HANFORD, Calif. — official series release by Aaron Fiedler — Collin Markle photo —
Shane Stewart scored his second World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory of the season in dominant fashion Friday night at Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds.
The Larson Marks Racing driver battled past Bud Kaeding to start the feature and through early cautions and lapped traffic, Stewart never looked back, leading all 35 laps en route to victory.
“It was such a really slow paced race, it’s so hard to judge how fast you need to push yourself,” Stewart said in victory lane. “It was just a really, really tricky track. These races are so hard to win and to get two wins already before we get off the west coast swing is just a true testament to this team.”
Stewart inched closer to reigning World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz in championship points standings. He is now just 22 points back after 16 races.
California-native Bud Kaeding started the feature on the pole with Stewart in second. When the green flag waved, Kaeding jumped to a solid start as Stewart bobbled. By the time the two came around for the first lap however, Stewart had battled past Kaeding and led the first lap. Brad Sweet was the biggest beneficiary of the start as he advanced to third by lap 1 and second by lap 2. Paul McMahan took over the third spot on lap two.
The first caution flag fell on lap five as the No. 37 car of Michael Faccinto stopped just off the back straight. A quick red followed on the restart after David Gravel’s No. 83 car flipped on the back. He was OK. Two more cautions came out in the laps that followed.
One driver who was able to take advantage of the restarts was Schatz. He started in the 16th position and by lap 10 had worked his way to eighth. On the final restart of the night on lap 11, Schatz was able to battle past four cars to take over the fourth position. He ended the night as the KSE Racing Hard Charger Award recipient after advancing 12 positions.
Lapped traffic came into play for Stewart on lap 16 and he worked hard to maneuver his No. 2 Eneos/GoPro car through. With Sweet catching in second, Stewart nearly cost himself the lead as a lapped car slowed him off of turn four.
“When it gets that slow, you know you can’t hesitate, especially with these guys,” Stewart said. “I was thinking that if I did get too slow off of four then some guy is going to duck underneath coming off the bottom.”
He was able to maintain his lead. When the checkered flag fell, Stewart had built up a sizable lead and lapped up to 11th place.
“Everything worked out well for us tonight,” Stewart said. “It starts at the beginning of the night… Hopefully lady luck stays with us throughout the season.”
Sweet, who has two wins on the season, said he was happy with the consistency of his No. 49 Razor Back Professional Tools team.
“We started seventh in the dash and moved forward there to fourth,” Sweet said. “Started fourth, moved to second. We would have liked to have won it but on nights like this, we’re really happy with the podium finish. We’ve been trying to build some consistency with these cars.”
After bad luck last weekend at Calistoga, McMahan, a California-native and veteran at Hanford, said it was good to get over the hump and finish well with his CJB Motorsports team.
“I had two bad days and then a bad experience going home so hopefully we got all the bad out of the way,” McMahan said. “Very tricky race track, very dirty running the bottom. You just kind of had to bide your time on the time in lapped traffic, wait to catch… We had a good race car. I’ve run a lot of laps at this place and means a lot to be here and finish on the podium.”
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series closes out the spring California swing tomorrow night at the SoCal Showdown at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway.
World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Keller Auto Speedway; Hanford, Calif.; April 17, 2015
A-Main – (35 Laps) – 1. 2-Shane Stewart  [$10,000]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet  [$5,500]; 3. 51-Paul McMahan  [$3,200]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz  [$2,800]; 5. O-Bud Kaeding  [$2,500]; 6. 29-Kerry Madsen  [$2,300]; 7. 9-Daryn Pittman  [$2,200]; 8. 83JR-Kyle Hirst  [$2,100]; 9. 21-Tommy Tarlton  [$2,050]; 10. 1s-Logan Schuchart  [$2,000]; 11. 41X-Dominic Scelzi  [$1,500]; 12. 7S-Jason Sides  [$1,200]; 13. 71M-Joey Saldana  [$1,100]; 14. 41-Jason Meyers  [$1,050]; 15. 1A-Jacob Allen  [$1,000]; 16. 12-Scott Parker  [$900]; 17. 11K-Kraig Kinser  [$800]; 18. 99-Shawn Wright  [$800]; 19. 9S-Landon Hurst  [$800]; 20. 7H-Jojo Helberg  [$800]; 21. 83-David Gravel  [$800]; 22. 88N-DJ Netto  [$800]; 23. 37-Mitchell Faccinto  [$800]; 24. 7-Craig Dollansky  [$800].
Lap Leaders: Shane Stewart 1-35.
KSE Hard Charger Award: 15-Donny Schatz [+12]