Monday, February 18, 2013

Lasoski Wins the Battle, Pittman Wins the War in Volusia


Photo Credit: Zemco Racing
There are three things that are not welcome on a race track - one is rain. Most series can’t run in the rain and definitely the dirt series can’t run in the rain. The second is fire because it moves quicker than we do and for a driver there is no greater fear. The third is cold weather. Everything gets brittle and slow when it’s cold. The track gets greasy and heavy, in other words slick and slow. The engines require heat to maintain their lubrication so as not to blow up; cold weather makes that lubrication thick and hard to circulate. Parts and pieces get brittle and stiff and they break when normally they would not. The final night at Volusia Speedway Park was a test of wills, drivers, teams, fans and cars against the cold - in some cases they won. In some cases they did not and during those times they came ever so close to tragedy.

The night started out cold. Brutally so for Florida, at race time it was 42 degrees. As the sun went down so did the temperature. Fans were in coats, hats, gloves, heavy clothes and not a lot of beer and cold beverages were sold. Coffee and Hot Chocolate were at premium sales. There were grumblings from deep in the heart of the Sprint Car pits ... "It was cold, it was too cold."

The mighty wings of the outlaws were under heat retaining blankets and instead of them being removed when the engines were fired they were left in place to hold as much heat in as possible. These engines were finely tuned, very sensitive and almost fragile pieces of the puzzle. They were expensive and the cold temperatures were their biggest enemy.

Hot laps were slow and sluggish with only two cars, Sammy Swindell and Tony Stewart, breaking the 13 second barrier. The rest of the times were in the mid to high 14 second bracket. Even the quick time holders from the previous two nights could not break the 13 second barrier.

Qualifying was a fast-paced process as the series attempted to get as much of the qualifying done before the sun went down. Quick Time went to Paul McMahan with a lap time of 13.041 seconds or 138.026 mph. Sammy Swindell, Daryn Pittman, Brad Sweet and Kraig Kinser rounded out the top 5.

Jac Haudenschild's damaged car, Photo Credit: Pheonix Racing
Broken axle that caused Haudenschild's wreck, Photo credit: Pheonix Racing
The first heat race would show the initial serious effects of the cold weather. With two laps to go after coming from sixth to fourth and challenging for third, the No. 59 of Jac Haudenschild suddenly launched into the air flipping over the concrete retaining wall into the fence, dropping between the wall and the outer wall upside down. Haudenschild climbed from the car and sat on the wall. He was assisted to the ambulance where he was cleared to return to the track. However, the car was not so lucky. The mangled race machine was retrieved with a crane from between the two walls and was barely recognizable - missing its left rear wheel and tire. When the tire and wheel were examined it was obvious that the cold had bit “The Wild Child”. The rear axle was snapped on the inside of the hub. Haudenschild was uninjured and went to work with his crew to attempt to get the car ready for the B Main. Justin Henderson took the checkers followed by Cody Darrah, Paul McMahan, Kraig Kinser and Tony Stewart who all to transferred to the A Main.

The second heat race was a break out performance for former ACTION National Midget champion Steve Buckwalter as he took the checkers over a number of champions: 2001 World of Outlaws Series champion Danny Lasoski, three-time World of Outlaws champion Sammy Swindell, current and reigning series champion Donny Schatz and former Knoxville Track champion Kerry Madsen. The heat race win was Buckwalter’s first in the series.

The third heat saw Craig Dollansky jump out to the lead and literally lead from wire to wire to take the checker over Steve Kinser, Jason Sides, Daryn Pittman and David Gravel. Gravel and Greg Wilson waged a fierce battle for the final transfer position, rubbing tires and exchanging slide jobs around the track. However, Gravel was able to persevere and send Wilson to the B Main.

The fourth heat race would boast a surprise winner when the owner of Oshweken Speedway, Glenn Styres, would come home first followed by Chad Kemenah, Brad Sweet, Brooke Tatnell and Sam Hafertepe Jr. The favorite in the race was Chad Kemenah. Styres jumped out to the lead early and never relinquished it. Kemenah was challenged heavily by Brad Sweet allowing Styres to get away while they battled for second. The victory sent Styres to the Dash for the first time in quite some time.

