Tri-City race report 2005-05-07

Meyers Masters Tri-City for World of Outlaws Sprint Series Win Granite City, IL -- May 7, 2005 -- After several close encounters with Victory Lane this season, Jason Meyers was not going to be denied Saturday night at Tri-City Speedway. Meyers...

Meyers Masters Tri-City for World of Outlaws Sprint Series Win

Granite City, IL -- May 7, 2005 -- After several close encounters with Victory Lane this season, Jason Meyers was not going to be denied Saturday night at Tri-City Speedway.

Meyers picked up his first World of Outlaws Sprint Series victory in 2005 after passing Sammy Swindell at the halfway point of the 30-lap feature and locking his car into the low groove to take the checkered flag in a feature worth $10,000.

With leader Swindell running a consistent line, Meyers took advantage of building rubber in Turns 3 and 4 by diving to the inside of Swindell on Lap 16. Swindell couldn't block the aggressive move in Turn 3 as Meyers shot in front and made the lead stick in Turns 1 and 2.

After that, Meyers needed only to be smooth on restarts and work through some light traffic. After lapping rookie contender Brandon Wimmer, Meyers built a 2.5-second advantage as Swindell and third-place runner Kraig Kinser struggled to carve a path around Wimmer.

But Meyers would be tested four laps from the finish when the left rear tire on Jason Solwold's machine shredded, bringing out a caution for debris. It left many of the teams nervous about the condition of their own tires, and Meyers pondering the late-race caution a couple of weeks ago in Muskogee, Okla., when he was leading with two laps to go and couldn't fend off Steve Kinser's attack from second.

This time, Meyers went right back to what had put him in front and again powered out to the lead. With rubber laying down in the turns, Meyers made certain to stick his Elite Racing Team car right in the middle of it, preventing anybody from getting around him.

Swindell wound up second followed by Kraig Kinser, Tim Shaffer and Jason Sides, who put together his best finish of the season with consistent laps all night.

"On that last restart, I made sure I got to the rubber and took off right in it," said Meyers, of Clovis, Calif. "I tried to take off as early as I could without getting in trouble to have as much speed as I could going into Turn 1. The last thing I wanted to do is go into Turn 1, get tight in the rubber and let somebody slip by me."

Meyers was unaware Swindell and the rest of the lead pack was hung up behind the lapped car. He believed Swindell was ready to pounce at any moment.

"I didn't know that lapped car was between us," Meyers said. "I saw Sammy poke his nose under me at one point and then I got by Wimmer. When I got by Wimmer going into Turn 3, I assumed that Sammy had gotten around him, too. I guess from the crew standpoint they got to relax a little bit but I didn't get to relax in the racecar, I had to stay going hard."

Swindell, Kinser, Shaffer and Sides did slide past Wimmer on that final restart, but none had a chance to reel in Meyers.

"I was out front just going along and the track changed and it was too late," said Swindell, a three-time series champion from Germantown, Tenn. "When Jason got there I had to back off from running over him. He dove right in under me. The track changed and it got better down there but I didn't know that because we never really got to lapped cars. I passed one guy before that and we just never got in any traffic. If you're out front, you usually don't change your line. We were keeping a pretty good pace but a lot of guys got to running through the middle and it got rubber down and it got a whole lot better there. He was able to find it, got down there and snuck right in there on me. I never had a chance to defend myself.

"I still think once I got behind him I was able to push him pretty good. If he made just a little mistake I could have gotten by him."

But it was a mistake-free feature for Meyers, who gained a measure of redemption after finishing second April 22 at Outlaw Motor Speedway in Muskogee, Okla.

"The difference between tonight and Muskogee is tonight I had a great racecar," said Meyers, who moves back into third place in the series standings with his win. "The confidence was up, the car was great. I had come from behind those guys and drove by them so I knew what they had for racecars.

"I was actually very thankful for the [caution with four to go]. We were coming up on lapped traffic that was really thick and I didn't think I'd be able to get through it. For me, it was a relief to have open track. I didn't know how close to the end we were but I knew we had to be close."

Kinser's third-place run was made all the more remarkable after he got into the wall in Turn 1 on the first lap but was able to keep his car moving. An ensuing crash that developed in Turn 2 with cars scrambling from top to bottom resulted in a red flag with Brooke Tatnell's machine on its side. That break allowed Kinser to calm down and refocus on the feature.

