2006 World of Outlaws Season Review: May Concord, NC--Dec. 15, 2006 -- After enduring a couple of rainy weekends, to close out the month of April, the World of Outlaws were poised for an intense stretch of races, as the series would visit eight...
2006 World of Outlaws Season Review: May
Concord, NC--Dec. 15, 2006 -- After enduring a couple of rainy weekends, to close out the month of April, the World of Outlaws were poised for an intense stretch of races, as the series would visit eight track in six states during the month of May.
The month began with a flurry as the series made its inaugural visit to US 36 Raceway for the Missouri High-banked Nationals on May 5.
With a standing room only crowd on-hand, Jac Haudenschild thrilled every one of them, as he led the final 33 laps of the 40-lap event. After charging past Wayne Johnson for the lead, Haudenschild held off Craig Dollansky and Terry McCarl for the win. The 41st win of his career was extra special, due to the fact that for his car owner Rick Wright, who had been a longtime supporter of the series, it was his first victory as a car owner with the Outlaws.
"Rick will be very happy with it," said Haudenschild, after his win. "He's been giving us everything we need this year to race with. I'm very glad to be driving for him. I have real good racecars and he hired good guys to work on them. We're looking forward to the whole year."
Coupled with a long night for Donny Schatz, Dollansky was able to close to within 52 markers of the lead. Joey Saldana in third closed to within 56 points.
A trip to 81 Speedway in Kansas the following evening was postponed by heavy thunderstorms that blanketed most of the Midwest. The event was re-scheduled for June 30.
After a long journey up Interstate 29 to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the series was ready to take to the always fast high-banks at Huset's Speedway on May 7.
Brooke Tatnell was on a mission as he took to the track a night after setting a new track record at the famed Knoxville Raceway in weekly competition. Tatnell who had racked up seven-straight Top-10 finishes was poised to pick up that elusive first win of the season.
After earning the pole position by virtue of winning the first dash, the native of San Souci, NSW, Australia powered to the lead with Terry McCarl and Tyler Walker in-toe. Despite a late red flag and a couple of late restarts, Tatnell was able to lead all 30 laps and score his first A-Feature win of the season, and fourth of his World of Outlaws career.
"We needed it as a team," Tatnell said. "We were on a winless run for a while, since Princeton last year actually. This whole team has been working together. We just needed something to pick it up. I think we had a pretty dominant car. The red flag helped McCarl more than it helped us. He had a problem and got that fixed. If the red flag was anything, it was a hindrance to us. When you have a run like we had tonight, I can joke with Terry. We both ran each other very hard."
Thanks to his runner-up finish, McCarl was able to cut Donny Schatz's lead in the championship point standings to 38, after Schatz finished 11th. Jac Haudenschild used a fifth-place run to move into third in the standings, with Joey Saldana and Tatnell rounding out the Top-five.
As the series headed back east, so did Mother Nature, as a pair of races in Ohio were lost due to rain, first at Attica Raceway Park on May 12, as well as the following night at K-C Raceway.
Though rained tried to hamper the action on May 16 at Grandview Speedway in Pennsylvania, hard work by the track staff led to a thrilling race that saw first Brooke Tatnell lead, then Daryn Pittman take command, followed by Donny Schatz who led the final three laps to claim his fourth checkered flag of the season.
"It's great to be back here in victory lane, it's been a while," Schatz said after the triumph. "We are back racing and hopefully we can keep this pace up. I had some bad finishes and I guess that's just how racing is. We just have to see how well we rebound from it, and tonight it went with us and against us. We had a little motor issue and I didn't know if we would be able to finish. I think we hurt the motor pretty bad, but that's the way it goes. There's only so much the guys can do, and they are doing all that they can."
Schatz extended his point lead to 53 over Jac Haudenschild who moved into the runner-up spot thanks for a fourth-place run. Joey Saldana, Terry McCarl, and Craig Dollansky rounded out the Top-five in points
After heavy rain and near freezing temperatures postponed the Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway, the Outlaws thundered into Sharon Speedway in Ohio for the $50,000 Challenge.
By virtue of his win earlier that week at Grandview, Schatz had the choice to start at the rear of the 24-car field for a chance at $50,000 if he could win. The native of Fargo, North Dakota accepted the challenged and put on an exciting show for the fans as he sliced and diced his way through the field. After gaining four spots on the first lap of the race, he was up to the 10th spot on the 14th lap before enduring damage to his car that would end his night.
Jac Haudenschild who started on the pole caught and passed Brooke Tatnell on the 24th lap and held him off after a late restart to claim his second win of the season. Randy Hannagan matched his season-best finish of third, with Jeremy Campbell and Daryn Pittman rounding out the Top-Five.
"The Rick Wright car felt very good tonight," said Haudenschild a native of Wooster, Ohio. "The guys had the car running well. We had to chase Brooke down, he was going pretty good and we got him on the bottom. We haven't won at Sharon for years and years, so it feels good to win here."