The dash was a wire to wire run for Danny “The Dude” Lasoski. Earning the pole by virtue of the inversion draw of 8 he started on the front row and he never looked back. Not a single driver ever was close enough during the six lap race to challenge him for the lead. Cody Darrah and Chad Kemenah battled for a short time for second before Kemenah was challenged by Craig Dollansky for third place.

The Last Chance Showdown was awaited with baited breath. Would Haudenschild return? Could they really repair the mangled No. 59 in time to run the Last Chance Showdown? After a hard and wild ride like that would “The Wild Child” get back in for the B Main? The questions didn’t wait long for an answer. The first car to the track was none other than Jac Haudenschild in a car with a new top wing, nose wing, rear axle, rear wheel and tire, some bandaid work to the front nose bar and the rear tank. But Jac was ready to do battle and do battle he did. Finishing second to Joey Saladana,  Haudenschild transferred to the A Main in one of the most incredible displays of team work and never quit attitude we have seen in a long time. Also transferring to the A Main were Terry McCarl and Greg Wilson.

The A Main would be a fast and hard fought affair that sadly would be decided by an error on the part of a driver. By the World of Outlaws rules, if there are two accidents on two consecutive restarts the third and following restart is single file. An orange cone is placed on the front stretch and the competitors are not allowed to pass or go below the cone until they cross the start finish line. Chad Kemenah fought hard to get around Danny Lasoski, holding off Cody Darrah with three laps to go, when Craig Dollansky and Steve Buckwalter got together sending Dollansky pirouetting into Turn 2. Dollansky climbed from the Eyecon Camera’s No. 7 uninjured but the car was too damaged to continue. When the green flag waved again Steve Kinser would spin in Turn 1 after a tap from Brad Sweet who got over the rear tire of the No. 11 and flipped landing hard into the Ollie’s Bargain No. 49. Jac Haudenschild, with nowhere to go, clipped the front of Steve Kinser's car and flipped to the inside of the track landing on the inside retaining wall. Both drivers climbed out of the cars uninjured but were out of the race. Kinser would continue and finish the race after a stop in the work area during the Open Red flag period that resulted. 

The restart would be single file. Out of tear-offs on his helmet, Kemenah could not see the cone and went beneath it and drew a two position penalty for the error. Second place Cody Darrah had a flat left front tire and had to go the work area which moved Kemenah back to second. The finish of the race would be a green-white-checker finish. Danny Lasoski pulled Kemenah hard down the back stretch and then pulled away on the white flag lap. Kemenah clearly had the fastest car in the A Main but his mistake handed the victory to Danny Lasoski. “This team never quit. I'm really proud of them this is a brand new car and we're still learning it. It just proves you just got to keep plugging along and good things are going to happen. Chad made a mistake there and gave us another chance and we were fast enough to capitalize on it," said Lasoski from Victory Lane for the 20th time in his career at Volusia Speedway Park.

Chad Kemenah was disappointed and it was apparent in his voice, “I couldn't see, I was out of tear-offs and I thought why didn't they put the cone out there but I guess I was below it. But I think everyone could see that we had the fastest and the best car tonight it was just the driver that made a mistake not the car or the team.”

"This car was comfortable from the get go. We had lots of horsepower and that is what you need at this place," stated third-place finisher Justin Henderson.

The UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator, for the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars, went to Daryn Pittman. He is beginning this season with Kasey Kahne racing in the Great Clips No. 9. Pittman finished in the top 5 every night, took quick time and won the feature on one night. It’s an impressive way to start tenure in a new ride. “It's awesome, I'm as happy as I've ever been driving a race car. Thanks to Kasey Kahne for putting together an incredible crew and putting a great car under me,” said Pittman.

A racetrack may seem like a strange place to be in the cold weather. For some the night warmed up and got down right hot. For others the cold set in like a deep freeze. Which one depended on your night. Without a doubt the cold temperature showed all the reasons why this type of weather is not welcome at the race track. The next time the mighty wings of the outlaws take the track it will be in a much warmer climate. They will compete at the home of "Lady Luck"- Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6 & 7. Who will she choose to be her date for those two nights? Only time will tell. But there is one thing for sure, it will not be a roller coaster ride in a deep freeze like at the DIRTcar nationals.


