Sunday, February 16, 2014

Schatz Wins in Spectacular Fashion

By Tyler Beichner:
Volusia Speedway Park

On another chilly night in Barberville, FL, 37 sprint car drivers gathered to contest the 2nd night of the three-day World of Outlaw opening weekend at Volusia Speedway Park.

Time trials began with a number of blistering laps being turned in the 12-second range, something that doesn't happen at the 1/2 mile speedway. With the completion of time trials we would see the familiar face of Paul McMahan on top of the speed charts. Following McMahan was Sammy Swindell, Joey Saldana, Lucas Wolfe, and Donny Schatz.

From there the drivers were lined up into four 8-lap heat races with the customary invert 4 deciding the grid. Drivers Cody Darrah, Danny Holtgraver, Daryn Pittman and Terry McCarl each won their respective heat races. Those 4 along with 6 other drivers then became eligible for the 6-lap dash that would determine the starting positions of the first 5 rows of the feature.

The dash invert draw of "6" put Daryn Pittman in prime position to pick up the dash win. Behind at the finish line was Cody Darrah, Joey Saldana, Paul McMahan, Brad Sweet, Sammy Swindell, Terry McCarl, Danny Holtgraver, Lucas Wolfe, and Dave Blaney.

The final preliminary race of the evening hit the track next when 14 cars, vying for the final 4 transfer spots, took the green in the 12-lap Last Chance Qualifier. After the dust settled and some drivers had fallen out of transfer positions due to engine failures, it was Kerry Madsen, Danny Lasoski, Brent Marks and Greg Wilson that would be granted the right to move on to the A feature.

WoO Sprints go four-wide at Volusia Speedway
The field of 24 was finally set and ready to fly around the fast-paced half-mile for 30 intense and grueling laps. Kasey Kahne Racing teammates Daryn Pittman and Cody Darrah led the field to green but quickly sped away from the 22 drivers behind them. After an intense side-by-side battle for multiple laps, Pittman was finally able to put a little distance in between himself and Darrah. With about 10 to go Cody Darrah began to gain a ton of ground on Pittman while running the bottom groove of the track. He was able to clear Pittman coming off of turn two but wound up only leading one lap when Pittman edged back by him on the 13th circuit. They remained that way until the caution flew on lap 16 for a slowed Rico Abreu in turn 4. Daryn Pittman chose the inside line for the double-file restart, and it proved to be costly as Darrah ran the top side of turn 2 and was able to regain the lead. Meanwhile, Donny Schatz methodically moved from his 11th starting position into 3rd seemingly without notice. Schatz's car was hooked up no matter where he went on the race track, and it was only a matter of time until the inevitable happened. On lap 22 of 30 Donny Schatz slid by Daryn Pittman for the runner-up spot and just one lap later he stole the lead away from Cody Darrah. The remaining laps proved to be more of the Donny Schatz Show as he increased his lead over the KKR drivers until the checkers finally flew at the completion of the 30th circuit around the track. Paul McMahan and Terry McCarl completed the top 5.

WoO Sprint feature finish: 1. Donny Schatz ($10,000) 2. Cody Darrah 3. Daryn Pittman 4. Paul McMahan 5. Terry McCarl 6. Brad Sweet 7. Steve Kinser 8. Joey Saldana 9. Sammy Swindell 10. Kerry Madsen 11. Danny Holtgraver 12. Greg Hodnett 13. Tim Kaeding 14. Bronson Maeschen 15. Kraig Kinser 16. Rico Abreu 17. Dave Blaney 18. Brent Marks 19. Justin Henderson 20. Greg Wilson 21. Jason Sides 22. Danny Lasoski 23. Chad Kemenah 24. Lucas Wolfe

For the second night in a row, the World of Outlaw Sprint Car series was accompanied by the UMP Modifieds. Also for the second night in a row, it was Ty Dillon, grandson of Nascar team-owner Richard Childress, who found victory lane in his #41 machine.

Dillon started in the third position for the event but had the lead by the end of lap 1. From then on Ty Dillon was never seriously challenged by the gaggle of competitors that were fighting hard for positions 2-8. Brian Ruhlman appeared to have the second best car of the bunch as he garnered his second consecutive runner-up finish at the DIRTcar Nationals.

UMP Modified feature top 10 (20 laps): 1. Ty Dillon ($700) 2. Brian Ruhlman 3. Nick Hoffman 4. Devin Gilpin 5. Kyle Strickler 6. Kent Robinson 7. David Stremme 8. Kyle Bronson 9. Will Krup 10. Bryce Jewell.

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