"First of all, I learned what not to do," said Kinser, the 2004 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award winner from Bloomington, Ind. "That red flag kind of helped us because I had my crew near the wall and they told me everything's OK. It really wasn't a cushion you can lean on. It was kind of dust up there. I just drove in a little too hard. I went in behind Sides and Shaffer and there just wasn't any air there. When I went into the turn, I just couldn't turn. I didn't have my speed up enough and went up and tapped the wall. It was lucky because I thought we were going to back into it and destroy something."

With no laps down, a complete restart didn't benefit Shaffer, who had one of the fastest cars for the second night in a row.

"We were great all night until the feature," said Shaffer, who won Friday at Lake Ozark Speedway. "It doesn't make sense. We had such a good car that [finishing fourth] is disappointing."

After the red flag on the first lap, Meyers restarted from the inside of the second row. He again charged into second with Shaffer, Kinser and Sides in tow, and that group never was threatened during the feature.

"Meyers was really good on the bottom and he got by a bunch of us at the start. We followed Kraig through there and rode it out," said Sides, of Bartlett, Tenn. "The track rubbered up and we just held our own. Once you hit that rubber, it's just a drag race. You're not going to risk trying to pass somebody for one position or you might lose four positions because of the rubber."

In the Stacker 2® Dash, Swindell charged into the lead to win his second pole of the season as Meyers slid around the inside of Kraig Kinser to finish second with Shane Stewart, Danny Lasoski and fast-qualifier Travis Rilat making up the rest of the top six starting positions on the inside row of the A-main.

In the second Dash, Shaffer picked up where he left off Friday night and locked his car to the bottom of the track and drove off to victory with Sides, Paul McMahan, Joey Saldana, Donny Schatz and Daryn Pittman securing the top six starting positions in the outside row of the feature.

In the B-main, Terry McCarl, who was second fastest in time trials, led all 10 laps with Brooke Tatnell and Craig Dollansky in tow. Joey Moughan, Jim Moughan and Derek O'Dell also advanced to the feature.

In the first heat race, pole-sitter Steve Kinser got the jump coming off of Turn 4 and led the entire way. In the battle for the sixth and final transfer position to the feature, Rilat spun in Turn 4 with three laps down and collected Brooke Tatnell and Kevin Swindell. Rilat kept his car running and restarted in fifth while Swindell held off Tatnell to earn the final transfer spot.

In the second heat, Donny Schatz led flag-to-flag but the action behind him was wild. Shane Stewart and Jason Solwold fought for second while Jason Sides advanced with a fourth-place run. Paul McMahan fended off a surging Brian Paulus, who grabbed the last transfer spot from Terry McCarl with a bold move on the outside in Turns 1 and 2 on Lap 3.

In the third heat, Tim Shaffer surged into second as the green flag waved and grabbed the lead from pole-sitter Brandon Wimmer coming off of Turn 4 to complete the first lap. The top six then pulled away with Wimmer, Tim Kaeding, Joey Saldana, Sammy Swindell and Jason Meyers advancing to the A-main.

Travis Rilat, who Friday night became the fourth different driver this year in the Rick Wright-owned No 35 car, paced the 27-car field with a lap around the 1/2-mile oval in 16.819 seconds at 107.022 mph. Mark Kinser established the single-lap record of 15.917 seconds on June 16, 1999.

"This is a new car we're trying out," said Rilat, of Forney, Texas. "It's a little different. [Friday] night we were pretty horrible to start but after we got the car figured out it was pretty nice for the A-main. I hadn't run any 410 stuff this year, other than Australia, and it took me a little while to really get the car going, but I think we got the right guys here. If you get the right people together with the right chemistry anything can work. This car hasn't really gone that good this year, but I think we can make it happen."

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series heads May 9 to Tri-State Speedway in Pocola, Okla., before hitting K-C Raceway May 14 in Chillicothe, Ohio, for The Ohio Challenge with the All Star Circuit of Champions.

All the action from Tri-City Speedway can be seen at 8 p.m. ET May 18 on The Outdoor Channel. At 8 p.m. on May 11, The Outdoor Channel will broadcast coverage of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series event from Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa.

-woo-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Mark Kinser , Kevin Swindell , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Craig Dollansky , Brian Paulus , Brooke Tatnell , Daryn Pittman , Jason Meyers , Jason Sides , Joey Saldana , Kraig Kinser , Paul McMahan , Shane Stewart , Travis Rilat , Joey Moughan , Tim Kaeding