Qualifying results: 1) Paul McMahan 13.041 138.026 mph, 2) Sammy Swindell 3) Daryn Pittman 4) Brad Sweet 5) Kraig Kinser 6) Donny Schatz 7) Jason Sides 8) Sam Hafertepe Jr. 9) Justin Henderson 10) Steve Buckwalter 11) Craig Dollansky 12) Chad Kemenah 13) Cody Darrah 14) Danny Lasoski. 15) Steve Kinser 16) Glenn Styres 17) Tony Stewart 18) Joey Saldana 19) Greg Wilson 20) Terry McCarl 21) Jac Haudenschild 22) Kerry Madsen 23) David Gravel 24) Brooke Tatnell 25) Danny Smith 26) Jason Leffler 27) Jayme Barnes 28) Dave Blaney 29) Lance Dewease 30) Danny Holtgraver 31) Tim Shafer 32) Trey Gustin 33) Brian Paulus 34) Cap Henry 35) Logan Schuchart 36) Danny Dietrich

First Heat Results: 1) Justin Henderson 2) Cody Darrah 3) Paul McMahan 4) Kraig Kinser 5) Tony Stewart 6) Danny Smith 7) Brian Paulus 8)8) Lance Dewease 9) Jac Haudenschild.

Second Heat Results: 1) Steve Buckwalter 2) Danny Lasoski. 3) Sammy Swindell 4) Donny Schatz 5) Kerry Madsen 6) Joey Saldana 7) Danny Holtgraver, 8) Cap Henry 9) Jason Leffler

Third Heat Results: 1) Craig Dollansky 2) Steve Kinser 3) Jason Sides 4) Daryn Pittman 5) David Gravel 6) Greg Wilson 7) Jayme Barnes 8) Tim Shafer 9) Logan Schuchart

Fourth Heat Results: 1) Glenn Styres 2) Chad Kemenah 3) Brad Sweet 4) Brooke Tatnell 5) Sam Hafertepe Jr. 6) Terry McCarl 7) Dave Blaney 8) 8) Danny Dietrich 9) Trey Gustin

Dash Results: 1) Danny Lasoski 2) Cody Darrah 3) Chad Kemenah 4) Craig Dollansky 5) Justin Henderson 6) Steve Kinser 7) Steve Buckwalter 8) Sammy Swindell 9) Paul McMahan 10) Glenn Styres

LCS Results: 1) Joey Saldana 2) Jac Haudenschild 3) Terry McCarl 4) Greg Wilson 5) Dave Blaney 6) Danny Smith 7) Tim Shafer 8) Jason Leffler 9) Danny Holtgraver 10) Jayme Barnes 11) Brian Paulus 12) Trey Gustin 13) Cap Henry 14) Logan Schuchart 15) Lance Dewease (DNS) 16) Danny Dietrich (DNS)

A Main Results: 1) Danny Lasoski 2) Chad Kemenah 3) Justin Henderson 4) Donny Schatz 5) Daryn Pittman 6) Sammy Swindell 7) Paul McMahan 8) Kerry Madsen 9) Cody Darrah 10) Jason Sides 11) Kraig Kinser 12) Sam Hafertepe Jr. 13) Tony Stewart 14) Steve Kinser 15) Terry McCarl 16) Joey Saldana 17) Greg Wilson 18) Glenn Styres 19) David Gravel 20) Danny Smith 21) Brad Sweet 22) Jac Haudenschild 23) Craig Dollansky 24) Steve Buckwalter 25) Brooke Tatnell

KSE Hard Charger of the Race went to Kerry Madsen who started 22nd and finished eighth.

Addendum: Those wishing to send "Get Well" wishes to Bill Rose can do so at this address:

Bill Rose
c/o Shawn Miller.
World of Outlaws Sprints
7575-D West Winds Boulevard
Concord, NC 28027

1 comments :

That is so usually for it to be that cold there. I am sure the drivers hated it. Since all they want to do is go fast and the weather surely was not nice for them. Thanks for explaining how the cars react to the temps like that. Sounds like they all had a cold hard battle to keep the cars ready to go.

I can not believe after Jac wrecked they were able to fix the car and get it ready to race again in the same night. Hats go out to the crew.

Thanks again for listing all the stats for the evening. Another great article and a great night of racing can not wait until the next race.

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