Talladega: Preliminary report

TALLADEGA, AL (April 19) - Strong performances in preliminary features powered Danny Lasoski to the 2001 Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship. "The Dude" tightened the points race with his second preliminary feature victory of the year ...

TALLADEGA, AL (April 19) - Strong performances in preliminary features powered Danny Lasoski to the 2001 Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series championship. "The Dude" tightened the points race with his second preliminary feature victory of the year Friday at the Talladega Short Track.

Lasoski, who started the feature next to Brad Furr on the front row, passed the pole-sitter late in the 10th lap on his way to the $5,000 victory. "The Dude" also won the preliminary feature at Houston Raceway Park March 23rd. He closed to within six points of second-place Steve Kinser in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series driver standings.

"We knew starting on the outside wasn't really the place to be tonight, but (crew chief) Jimmy Carr gave me a great race car, and the Eagle Chassis and Hoosier Tires got us where we needed to be," Lasoski said. "Paul Kistler built us a great motor, and having the best Winston Cup driver out there (Tony Stewart) as a car owner makes it all happen."

Lasoski, the ninth-fastest qualifier in the 34-car field, won every race he entered - the First Heat Race, the Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash and the 30-lap preliminary feature.

Furr, who won the First O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash, drove his #2 Sanmina/SCI Eagle into the lead as the green flag fell in the evening's main event. Shane Stewart, who won the preliminary feature at the Talladega Short Track last October 19th, passed Steve Kinser for third place with a high move between turns one and two early in the opening lap. Fast-qualifier Tim Shaffer used a similar move to pass Kinser for fourth place the next time around.

Stewart, riding the rim around the semi-banked, 1/3-mile oval, raced around Lasoski entering turn three late in the fifth lap, then challenged Furr for the lead in the first two corners two laps later.

Furr, Stewart and Lasoski were nose-to-tail when they raced into lapped traffic midway through the eighth lap. Danny Wood, back in the #6 Casey's General Stores Maxim after suffering a concussion a week earlier, collided with Fourth Heat Race winner Wayne Johnson and spun in turn four early in lap eight, bringing out the caution flag and opening the track ahead of the leaders.

"The Dude" took advantage of the restart, passing Stewart for second place with an inside move between the third and fourth corners. Lasoski continued his run to the front one lap later, steering the #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle deep in turn three to pass Furr for the lead. Stewart raced around Furr high in the first corner to take over the runner-up spot early in lap 11.

Tyler Walker brought out the second caution flag when the #35 C&W Motorsports Eagle spun out of turn two early in the 12th lap. Kinser, whose crew replaced the rear end in his #11 Quaker State Maxim before the First Heat Race, took the high line through the third and fourth corners to pass Shaffer for fourth place two laps later after the green flag replaced the yellow.

"B" Feature winner Stevie Smith and Randy Hannagan tangled in turn four late in the 15th lap. A blown engine in the #5 Wirtgen America Maxim forced Jac Haudenschild to stop in the fourth corner as the race resumed. Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Mark Kinser, who raced into sixth place from outside the fifth row in the first half of the race, stopped with a flat right front tire during the caution period.

Lasoski controlled the ensuing restart, only to have Stewart catch him in lapped traffic during lap 23. "The Dude" increased his advantage to five car-lengths in dense traffic within two laps, however, and took the checkered flag with eight car-lengths to spare.

"We'll just have to watch and see what happens (to the racing surface) tomorrow," Lasoski said. "I'm sure the track will change a bunch and, hopefully, we'll be back here in victory lane."

Steve Kinser and Shaffer raced wheel-to-wheel toward the checkered flag in their battle for fourth place. "The King of the Outlaws" won the front-straightaway drag race, but they collided, sending the #83 Beef Packers Eagle spinning into the tire barriers outside the first corner.

Furr finished in third place, ahead of Kinser, Shaffer, Schatz, Paul McMahan, Craig Keel, Johnny Herrera and Third Heat Race winner Daryn Pittman.

Keel and Pittman each passed 13 cars, Keel racing into eighth place from inside the 11th row and the defending World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion starting inside the 12th row and finishing 10th.

Shaffer set quick-time for the first time this season, circling the semi-banked, 1/3-mile oval in 11.792 seconds, an average speed of 101.764 m.p.h. Shaffer's fifth-place finish in the feature pushed him into fifth place in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series point standings.

-WoO-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Tim Shaffer , Brad Furr , Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Steve Kinser , Tyler Walker , Paul McMahan , Randy Hannagan , Shane Stewart , Jac Haudenschild , Wayne Johnson , Johnny Herrera