After crossing the finish line in seventh, Terry McCarl pulled to a stop in turn one, after the U-Joint on his car exploded. He sustained a severely broken left leg in the incident, and would miss several weeks of action after having surgery. At the time, McCarl was third in the championship point standings, only 55 markers behind leader Donny Schatz.
A return to The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway for the first time since 2003, was next in store for the series.
While Kevin Swindell was the youngest driver in the field at the tender age of 17, he drove like a seasoned veteran leading all 25 laps with a stout 51-car field checked into the spacious pit area at the track. Chad Kemenah finished second ahead of Brooke Tatnell, with Tim Shaffer coming home fourth as he filled-in for the injured Terry McCarl.
After becoming the youngest winner in the World of Outlaws history, Swindell dedicated the win to Randy Hannagan who returned to his native California the day before the event to be with his mother who was battling cancer.
"Since Randy can't be here, we want to make sure a No. 1 is in victory lane," Swindell said after his win, referring to the car numbers on his and Hannagan's machines. "We got into traffic a little bit and got into dirty air, it upset the car. It gets a whole lot dustier when you are behind those guys, and it makes it hard to run good laps. I was happy to get out of it. Then we got down to enough laps where I knew I would not catch the lapped cars again. It was fairly easy, I didn't make any mistakes."
Donny Schatz retained his point lead after a fifth-place finish.
A trip north to Pennsylvania Posse Territory was next on the agenda, as the series made its first visit of the year to the famed Williams Grove Speedway.
Fred Rahmer tooked the preliminary feature win on May 26, as he slid past Donny Schatz in heavy lapped traffic with only three laps remaining in the 25-lap event.
The following night was nearly a mirror image of the preliminary feature, as Rahmer started on the pole and battled with Schatz lap-after-lap before coming out on top, to sweep the weekend and gain bragging rights for the Pennsylvania Posse. Doug Esh made a late pass to grab the second spot from Schatz.
"We we're good in the dash and then Donny and I had a heck of a race," Rahmer said after his victory. "We knew it was going to rubber up, and we were fortunate to be able to stay in front. Donny runs so good here, that I knew I could not afford to let him get out in front when it rubbered up. I guess I got lucky again. Every time you win, you are lucky to some point."
After earning his ninth Top-Five finish of the season, Schatz extended his point lead over Daryn Pittman to 122 as the series headed to New York for the first of two visits on the season to the Empire State.
Orange County Fair Speedway on Memorial Day was first up. Brooke Tatnell started on the pole and used it to his advantage as he fought off Schatz for the victory in the 25-lap A-Feature. Schatz took the lead coming off turn two on the final circuit, but Tatnell powered back to take the win.
"Once we got going, it was fun," said Tatnell. "That was some good, hard racing with Donny. We had to get through all the traffic. I won the first one, he won the second, and I won the third. I hit the cushion with a lap to go, but we were able to duck back underneath him. We raced hard down the back straight-a-way. If the yellow would not have come out, we still would have beat him into turn three and four. That's one for all the ones that we've lost."
Heading to Rolling Wheels Raceway Park the following night, Schatz led Daryn Pittman and Jac Haudenschild in the championship points standings.
After nearly picking up a win the night before, Schatz was more determined than ever to make his way back to the winner's circle. After lining up fourth for the A-Feature he quickly jumped to second as he stalked Daryn Pittman for the lead. Schatz made the pass for the win on the 12th lap, as he earned his fifth A-Feature win of the season. Behind Pittman, Joey Saldana, Craig Dollansky, and Stevie Smith rounded out the Top-Five.
Schatz gained 11 points on Pittman in the standings, after recording the third fastest lap in time trials to earn bonus points, as well as leading the most laps in the feature.
A busy stretch of races wrapped up at Lernerville Speedway for the previously postponed Commonwealth Clash, to put a cap on a very competitive month.
Dean Jacobs filling in for the injured Terry McCarl lined up fourth for the Clash, but moved up to the outside of the front row after a first lap caution led to a complete restart. He wasted little time jumping around Jason Solwold and leading all 25 laps to earn the first World of Outlaws A-Feature victory of his storied career.
"My thanks go out to Terry and Lori McCarl for letting me have the opportunity to race this hot rod," Jacobs said after his victory. "I told him this hot rod is awesome. Thanks to Big Game Treestands and Bosma Poultry, and all of Terry's sponsors. I know without them it would be tough for even him to be out here. My heart goes out to him sitting at home with the broken leg healing, and somebody else winning the race in his car. I know he is as happy as I am."
Donny Schatz came home third and retained the series championship point lead as the competitors prepared for yet another busy stretch of racing as the calendar changed to June.
A return to Wayne County Speedway in Ohio for the first time since 1985 was on-tap, but Mother Nature had other plans as heavy rained forced the cancellation of the event on June 1.
Up Next: A review of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series events from the month of June.