Thunderbowl race report 2005-02-25

Shaffer Captures Wild World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory At Thunderbowl Raceway Tulare, CA -- February 25, 2005 -- One of the most exciting aspects of sprint car racing is that in the blink of an eye everything can change. Exciting for the...

Shaffer Captures Wild World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory At Thunderbowl Raceway

Tulare, CA -- February 25, 2005 -- One of the most exciting aspects of sprint car racing is that in the blink of an eye everything can change.

Exciting for the fans, anyway.

In a split second, Tim Shaffer went from trying to figure out how to get around leader Tim Kaeding in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series "A" Feature Friday night at Thunderbowl Raceway to wondering what he was going to say in Victory Lane after capturing the $10,000-to-win event.

Five laps from the finish, Kaeding was in command behind the wheel of the No. 83 Beef Packers car owned by Californian Dennis Roth, who also was promoting the event. Kaeding had posted the sixth fastest time in qualifying and earned the pole by winning a dash. Since taking over the top seat on Roth's team last fall, Kaeding has wanted nothing more than to give Roth his first Outlaws "A" Feature victory in his home state.

A storybook finish was nearly complete, too. Kaeding, a San Jose native, was holding off Shaffer and Donny Schatz when he hit Turn 2 on Lap 31. Traffic was ahead of him, but Kaeding had been strong throughout the race, darting high and low as needed at speeds in excess of 100 mph on the 1/3-mile high-banked oval.

Then all of a sudden the lapped car of Brian Coelho bobbled in front of him, and it was over in an instant. Kaeding made contact with Coelho's car and flipped. Shaffer was on Kaeding's tail, but managed to escape with the lead and only minor damage to his front wing. Kaeding climbed out and walked away, too disappointed to talk about what might have been.

Shaffer got a big jump on the restart and held off Schatz to win by less than a second as the hard-charging Dennis Moore Jr. raced his way from a 14th-starting position to finish third.

Although he was disappointed for Kaeding, Shaffer certainly was thrilled for his car owner, Lonny Parsons. Shaffer had begun the 2004 season in the Roth Motorsports seat that Kaeding occupied Friday night. After switching teams in June, Shaffer put Parsons in Victory Lane for the first time last October. Earning a second win so early in the 2005 campaign confirms the direction he and Parsons are headed.

"We had a lot of luck tonight," said Shaffer, an Aliquippa, Pa., native and a former champion at Lernerville Speedway. "I was in the right place at the right time. We'll take it. Lonny Parsons and this Casey's General Stores car have been a great deal. The boys have been working hard. We're working together and we're having fun. When you get the breaks to go your way, you can make things happen."

Shaffer got his share of breaks, too. Starting fourth, he was able to hang in the lead pack for the entire race. He lost second to Paul McMahan on Lap 10 and was about to be under attack from Jason Meyers when McMahan spun into the infield after colliding with Sean Becker's lapped car.

Shaffer took advantage and pressed Kaeding as top qualifier Schatz joined the mix. The three circled the tacky and fast track nose-to-tail and pulled away from the field. By Lap 29 the three were navigating heavy traffic as Moore charged into fourth.

Then came the fateful slip by Coelho that turned Kaeding's fairy tale into a nightmare.

"The car got a little out of shape and it doesn't take long at the speeds we're going," said Shaffer, the 1999 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. "[Kaeding] got collected up in it unfortunately. He was doing a great job but that's the way it goes sometimes."

Steve Kinser surged into the fourth spot after a battle with fifth-place finisher Jason Solwold, who led early but jumped the cushion on Lap 9 and was not able to contend afterward. Solwold was followed by Craig Dollansky, Meyers and Shane Stewart.

To earn the pole, Kaeding overtook Terry McCarl in the first dash while Solwold dominated the second dash to win the outside pole.

In the B-Main, Moore quickly grabbed the lead from pole-sitter Danny Lasoski and drove off with the victory. But his win was overshadowed by Brian Paulus' scary crash on Lap 3. Paulus was battling Jason Sides for third when he went into the Turn 1 and caught a bump in the track. His No. 28 Maxim flipped twice, damaging both wings. Paulus was able to walk away but he needed a provisional to start the feature.

With Paulus unable to make repairs in time to rejoin the B-Main, Kevin Swindell took advantage and put Roth's second Beef Packers car into the feature event with a fourth-place finish behind Moore, Lasoski and Sides.

Heat race winners included Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award contender Brandon Wimmer, Tulare native Coelho, California star Ricci Faria and Australian Peter Murphy.

Schatz set the pace for the night with a fast time of 13.337 seconds, or more than 104 mph.

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series action from Thunderbowl Raceway can be seen on The Outdoor Channel at 8 p.m. Eastern March 9.

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series will race Feb. 26 at Bakersfield Speedway before heading March 4-5 to Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix for the Cactus Classic and March 10-11 to The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the J.D. Byrider World of Outlaws Nationals.

Even if fans can't get to the track while the series is racing in the western part of the country, they can experience the excitement of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series live on through the new DIRT Radio Network. To listen to the audio broadcasts, log on to and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo. The broadcast Feb. 26 begins at 10 p.m. Eastern. Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to hear to the DIRT Radio Network. Companies who are interested in advertising on the new DIRT Radio Network should contact Mark Noble, DIRT MotorSports VP Sales and Marketing, at 719-884-2141. For technical support or questions, e-mail


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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Kevin Swindell , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Craig Dollansky , Brian Paulus , Jason Meyers , Jason Sides , Paul McMahan , Shane Stewart , Tim Kaeding , Peter Murphy