Tucson race report 2006-03-04

Paul McMahan Dashes To World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory In Tucson Tucson -- March 4, 2006 -- The only guarantee in World of Outlaws Sprint Series racing action is that there is no guarantee. Paul McMahan timed in with the 15th fastest...

Paul McMahan Dashes To World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory In Tucson

Tucson -- March 4, 2006 -- The only guarantee in World of Outlaws Sprint Series racing action is that there is no guarantee.

Paul McMahan timed in with the 15th fastest car in the 46-car field. Donny Schatz was third quick. But by the time the dashes rolled around to set the top six rows for the main event Saturday night in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series' inaugural appearance at first-rate United Sports Arizona Race Park, the six-car fields were completely inverted.

That gave McMahan a golden opportunity to thrill the packed grandstands at the flat and fast 3/8-mile oval in Tucson, and he cashed it in. After three of the top 12 cars couldn't transfer through their heats, McMahan was in the second dash, with the invert putting him on the pole.

"Any time you're out front it's always good," said McMahan, a California native who resides in Nashville. "It's the first time we've been here so none of us knew what to expect. It's actually a real racy race joint. It's a beautiful facility and it holds a lot of people, that's the major thing because we need to get a lot of fans to come to all our races. We got to keep these fans happy and keep them coming back."

He captured the dash in the Tony Stewart Motorsports Mopar-powered Bass Pro Shops Eagle, earning him a starting spot on the outside of the front row of the main event. When the green flag waved on the feature, McMahan rode the cushion in Turns 3 and 4 and shot down the frontstretch past pole-sitter Johnny Herrera. McMahan then built his advantage by weaving through traffic during a 25-lap green-flag run.

Cars buzzed through every groove during the long run, but none more than Schatz's ParkerStore J&J and Daryn Pittman's Titan Garages & Carports Maxim. Schatz started the feature 12th on the grid with Pittman a row behind in the 13th spot. They both picked through the crowd, going high and low before the feature's lone caution came out with five laps to go.

On the restart, McMahan had enough power -- and lapped cars between his machine and Schatz's -- to charge back into the lead and race to the checkered flag, worth $10,000 from the $51,600 purse.

"I was glad for that caution because I was in a dogfight," McMahan said. "It looked like F-16 fighters out there blowing around. I had Danny [Lasoski] and Craig [Dollansky] and Joey [Saldana] and two lapped cars and we're all just battling around trying to find a spot. They're racing for position and I'm trying to get by them so I don't get passed. The caution was kind of a blessing, but the nervous thing was wondering if second place was on my bumper now? Gaining clear track, as fast as this place was, in five laps we were already back in lapped traffic.

"I'll tell you what, this place is really a neat racetrack, I really enjoyed it -- and not only because I won. It was a neat racetrack all night long for me."

Schatz pushed hard to cut the gap but ran out of laps and settled for second. Herrera in the Indy Screen Print Avenger was able to hang in the top-five for the entire feature to finish third as season-opening winner Chad Kemenah in the Underground Utilities Inc. Eagle worked his way to fourth with Daryn Pittman in the Titan Garages & Carports Maxim earning his second top-five finish of the season.

Mean 15 rookie Justin Henderson was solid all night to finish sixth in the Dan Dan the Sonic Man/Race Girl Schnee, with Jac Haudenschild in the Wright One Construction Maxim, fast-qualifier Terry McCarl in the Big Game Treestands Eagle, Sammy Swindell in the Volcano Joe's Coffee/Wirtgen Maxim and Craig Dollansky in the Karavan Trailers J&J rounding out the top 10.

"Every night we've qualified well we get a 6 [invert] and every night we qualify poor we get a 0," said Schatz, a Mean 15 racer who last Wednesday went flying in a F/A-18B Hornet with the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team. "You don't give up, you just keep plugging away.

"Paul McMahan won that race. He started up there. If we would have had to race for it there is no question I would have beat him. He got a good start and got out there and we had to race our way through. We did an all right job. The car was really good. We learned a lot tonight on these flat racetracks that carry a lot of speed. I can't wait to get to the next one now."

For Kemenah, a fourth-place run was exactly what he needed after a heat race crash in the Cactus Classic on Friday night at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix cut short his night. Kemenah had been the championship points leader entering the World of Outlaws weekend in Arizona.

"It was a really, really fun racetrack to race on," said Kemenah, a Mean 15 racer from Findlay, Ohio. "It got wide there and had a cushion and it was probably an awesome race for the fans to see. I found the bottom in Turns 3 and 4 and was really good. On the restart I dove underneath the rear and the throttle return spring broke off and the throttle hung wide open. We'll take fourth after [Friday] night. We had a car that was quite a bit shorter than when we started. It says a lot for the team to bounce back like that.

"We've been telling ourselves since we realized we were going to do this, we won't worry about what happened last night, we'll look to the night coming up and we need to make that one be the best one."

Pittman was satisfied with his fifth-place recovery in the feature after his car was damaged in Saturday's heat-race action. Pittman is the only driver to finish in the top-10 in each of the first four World of Outlaws events this season.

