Pittman Fends Off Schatz To Win PolyDome Princeton Nationals Opener Princeton, MN -- July 28, 2006 -- It's no secret that starting as close to the front row as possible is an advantage, but on a quarter-mile oval starting position is even ...
Pittman Fends Off Schatz To Win PolyDome Princeton Nationals Opener
Princeton, MN -- July 28, 2006 -- It's no secret that starting as close to the front row as possible is an advantage, but on a quarter-mile oval starting position is even more crucial.
Daryn Pittman and Donny Schatz took advantage of an eight-car inversion for the dash during the opener Friday night of the PolyDome Princeton Nationals to find themselves on the front row for the feature.
Starting on the outside of the front row, Pittman powered his Titan Garages & Carports Maxim to the front and set a blistering pace. Schatz tried to run him down, moving his ParkerStore J&J all over the high-banked quarter-mile Princeton Speedway trying to cut down Pittman's lead.
The two hit traffic quickly, with Pittman initially picking off cars at will in an awesome demonstration of handling and horsepower. Then he hit more and more traffic, with cars running side-by-side making it tough for the native of Owasso, Okla., to find a clear lane to keep pushing.
Meanwhile, Schatz started to find his groove and closed in on Pittman. With Pittman working the middle in Turns 1 and 2, Schatz dove to the bottom, getting his nose under Pittman and letting the leader know he was in for a fight with 12 laps to go in the 30-lap event.
Still, Pittman carried his momentum in the higher lane down the back and into Turns 3 and 4, where again Schatz dove underneath but couldn't make it stick. Pittman surged back in front on the top and the two repeated the run again.
The two again went side-by-side for the lead when suddenly the yellow flag waved for a spinning car in Turn 2 with 10 laps to go. It was just what Pittman needed. With field realigned, Pittman had nobody to block his path, making it difficult for Schatz to pressure him.
A strong restart gave Pittman the advantage once again as Schatz repeated his earlier tactics, waiting for traffic to become a factor again. Another caution with six to go had the same affect.
Pittman found traffic again on the final circuit. Schatz knew he had one more chance to pick up the victory, and more importantly be locked into the pole for the dash on Saturday. Schatz closed fast on the last lap, nearly coming even with Pittman in the final corner. But Pittman was still on the outside and carried his momentum to the checkered flag and into the RacinSoles Victory Lane for the second time this season in a preliminary feature.
Schatz wound up second with Jac Haudenschild in the Wright One Construction Maxim holding off Brooke Tatnell's Race Outfitters Eagle for third. Those four drivers will be locked into the top four spots in the dash on Saturday. Jason Solwold, who set quick time in the City Wide Insulation Maxim, rounded out the top five.
"Luck is a big part of this," said Pittman, who is looking to sweep an event for the second time this season after winning both ends of the Eagle Nationals in June. "They drew the right pill for the dash inversion. We knew we had a car good enough to win if we could get track position and luckily we had that. We were good early in the race and it's pretty typical of Schatz to be a little tight early and be really good late in the race. That was the case tonight. Luckily we were able to hold him off tonight. Lapped traffic didn't give us too many problems and we were able to hold on and get another win. It gets us on the pole for the dash tomorrow, that's the biggest thing. We have the best opportunity to win, we just have to take advantage of it."
Pittman knew Schatz, who started on the pole, would be on him all race long so it wasn't a surprise when Schatz's yellow front wing suddenly appeared to the left of Pittman in Turns 1 and 2.
"I saw him get there and I really wasn't shocked," Pittman said. "I could hear somebody and I knew I wasn't getting through traffic at that point as good as I needed to. I was somewhat expecting somebody to stick their nose underneath me. I was glad to see the caution to get it strung back out because the first couple of lapped cars didn't give me problems but the farther you get up the field the better the cars are and they were starting to hold us up. He's a good racer and he's never going to give up. In a 30-lap race, you better watch out for the whole 30 laps. He left me enough room. He wants to beat you, but he'll do it clean, too."
Schatz knew that once the caution flew with 20 laps down his job got a little tougher, especially after he had just pulled even with Pittman. With only 10 laps to grab the victory, he had to make his own groove to keep pace.
"I don't think you saw me follow him into the corner one time in the whole race," said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. "That's an attribute to this team working in the heat, getting this racecar good. It would roll the bottom, it would roll the middle and it would roll the top. That's the just way I race. I let him go at the start. The box start gives the guy on the outside a good run and he won the start. I had to beat him in lapped traffic. He hit lapped traffic perfect when we first got in it. We got started moving around and worked our way through there and got right to him and the yellow came out. That's just the way it is. It's part of racing. We're awful lucky some nights to get ourselves qualified in a position to get us on the front. He's in the same boat. He got lucky he hit lapped traffic when he did. I know we have a better car, we just don't want to show it yet I guess.
While winning is always the main object in any race, getting locked into one of the top four spots in the dash on the finale is a secondary goal.
"That's all we wanted to do," said Schatz, who started on the outside of the front row in the dash and on the pole for the feature on a night when the temperatures nearly hit 100 degrees. "I wanted to be locked into the front row. I didn't want to be in the second row. I knew going in on the start, as easy as the start was for me in the dash, that I was in trouble on the bottom. That's something that's going to continue to go on. You got to try to lay back and get on the outside for the start of the feature because you definitely have an advantage out there. Some nights are like that and on smaller tracks it's even more important. The guy gets a little run on you and there's nothing you can do with the speed when he goes by. It's a good night. It's hot and we're ready to go back to the motel and take a shower.
