturday night, as he continues to close in on his first win of the season. He was quick to point out just how tough the field has been this season through the first handful of events.
"It's no different than last year or the year before, it's so competitive," noted the second generation driver. "You know that you have to be perfect if you are going to win one of these races."
The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series returns to action on Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15 at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tennessee.
CACTUS CLASSIC @ MANZANITA SPEEDWAY NOTEBOOK
* FAST QUALIFIER: Shane Stewart paced the 26 cars that took time with an AMB i.t. timed lap around the semi-banked 1/2-mile oval at 15.569 seconds at 115.614 mph. For his qualifying effort, Stewart earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Craig Dollansky (4), Sammy Swindell (3), Jason Meyers (2), and Jac Haudenschild (1).
* QUALIFYING WINNERS: Chad Hillier, Kraig Kinser and Joey Saldana won heat races... Donny Schatz won the Crane Cams Dash.
* 1/2-MILE WINNERS: Manzanita Speedway is a 1/2-mile semi-banked oval. The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series have raced four times this season on a track that size. The winners include: Jason Meyers (Volusia Speedway Park and Manzanita Speedway), Craig Dollansky (Volusia Speedway Park) and Danny Lasoski (Volusia Speedway Park).
Eldora Speedway to follow on April 11 and 12.
Cactus Classic @ Manzanita Speedway; Phoenix, AZ; March 1, 2008
1) 83-Shane Stewart 15.569
2) 2-Craig Dollansky 15.572
3) 83JR-Sammy Swindell 15.608
4) 14-Jason Meyers 15.623
5) R19-Jac Haudenschild 15.643
6) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. 15.670
7) 5C-Chad Hillier 15.732
8) 20-Kraig Kinser 15.777
9) 9-Joey Saldana 15.792
10) 21-Daryn Pittman 15.884
11) 15-Donny Schatz 15.892
12) 7S-Jason Sides 15.903
13) 11-Steve Kinser 15.943
14) 5W-Lucas Wolfe 15.999
15) 5-Danny Lasoski 16.016
16) 8K-Chad Kemenah 16.046
17) D1-Justin Henderson 16.058
18) 24-Terry McCarl 16.061
19) 55-Kerry Madsen 16.073
20) 70-Calvin Landis 16.172
21) 6-Tim Shaffer 16.229
22) 18-Tony Bruce Jr. 16.254
23) 22B-Ben Gregg 16.268
24) 45X-Johnny Herrera 16.291
25) 24W-Tyler Walker 16.789
26) 22J-John Gaston 16.799
Heat 1 (8 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 5C-Chad Hillier
2) 83-Shane Stewart
3) 14-Jason Meyers
4) 21-Daryn Pittman
5) 11-Steve Kinser
6) 8K-Chad Kemenah
7) 55-Kerry Madsen
8) 18-Tony Bruce Jr.
9) 22J-John Gaston
Heat 2 (8 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 20-Kraig Kinser
2) 15-Donny Schatz
3) 2-Craig Dollansky
4) R19-Jac Haudenschild
5) 45X-Johnny Herrera
6) D1-Justin Henderson
7) 5W-Lucas Wolfe
8) 70-Calvin Landis
Heat 3 (8 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 9-Joey Saldana
2) 7S-Jason Sides
3) 83JR-Sammy Swindell
4) 24-Terry McCarl
5) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.
6) 24W-Tyler Walker
7) 5-Danny Lasoski
8) 6-Tim Shaffer
Crane Cams Dash (6 laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting
positions of A-feature)
1) 15-Donny Schatz
2) 83-Shane Stewart
3) 20-Kraig Kinser
4) 2-Craig Dollansky
5) 14-Jason Meyers
6) R19-Jac Haudenschild
7) 83JR-Sammy Swindell
8) 7S-Jason Sides
9) 9-Joey Saldana
10) 5C-Chad Hillier
A-main (30 laps) - Starting Position [#]
1) 14-Jason Meyers [$10,000]
2) 15-Donny Schatz [$5,500]
3) 83-Shane Stewart [$3,200]
4) 9-Joey Saldana [$2,800]
5) 2-Craig Dollansky [$2,500]
6) 11-Steve Kinser [$2,300]
7) 20-Kraig Kinser [$2,200]
8) 55-Kerry Madsen [$2,100]
9) 24W-Tyler Walker [$2,050]
10) 24-Terry McCarl [$2,000]
11) 5W-Lucas Wolfe [$1,500]
12) 45X-Johnny Herrera [$1,200]
13) 6-Tim Shaffer [$1,100]
14) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [$1,050]
15) 5-Danny Lasoski [$1,000]
16) 8K-Chad Kemenah [$900]
17) D1-Justin Henderson [$800]
18) 5C-Chad Hillier [$800]
19) 70-Calvin Landis [$800]
20) 18-Tony Bruce Jr. [$800]
21) R19-Jac Haudenschild [$800]
22) 21-Daryn Pittman [$800]
23) 83JR-Sammy Swindell [$800]
24) 22J-John Gaston [$800]
25) 7S-Jason Sides [$800]
Lap Leaders: Donny Schatz 1-16, Jason Meyers 17-30
Chicken Hawk Hot Lap Award: Donny Schatz
Penske Power Position Award: Shane Stewart
KSE Hard Charger Award: Kerry Madsen