"We were awesome," said Pittman, a Mean 15 racer and native of Owasso, Okla. "I feel like if we would have given ourselves a chance to start up front all night we had the car to beat. We were quick in hot laps, we were quick in qualifying, we were good in our heat race and just got together with a lapped car and it killed us.

"I think I was running 20th on the first lap because I backed up so far but we came back. We had an awesome racecar. That was a lot of fun. It's hard to get cars as good as we had all night tonight. It's a shame we couldn't take advantage of it and get a win, but to come back from 13th starting position to run fifth, and we felt like we passed some really, really good racecars and passed them in pretty good fashion. It was a good points night for us."

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series invades The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a the Las Vegas World of Outlaws Nationals, two single-day events on back-to-back nights March 9-10 in conjunction with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series weekend. The Mean 15 racers will sign autographs at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 10, in the midway near the LVMS 1.5-mile oval. After leaving Las Vegas, the Outlaws will roll March 31 into Batesville Speedway in Batesville, Ark., and April 1 into I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., just south of St. Louis.

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series is brought to the fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire and The Outdoor Channel. Promotional Partners include AMB i.t., Choice Hotels and The University of Northwestern Ohio. Contingency sponsors include DART Machinery, MSD Ignitions, and Wrisco Industries.

UNITED SPORTS ARIZONA RACE PARK NOTEBOOK

* FAST QUALIFIER: Terry McCarl, the leading qualifier in 2005, paced the 46-car field in the Big Game Treestands Eagle with a record-setting AMB i.t.-timed lap around the 3/8-mile oval in 13.127 seconds at 102.841 mph. For his qualifying effort, McCarl earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including Daryn Pittman (4), Donny Schatz (3), Randy Hannagan (2) and Jac Haudenschild (1).

* VICTORY PARADE: Paul McMahan's victory Saturday night at USA Race Park was his first World of Outlaws victory this season. By winning, McMahan became the fourth different racer in four events to visit Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws. In addition to McMahan, the win list includes Danny Lasoski (March 3 at Manzanita), Joey Saldana (Feb. 10 at Volusia) and Chad Kemenah (Feb. 9 at Volusia).

* 3/8-MILE WINNERS: United Sports Arizona Race Park features a flat and fast 3/8-mile oval. The World of Outlaws Sprint Series race Saturday night was its first this season on a track that size.

* QUALIFYING EVENTS: Johnny Herrera drove to his first World of Outlaws pole position in 2006 by taking the checkered flag in the first dash, with Jeremy Campbell, Sammy Swindell, Terry McCarl, Craig Dollansky and Randy Hannagan completing the six-lap race to fill out top six inside rows of the main event. -- Paul McMahan earned a spot on the outside of the front row after he captured the second dash, with Justin Henderson, Chad Kemenah, Jac Haudenschild, Danny Lasoski and Donny Schatz rounding out the field in the six-lap race to gain a spot in the top six outside rows of the A-feature. -- Joey Saldana, Daryn Pittman, Greg Wilson and Bill Rose raced their way from the B-main into the main event. -- Robert Gomez and Steve Stone transferred from the C-main to the B-mail. -- Heat race winners included Mean 15 racers Brooke Tatnell, Brian Carlson and Rob Chaney as well as Kevin Swindell, who was the North America Sprint Car Poll's 360 and 410 Rookie of the Year in 2005.

* SOARING SCHATZ: Mean 15 racer Donny Schatz went for the ride of his life last Wednesday in a U.S. Navy Blue Angels F/A-18B Hornet with pilot Lt. Kevin Davis. After putting both feet back on the ground at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, Calif., Schatz said, "It was a great honor to be a part of it and I'm glad I got to experience it because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity." Highlights of his ride will air on The Outdoor Channel during coverage of the Cactus Classic from Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix at 8 p.m. Eastern on March 8.

* ON TELEVISION: The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on March 8 all the action from the World of Outlaws Cactus Classic at Manzanita Speedway, as well as the coverage from Donny Schatz's ride with the Blue Angels. On March 15, The Outdoor Channel will air the event from USA Race Park in Tucson. The first show from the Las Vegas World of Outlaws Nationals will air on March 22 followed March 29 by the second event. The Outdoor Channel is available nationwide through the DISH Network (Channel 153) and DIRECTV (Channel 606).

* ON THE WEB: The Official World of Outlaws Sprint Series Web site is at www.dirtmotorsports.com/sprint. Among the features are updated driver biographies with individual statistics and pictures, race-by-race statistics, detailed track information and race coverage, series news and team press releases. Also, links to the Media Guide and 2006 Official Rulebook can be found at the bottom of the home page.

* UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws Sprint Series invades The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a the Las Vegas World of Outlaws Nationals, two single-day events on back-to-back nights March 9-10 in conjunction with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series weekend. The Mean 15 racers will sign autographs at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 10, in the midway near the LVMS 1.5-mile oval.

-woo-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Kevin Swindell , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Sammy Swindell , Craig Dollansky , Brian Carlson , Brooke Tatnell , Daryn Pittman , Joey Saldana , Paul McMahan , Randy Hannagan , Greg Wil , Bill Rose , Jac Haudenschild , Johnny Herrera , Chad Kemenah