BARBERVILLE, Fla. — official series release — Chris Seelman photo —
Daryn Pittman took the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season opener Friday night with an epic last lap pass of reigning series champion Donny Schatz.
Just a lap sooner the feature win was in Schatz’s sights as he approached the lapped car of Kraig Kinser. Schatz dove low in turns three and four to make the pass but was not able to make the line stick. As he exited the turn his Bad Boy Buggies car drifted up the track and over the cushion.
Pittman saw his opportunity.
“When I saw him slide and have to bail out I thought wow, that guy doesn’t make very many mistakes and that was a pretty good one,” Pittman said. “We had to take advantage of that.”
Pittman was able to pull his Great Clips car side-by-side with Schatz as the two closed in on the white flag. Pittman won the drag race down the frontstretch and entered turn one on the final lap in the lead. Meanwhile, Schatz dove to the bottom of turns one and two and tried to slide Pittman onto the backstretch.
“[I] saw visions of last night in turn two again as [Schatz] threw a Hail Mary there to try to get by me,” Pittman said.
Again though Schatz was not able to make the move stick and Pittman pulled away, scoring the first win of the 2015 season. Tonight’s win was the second in row for Pittman in the midst of sprint week at DIRTcar Nationals after he won the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions feature on Thursday night.
“Last night felt pretty good – this one feels that much better,” Pittman said. “Last night it felt like we had a great racecar, probably the car to beat from the time we unloaded. We were good all night tonight. At the beginning of that race I just didn’t feel as good and thought, man, we’re probably going to run top-three. The car got better as the race went on and came to us.”
“Hats off to this whole Great Clips team… I’m really blessed to be part of this Kasey Kahne Racing team. It’s a lot of fun to be able to get in and drive this car every night.”
Schatz, who had a similar run the night before in the All Stars feature, said afterward that something did not feel right with his car in the final lap in Friday night’s event.
“I thought it broke on the last lap there going into three – something happened but there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong,” Schatz said. “So I don’t know if I smothered it in fuel or what happened. That was a good race. I wish we would have won it but we didn’t.”
“It’s good to be able to race up there for wins. That’s what we want to do. Great night for the Bad Boy guys. They’ve done a tremendous job.”
Kerry Madsen opened the night by driving his American Racing Custom Wheels car to the quicktime in qualifying with a lap of 12.792. Greg Hodnett picked up the Dash win and the A main pole, with Joey Saldana on his outside.
When the green flag dropped on the feature, Hodnett jumped out to an early lead. Saldana pressed down on him though through the first three laps and as the two turned lap five, Saldana caught Hodnett and passed him coming out of turn four.
Saldana built up a sizable lead on the field through the next 15 laps while Schatz worked his way forward from a sixth place starting position. By the first caution on lap seven, Schatz had moved into the fourth spot. Nine laps later Schatz began closing in on Pittman, then in third. He completed the pass on lap 21 as the two came off of turn two.
Three laps later Schatz cleared Saldana for the lead as Saldana slipped back. Pittman and Hodnett took over the second and third place positions in the final laps.
Hodnett, who has one sprint week win with the All Stars and led the first five laps of the night, finished the feature in third.
“These guys are the best in the world, they prove it every night,” Hodnett said. “We just got beat. We made a lot of mistakes and it cost us a couple of positions, obviously. But we’re pretty proud to be close. Last year we were here we just weren’t even close. The guys work really hard throughout the year and the off-season, and hopefully the fruits of that labor are coming to fruition right now.”
Joey Saldana finished fourth and Brad Sweet finished the night in fifth.
Racing returns to Volusia Speedway Park Saturday night as the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series takes on night five of DIRTcar Nationals sprint week with the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds.
World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Volusia Speedway Park; Barberville, Fla.; Feb. 13, 2015
A-Main – (25 Laps) – 1. 9-Daryn Pittman  [$10,000]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz  [$5,500]; 3. 27-Greg Hodnett  [$3,200]; 4. 71M-Joey Saldana  [$2,800]; 5. 49-Brad Sweet  [$2,500]; 6. 51-Paul McMahan  [$2,300]; 7. 14K-Dale Blaney  [$2,200]; 8. 2-Shane Stewart  [$2,100]; 9. 83-David Gravel  [$2,050]; 10. 29-Kerry Madsen  [$2,000]; 11. 7S-Jason Sides  [$1,500]; 12. 41-Jason Johnson  [$1,200]; 13. 11K-Kraig Kinser  [$1,100]; 14. 2L-Danny Lasoski  [$1,050]; 15. 45-Tim Shaffer  [$1,000]; 16. 4-Cody Darrah  [$900]; 17. 24-Terry McCarl  [$800]; 18. 98H-Dave Blaney  [$800]; 19. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr  [$800]; 20. 1s-Logan Schuchart  [$800]; 21. 4S-Danny Smith  [$800]; 22. 7-Craig Dollansky  [$800]; 23. 11-Steve Kinser  [$800]; 24. 1-Lucas Wolfe  [$800].
Lap Leaders: Greg Hodnett 1-5, Joey Saldana 6-25, Donny Schatz 26-29, Daryn Pittman 30.
KSE Hard Charger Award: 83-David Gravel [+10]
Qualifying – 1. 29-Kerry Madsen, 12.792
CREDIT: World Racing Group