GRAND FORKS, N.D. — official release — Doug Johnson photo — Daryn Pittman did not want to see the caution flag that flew with three laps to go in Friday night’s World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event at River Cities Speedway.
For the previous 37 laps, the Owasso, Okla. native had been fending off strong challenges from Kraig Kinser and current series point leader Donny Schatz, who won the last time the Outlaws were at the track.
“I didn’t really want to see the yellow,” Pittman said. “I don’t know what was happening behind me with three to go but I figured we were running out of laps and I just wanted to get them over with. You never want to get the field bunched back up.”
As the green-white-checkered finish got underway, Pittman built an early lead as Schatz tried to make a move. Pittman led lap one as Schatz closed. With lapped traffic still several laps away, Pittman had the clean air he needed to pull ahead.
Pittman drove his Great Clips car to victory, delivering the 12th win of the season for his Kasey Kahne Racing team.
Pittman, who said he has historically struggled at River Cities, credited his crew for providing him with the equipment he needed to score the 50th win of his World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series career. Pittman is the 13th winningest driver in World of Outlaws history.
“They gave me a great racecar all night long,” Pittman said. “We’ve probably been here four times since I’ve been in this car and left with our tails between our legs every time and they just never give up. The best part about this crew is that they can get mad about our finish and how we do but they just don’t give up. We came back and tried something completely different.”
“Thanks to (Kale Kahne), (Kolten Gouse), Michael Carber, (Ty Dent) – these guys just worked their tails off and gave me a great car and luckily we were able to hold off for 40 laps.”
“This is a great win for me personally and this whole team.”
Pittman, who sits second in the race for the championship, closed the gap on leader Schatz to 133 points. Third place Paul McMahan is 192 points out of the lead.
Pittman and Logan Schuchart led the field to the green flag for the 40-lap A main. Through the opening laps, Schuchart fought Pittman for the lead, as Kraig Kinser bore down on the two. Schuchart briefly took over the lead on lap six, before Pittman reclaimed it.
As three red flags and three cautions plagued the early part of the feature, Donny Schatz made up ground, advancing into the top five by lap 12. By lap 15, Schatz began working on Cody Darrah for third place. He got around shortly after.
Pittman hit lapped traffic on lap 18, giving Kinser an opportunity to get around. On lap 27, Kinser got his chance, diving low into turn three and getting a look on Pittman. Pittman however was able to close the door, leading the lap.
As Pittman, Schatz and Kinser battled for the lead, Schatz took on Kinser for second. On lap 36 Schatz got around Kinser, taking over the second position in his STP Armor All car. Then, with three to go, the caution flew.
“I needed to hit lapped traffic,” Schatz said. “My racecar was really tight. I had trouble keeping it on the bottom but even more so on the top. I just couldn’t seem to get rolling around here as free as I needed to be.”
“When you got a group of guys like this STP team, they rally every night to give us a great racecar. We’ve been very consistent. I thought we had a chance at (Pittman) there until the yellow came out but clean air is everything when you race. I tried changing my line – I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. A great job by the STP guys – the best we could do was second.”
When the green came back out, Kinser battled Darrah for the third position. Darrah made the pass in his Ollie’s Bargain Outlet car off of turn two on the last lap, getting the podium finish.
“If it would have played out a little differently in the beginning I felt like if I would have got to second then I could have been able to race Daryn a little bit,” Darrah said. “That’s this racetrack. This place, one lap you feel like you’re going forward and you’re going to win the race and then the next lap you feel like you’re going to go to the rear.”
“It’s so exciting to come here and race. Just the energy from all these great fans.”
Earlier in the night, Joey Saldana scored his 21st quick time of the season after putting down a lap of 10.134.
Mark Dobmeier, who has one World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series win this season, scored the KSE Hard Charger award of the night after starting the feature in 24th and finishing in sixth.
The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series concludes its Upper Midwest swing on Sunday at the Gerdau Magic City Showdown at Nodak Speedway in Minot, N.D. The Outlaws then make their final return to Canada for the Oil City Cup at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta on Aug. 22 and 23.
World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; River Cities Speedway; Grand Forks, N.D.; Aug. 15, 2014
A-Main – (40 Laps) – 1. 9-Daryn Pittman  [$10,000]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz  [$5,500]; 3. 4-Cody Darrah  [$3,200]; 4. 11K-Kraig Kinser  [$2,800]; 5. 51-Paul McMahan  [$2,500]; 6. 13-Mark Dobmeier  [$2,300]; 7. 71M-Joey Saldana  [$2,200]; 8. 18-Ian Madsen  [$2,100]; 9. 11-Steve Kinser  [$2,050]; 10. 83-David Gravel  [$2,000]; 11. 82-Dusty Zomer  [$1,500]; 12. 1s-Logan Schuchart  [$1,200]; 13. 29-Kerry Madsen  [$1,100]; 14. 2A-Austin Pierce  [$1,050]; 15. 7S-Jason Sides  [$1,000]; 16. 8-Casey Mack  [$900]; 17. 44W-Austen Wheatley  [$800]; 18. 1K-Chris Shirek  [$800]; 19. 21K-Thomas Kennedy  [$800]; 20. 20A-Jordon Adams  [$800]; 21. 6N-Greg Nikitenko  [$800]; 22. 9N-Wade Nygaard  [$800]; 23. 5-Dave Glennon  [$800]; 24. 49-Brad Sweet  [$800].
Lap Leaders: Daryn Pittman 1-40.
KSE Hard Charger Award: 13-Mark Dobmeier [+18]
Qualifying – 1. 71M-Joey Saldana, 10.134