OSKALOOSA, Iowa — Daryn Pittman dominated the 21st annual Price Chopper Front Row Challenge on Monday at Southern Iowa Speedway, where he captured his third triumph at the marquee National Sprint League event that paid $21,000 to win.
Pittman was one of 27 drivers from 13 states and Australia to tackle the half-mile oval, where drivers and fans paid tribute to racer Bryan Clauson, who died following a crash last weekend.
Green ribbons were tied on sprint cars and push trucks and many drivers went through the stands during an intermission to collect money for Clauson’s family. Clauson’s sprint car owner, Matt Wood, brought his race car to display and it paced the field during the four-wide salute before the green flag.
Pittman emerged victorious throughout most of the night. He set quick time to open the action and he won the King of the Hill race to garner the pole position for the 30-lap main event.
Pittman led the first two laps before a caution on lap three for Jason Johnson, who sustained a flat right rear tire while battling just outside the top 10. Brian Brown took advantage of the restart by driving into the lead in turn four on the restart lap.
Brown led the next four laps, which were slowed by three cautions, before Pittman returned the favor by taking the lead on a restart on lap seven.
“Brown is awfully good,” Pittman said. “I hit the bottom after the (King of the Hill) race and it felt good. He got by me on the restart. Luckily the bottom slowed up enough the top came back in.”
Brown remained within striking distance until the final caution on Lap 17. However, it was all Pittman the rest of the way as he won by more than four seconds to tie Sammy Swindell atop the event wins list with three triumphs. Pittman also won in 2012 and 2008.
While Pittman pulled away, the battle between drivers running second through eighth was close until the checkered flag. Kerry Madsen earned the runner-up position after passing Brown on lap 22.
“If there was a way to drive that car harder I don’t know about it,” Madsen said.
Brown held on for third with Brad Sweet charging from 12th to fourth and National Sprint League point leader Danny Lasoski placing fifth.
RESULTS: National Sprint League; Front Row Challenge; Southern Iowa Speedway; Aug. 8, 2016
A Feature (30 Laps): 1. 9-Daryn Pittman (1); 2. 29-Kerry Madsen (6); 3. 21-Brian Brown (2); 4. 49-Brad Sweet (12); 5. 2-Danny Lasoski (3); 6. 24r-Rico Abreu (7); 7. 5-David Gravel (4); 8. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild (18); 9. 3h-James McFadden (8); 10. 2ks-Craig Dollansky (14); 11. 13-Mark Dobmeier (15); 12. 1s-Sammy Swindell (9); 13. 7w-Tasker Phillips (19); 14. 41-Jason Johnson (13); 15. 55-Brooke Tatnell (20); 16. 10-Dakota Hendrickson (11); 17. 1x-Chad Trout (11); 18. 19m-Brent Marks (10); 19. 19-Bob Weuve (23); 20. 71-Robert Bell (24); 21. 99-Brady Bacon (16); 22. 7-Paul McMahan (21); 23. 18-Ian Madsen (5); 24. 10v-Rager Phillips (17).
Laps Led: Daryn Pittman 1-2; 7-30; Brian Brown 3-6.
CREDIT: National Sprint League