Wichita race report

Daryn Pittman Cruises to World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory in Wichita Wichita, KS -- April 23, 2005 -- It had been so long since his last World of Outlaws Sprint Series victory that even Daryn Pittman wondered whether he would win ...

Daryn Pittman Cruises to World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory in Wichita

Wichita, KS -- April 23, 2005 -- It had been so long since his last World of Outlaws Sprint Series victory that even Daryn Pittman wondered whether he would win again.

But in the Wichita Twister Showdown Saturday night at 81 Speedway, the Mean 15 driver erased any doubts with a dominating performance in his Titan Racing USA machine. Pittman was the fastest qualifier, he won the Stacker 2® Dash and drove away from Steve Kinser on a restart in the main event with six laps to go for his first A-main feature victory since winning Aug. 3, 2003.

The victory Saturday night also marks the first win on the World of Outlaws Sprint Series circuit for car owner and Australia native Reeve Kruck.

Following Pittman and Kinser to the checkered flag were Brooke Tatnell, Jason Meyers, Kraig Kinser, Danny Lasoski and Paul McMahan.

"They're all good, but this win ranks probably as high as my first one," said Pittman, whose troubled 19th-place run Friday at Outlaw Motor Speedway made leading all 35 laps Saturday for the $10,000 victory all the more sweet as the series next heads to historic Knoxville Raceway. "It's been so long since we won a race. I've had a lot of really good people stay behind me throughout that whole time. They probably wondered if we were ever going to win another one, and it had entered my mind a lot, too. It would probably rank up there in the top two or three."

On each of the five restarts, including two before a lap could be completed, Pittman quickly built an advantage. But like Friday night, a late-race caution threatened to change the almost certain outcome. One night earlier, Steve Kinser restarted behind front-runner Meyers with three laps to go and stole the victory by locking into a low groove while Meyers ran the top.

Saturday night, with six laps left, a caution followed by a red flag waved when second-place running Joey Saldana ran out of fuel. To that point, Pittman had been nearly untouchable in the high groove on the 3/8-mile oval, but the caution turned the feature into a 6-lap sprint. Pittman saw on the scoreboard that Kinser had moved into second, but Pittman's crew chief, Glenno Inglis, knew that unlike Friday, Kinser couldn't make up ground on the bottom of the track and relayed the information to Pittman.

"I just more or less said to Daryn, 'Stay on the top. He's never going to get you on the top,'" Inglis said. "The only way he was going to get by us was in lapped traffic, which we were getting close to."

So on the restart, Pittman pinched the field to the bottom of the track and then surged to the high side in Turns 1 and 2, keeping Kinser about six car-lengths behind.

"I knew the top wasn't going to be good for the restarts because I was afraid I'd spin the tires too much, and there was quite a bit of moisture on the starts on the bottom," said Pittman, an Owasso, Okla.-native whose last main event victory came in Beaver Dam, Wis., but was followed up later in 2003 with a preliminary feature win at Texas Motor Speedway. "Normally if you can pinch guys around the [bottom of the track] it's awfully hard for them to roll into the throttle behind you. When Steve's behind you, you know he's going to lay back about three or four car lengths and get a run on you. So I tried to go early enough before he even thought I was going to so if he was still three car-lengths back, maybe I'd have five on him at the [start line]. I figured that's what I was going to need to stay ahead of him. I felt good. I could keep the tires underneath me all the way down the front chute. I knew as long as we did that we'd be tough to beat going into Turn 1."

Kinser admitted he was slow to react to the fastest lane around the speedway. With Pittman pulling Saldana and Tatnell around the high side of the track for most of the first 26 laps, Kinser tried running in a middle groove but couldn't gain ground.

"I was trying down there, but that's what got me down to fourth," said Kinser, a Bloomington, Ind.-native who won his 518th feature Friday. "I messed around trying to run the bottom. Daryn was down there blocking me the first time, if I had known the top was that fast then, I should have gone up there and drove around him. But I stayed there and dropped to fourth. I just ran a bad race.

"It was just so fast around the top, there wasn't any place I could pass. I knew I wasn't going to catch him in a 6-lap run so I just sort of hung in there with no lapped traffic and I knew I was done. Once you get passed by one car down there and then let another get by, I was about to let three or four go by. I just hung in there too long."

Despite his team's belief that Kinser couldn't catch him, Pittman still pushed as hard as possible until the checkered flag waved to ensure the victory.

"He's just so good," Pittman said of the 19-time champion. "Honestly, as much as you hate to admit it, it's almost like he has you beat. When you look up at the board and see that's who is behind you, you know he's coming. I knew he was back to fourth or fifth at one time, and then to look up and see he was second right behind me on that last restart, I thought, 'This isn't good, either.' But I just tried to buckle down and say forget it, he's just another car, make your laps and make him earn it to get by you. He's tough to pass, and probably tougher to keep behind you."

Pittman earned the pole for the feature by rolling to victory in the Stacker 2® Dash, while Steve Kinser secured the outside front-row position after grabbing the second Dash.

In the B-main, Terry McCarl outlasted an early four-car battle and opened a huge lead to earn the win.

In the first heat race, Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award contender Tim Kaeding picked up the victory while Pittman had to work to finish in a transfer position. In the second heat, Jason Sides charged in front going into Turn 1 and built a massive lead to take the checkered flag as Saldana outlasted Stevie Smith for the final transfer spot. In the third heat, Brandon Wimmer, another rookie contender, jumped out to a full-turn lead and extended it to the checkered flag.

Pittman paced the 31-car field with a lap around the 3/8-mile oval in 13.485 seconds. Steve Kinser's 13.395-second run on Oct. 16, 2004, remains the track record in a World of Outlaws event.

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series moves to historic Knoxville Raceway Friday and Saturday in Knoxville, Iowa, before heading May 6 to Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Mo., May 7 to Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill., and May 9 to Tri-State Speedway in Pocola, Okla.

All the action from 81 Speedway can be seen at 8 p.m. ET May 4 on The Outdoor Channel. At 8 p.m. on April 27, The Outdoor Channel will broadcast coverage of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series race from Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind. In addition, the race Friday night from Outlaw Motor Speedway can be seen at 7 p.m. ET April 27 on a Dirtvision Cybercast. For more information, go to http://www.dirtvision.com.


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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Danny Lasoski , Steve Kinser , Brooke Tatnell , Daryn Pittman , Jason Meyers , Jason Sides , Joey Saldana , Kraig Kinser , Paul McMahan , Tim Kaeding