Pittman Primed to Take to the Track at Heartland Park Topeka Topeka, KS-- September 12, 2008--While Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas is not really a home track event for Daryn Pittman, it is a race that he always marks on the calendar, and a...
Pittman Primed to Take to the Track at Heartland Park Topeka
Topeka, KS-- September 12, 2008--While Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas is not really a home track event for Daryn Pittman, it is a race that he always marks on the calendar, and a track that he has done very well at over the years. The native of Owasso, Oklahoma has been close to winning at Heartland Park Topeka with the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series a couple of times in his career, including last season when he finished a career-best third.
Pittman will have a chance to chase that elusive first career win at Heartland Park Topeka this weekend as the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series makes their second consecutive trip to the always racy 3/8-mile on Saturday, September 13. It will mark the third and final race of the season in Kansas this season for the series.
"I always enjoy going there," said Pittman, who drives the Titan Garages Maxim. "We're glad we get to go back two years in a row. I'm looking forward to this weekend for sure."
Pittman is one of just a handful of Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series drivers that competed on the temporary ¼-mile at Heartland Park Topeka that was laid out on the drag strip, as well as the new permanent 3/8-mile track. He scored his first Top-10 finish at the track in 1999 on the ¼-mile and was sixth in the inaugural event on the 3/8-mile in 2001.
"Everything is different than running on the drag strip," he shared. "That was definitely a unique one-a-kind race track. The new place is awesome. They did a great job when they decided to build a place with the size and the shape. It's a beautiful facility and the track is optimal for good racing. I don't think we have ever been there and it's not been a good race."
In his career, Pittman has four Top-10 finishes at Heartland Park Topeka, including the podium finish last season. In that event, he won the third heat race to earn a spot in the Crane Cams Dash where he finished fourth to earn a second-row starting spot in the A-Feature. He worked his way to second by the halfway point of that 35-lap contest and battled Tim Shaffer late in the race for the runner-up spot.
"I have always gone pretty well there," he noted. "We even ran a few Gumout shows there a few years back. It just kind of fits our deal. It's wide and a good race track. Bottom line there is that if you are faster than a guy, you can pass them. That's becoming hard to find nowadays. There are always multiple grooves there. The flatter placed generally make you search around the race track more."
With 35 tough laps awaiting him and his 23 fellow competitors, Pittman points out that having a car that operates well in lapped traffic will be very important. In the most recent World of Outlaws event at Clay County Fair Speedway in Iowa on Wednesday night, the race went 30 laps non-stop from green to checkers, putting the leaders in traffic for most of the race.
"Traffic always comes into play on half-miles, let alone 3/8-miles," he said. "I almost call that place a small 3/8's at that. It's fast, but you get into traffic pretty quick with 24 cars filling the track up."
Pittman heads to Heartland Park with four wins on the season, including in the $50,000 Kings Royal at the famed Eldora Speedway. He also was victorious on the opening night of the Summer Nationals at the legendary Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania. He has one win on a 3/8-mile track, with that coming at Wilmot Speedway in Wisconsin, which is also a flat, wide track, very similar to Heartland Park Topeka. With the 2008 season winding down, Pittman has one goal down the stretch.
"We just need to win races," he deadpanned. "We stopped counting points about a month into the season because we were in such a hole. We haven't really been able to do anything consistently and we need to win races. We're back there so far points-wise, that it just doesn't matter. The only thing that can keep the morale and team spirit high is to win races and build for next year."
After competing six times in an eight day period to wrap up the 2008 Gold Rush Tour, Pittman and his team traveled nearly 1,800 miles to Clay County Fair Speedway for Wednesday night's event. After the Missouri High-Banked Nationals were rained out on Friday night, the weekend will wrap up for the World of Outlaws with consecutive events at Heartland Park Topeka and Lucas Oil Speedway on Saturday and Sunday. Then his team will have a week to catch their breath before the final East Coast swing of the season.
"It was a big effort for the whole West Coast swing," said the veteran driver. "I think it was the busiest trip west that we have ever done. Then Chico (Silver Dollar Speedway) to Spencer, Iowa was no small jaunt. We have a busy weekend this weekend. I am real proud of them, and we are getting slower at this time of the year with the schedule so they be able to get caught up."
Only 15 races remain on the 2008 calendar as Pittman and his team head to Heartland Park Topeka for Saturday's events, which still leaves him plenty of chances to add to his four wins this season.
"I enjoy racing," noted Pittman. "The more we race every week, the better off we are. I am going to be a little disappointed when this weekend ends, because it will pretty much bring a close to our mid-week racing. We only have a couple left before we just race on the weekends. We'll see if we can't get a few more wins before the year is out."
On Saturday, September 13 at Heartland Park Topeka, General admission tickets will be $30 in advance and $35 the day of the race, with reserved tickets $33 in advance and $38 the day of the race. For ticket information 1-800-43RACES or visit: www.hpt.com.