Monday, February 17, 2014

The King Wears His Crown One More Time in Victory Lane -Volusia Speedway Park 2/16/14

By Tyler Beichner:
Volusia Speedway Park

As you've all heard, the King of Dirt, Steve Kinser, is beginning his last full season as a World of Outlaws competitor. Kinser was among the original drivers that filled the pit area during the first couple years of the Series' existence back in the late 70's. After all these years, on Sunday Feb. 16th, 2014 Steve Kinser proved that he can still get the job done like in years past when he collected $10,000 along with his 8th career DIRTcar Nationals victory at Volusia Speedway Park.

With a slowly dwindling car count from opening night, 35 cars were left to take time last evening. Paul McMahan shocked the clock with the fastest lap in qualifying as we so often see him do. He was followed by Joey Saldana, Daryn Pittman, Kerry Madsen, and Tim Kaeding 2-5.

Four preliminary heat races were ran at 8 laps a piece to determine the B-Main and Feature lineups. Surviving the races and picking up heat race victories were Tony Stewart Racing's drivers Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser, 2013 Knoxville Raceway track champion Bronson Maeschen, and Kasey Kahne Racing's Brad Sweet.

After an invert of 6 for the World of Outlaw Sprint dash, Kasey Kahne Racing member Brad Sweet and California native Rico Abreu shared the front row. As the field came to green Cody Darrah's Ollie's Bargain Outlet #4 blasted into the lead and would stay there until turn 2 on the white flag lap when his motor went sour, leaving him incapable of finishing the race. Benefiting from that would be KKR teammate and 2013 World of Outlaw points champion Daryn Pittman who would then go on to claim the dash win. The dash finish looked like this: 1. Daryn Pittman 2. Paul McMahan 3. Donny Schatz 4. Steve Kinser 5. Rico Abreu 6. Brad Sweet 7. Bronson Maeschen 8. Joey Saldana 9. Dave Blaney 10. Cody Darrah 

Next up on the card would the 12-lap Last Chance Qualifier. Racing legend Sammy Swindell was able to pick up the consi win and he was accompanied by Christopher Bell, Greg Hodnett, and Wayne Johnson to make up the four B-Main transfers.

Finally up was what the crowd and all those at home watching on Dirtvision were waiting for, the 30-lap $10,000 to win weekend finale. Although they were short a few cars compared to the season opener on Friday, the field was as strong as any.

When the green flew it was hammer down as drivers checked up, slid, and battled for every position on the track. Before the cars could get across the line the sole red flag of the event flew for 7th starting Bronson Maeschen, who appeared to hop a wheel, when he went flipping in turn 4. Maeschen was reported to be okay after his scary accident.

After the scene had been cleaned up, the field was bunched together for a second time and cut loose by flagman extraordinaire Dave Farney. The running order of Pittman, S Kinser, McMahan, Schatz, Saldana, and Sweet would stay the same until the caution flew with 4 laps complete for Cody Darrah who was again sidelined by engine woes.

In a repeat performance of Saturday night's main, race leader Daryn Pittman chose the bottom line on the double-file restart and it proved costly. Steve Kinser stole the lead coming off of turn two and began to put ground on him and the 3rd place car of Donny Schatz.

The running order stayed pretty much the same throughout the top 7 drivers for the middle portion of the race. However, the field would again be bunched up for a lap 22 restart when Christopher Bell was spotted facing the wrong way in the middle of the backstretch by World of Outlaw officials.

Kinser elected to start on the top on the ensuing restart, but this time it was Daryn Pittman that got a great start and was able to beat the #11 Bad Boy Buggies machine into turn one. Steve Kinser and Pittman continued to trade slidejobs for the lead until Kinser sealed the deal on lap 25 with a decisive slider that eventually became the race-winning move.

Steve Kinser celebrates his 8th career DIRTcar Nationals triumph
At the checkers it was Steve Kinser picking up his 8th career World of Outlaw victory at Volusia Speedway Park in his familiar #11 ahead of the  #9 of Daryn Pittman and Donny Schatz in the #15 car.

World of Outlaw Sprint feature finish (30 laps): 1. Steve Kinser ($10,000) 2. Daryn Pittman 3. Donny Schatz 4. Brad Sweet 5. Tim Kaeding 6. Kerry Madsen 7. Paul McMahan 8. Joey Saldana 9. Kraig Kinser 10. Danny Holtgraver 11. Sammy Swindell 12. Christopher Bell 13. Rico Abreu 14. Dave Blaney 15. Terry McCarl 16. Jason Sides 17. Jac Haudenschild 18. Danny Lasoski 19. Wayne Johnson 20. Chad Kemenah 21. Lucas Wolfe 22. Greg Hodnett 23. Cody Darrah 24. Bronson Maeschen

For the fourth night in a row it was the UMP Modifieds taking to the track as the second headlining division. 33 mods were registered for the second night of qualifying for the Gator Championship.

Austin Dillon, who rushed to the track after earning the pole position for this year's edition of the Daytona 500, was flawless en route to his victory, matching his brother's performance from the previous night. The drivers behind Dillon put on a hell of a battle lap after lap, but none of them were able to match was Austin could do on the circuit.

UMP Modified top 10 (20 laps): 1. Austin Dillon ($700) 2. Billy Workman, Jr 3. Jeff Babcock 4. Kenny Wallace 5. Matt Westfall 6. Tyler Nicely 7. Paul Miles 8. #10 9. #36 10. Kenny Schrader

Preliminary UMP Modified heat race wins went to Kody Weisner, Billy Workman, Jr., and Austin Dillon.

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