As Pittman and Schatz were engaged in their own battle for the lead, Haudenschild and Tatnell were thrilling the crowd with their own back-and-forth tussle. Haudenschild was on the cushion as Tatnell tried to power in front on the bottom. With cars buzzing all around, the same caution that helped Pittman with Schatz nearly cost Haudenschild his position in his fight with Tatnell.
"Brooke got me on the restart and I think he was a little quicker than I was at the end of the race," said Haudenschild, of Wooster, Ohio. "I was good in the middle of the race. Tomorrow is 40 laps so we have another 10 laps and hopefully we can knock one off.
"The Rick Wright car felt good. It was handling good and we got a good starting spot in the dash. We just kind of held in there. We wanted to finish the race, that was the main thing. We needed to get locked in for Saturday."
Tatnell was frustrated, knowing his car was working well but unable to show it with cars racing through every groove.
"That was the biggest problem, we couldn't get by him," said Tatnell, a native of San Souci, NSW, Australia who is now residing not far from Princeton in Minnesota. "I think if we could have got by him we had something maybe for Donny but we didn't have anything for Daryn."
On the final restart, Tatnell found himself in a tough spot. Running fourth, he wanted to try to get past Haudenschild but knew he couldn't surrender his position to Solwold, who was working hard to get into the top four.
"I'd be happy to be locked in if we knew exactly where we are with the car," Tatnell said. "We're close. When I'm by myself I can flow and get the car to wing down, but I was a little tight on the cushion when I was behind Haud. We just had to make sure we stayed locked in rather than make a mistake trying to get by Haud."
Chad Blonde was impressive all night, winding up sixth in the TCL Auto Collision Maxim, followed by Terry McCarl's Big Game Treestands Eagle, Joey Saldana's Mopar-powered Dodge/Curb Records JEI, Jeremy Campbell's Americas Best Value Inn Maxim and Craig Dollansky's Karavan Trailers/Team Race Chic Maxim. Dollansky, who hails from nearby Elk River, Minn., made a strong recovery after needing a new tire during the caution with 20 laps complete.
POLYDOME PRINCETON NATIONALS NIGHT ONE
* FAST QUALIFIER: Jason Solwold paced the 40 cars in time trials with an AMB i.t.-timed lapped around the 1/4-mile high-banked oval at 10.786 seconds. Because the PolyDome Princeton Nationals, is a multi-day show with varying championship point totals on each night, no qualifying bonus points are awarded. Craig Dollanksy holds the track record of 10.138 seconds set on May 21, 2004.
* QUALIFYING EVENT WINNERS: Heat race winners included: Mean 15 drivers Becca Anderson, Justin Henderson, and Jason Martin, as well as Paul McMahan. -- Sye Anderson won the C-Main. -- Craig Dollansky won the B-Main. -- Donny Schatz picked up the win in the dash.
* FEATURE WINNERS: There have been 14 different winners in 37 A-feature events to visit the RacinSoles Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws this season. The win list includes: Donny Schatz (March 9 at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 31 at Batesville Speedway, April 1 at I-55 Raceway, May 16 at Grandview Speedway, May 30 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, June 18 at Red River Valley Speedway, June 30 at 81 Speedway, July 18 at Lernerville Speedway, July 23 at Lebanon Valley Speedway, and July 25 at Fulton Speedway), Joey Saldana (Feb.10 at Volusia, June 4 at Terre Haute, June 23 at Knoxville Raceway, July 1 at Dodge City Raceway Park, July 13 at Limaland Motorsports Park, and July 15 at Eldora Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (May 6 at U.S. 36 Raceway, May 20 at Sharon Speedway, June 14 at The Raceway @ Powercom Park, and July 7 at Lawrenceburg Speedway), Craig Dollansky (April 15 at Tri-State Speedway, June 4 at Eldora Speedway, and July 14 at Eldora Speedway), Brooke Tatnell (May 7 at Huset's Speedway, May 29 at Orange County Fair Speedway, and July 8 at I-55 Raceway), Daryn Pittman (June 10 at Eagle Raceway and July 22 at Williams Grove), Sammy Swindell (April 8 at Eldora Speedway and March 10 at the Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway), Dean Jacobs (May 31 at Lernerville Speedway), Chad Kemenah (Feb. 9 at Volusia), Danny Lasoski (March 3 at Manzanita), Terry McCarl (July 3 at Huset's Speedway), Paul McMahan (March 4 at USA Race Park), Fred Rahmer (May 27 at Williams Grove), and Kevin Swindell (May 24 at The Dirt at Lowe's Motor Speedway).
* PRELIMINARY FEATURE WINNERS: There have been seven preliminary features run this season by the World of Outlaws. The winners list included: Daryn Pittman who won the prelim night at Eagle Raceway on June 9, and at Princeton Speedway on July 28, Donny Schatz who won the prelim night June 17 at Red River Valley, Fred Rahmer, who won the prelim night on May 26 at Williams Grove Speedway and Sammy Swindell, who won the prelim night on April 7 at Eldora Speedway, Terry McCarl who won the prelim night at Williams Grove on July 20, and Craig Dollansky who won the prelim night at Williams Grove on July 21,
* QUARTER-MILE WINNERS: Princeton Speedway is a high-banked quarter-mile track. The World of Outlaws have raced on a track that size four times this season including preliminary features. The winners list include: Craig Dollansky at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind. on April 15, Jac Haudenschild at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway on July 7, Joey Saldana at Limaland Motorsports Park on July 13, and Daryn Pittman at Princeton Speedway on July 28.
* ON TELEVISION: The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on August 2 the Kings Royal from Eldora Speedway. The Outdoor Channel is available nationwide through the DISH Network (Channel 153) and DIRECTV (Channel 606).