|Photo Credit: Megan Hazel for the World of Outlaws|
The Outlaws ran the SoCal Showdown last night at Perris Auto Speedway under beautiful blue skies and temperatures in the 70s. There was no way to know that the rain of the last two weeks was not finished showing its head. No, not by falling from the sky but by working its way back up through the heavy clay surface.
Perris Auto Speedway is a Motorplex facility that houses the ½-mile semi-banked clay oval track known as The PAS. The predominately clay surface makes for a normally fast and progressive track. The same reason that made the clay surface stay slick and fast also proved to make it narrow and wet last night. Clay is very dense and it holds moisture so even though the top of the surface was dry, the clay held moisture below the surface. The vibrations of the cars brought that moisture to the surface creating a heavy and spongy track that continued to remain wet clear through the A Main.
With only 21 cars in attendance the need for a Last Chance Showdown was removed. Every car in attendance would transfer to the A Main.
Qualifying showed speeds well under the track record held by Danny Lasoski, since 2002, of 13.875 seconds or 127.729 mph. Quick time would be set by Chad Kemenah with a lap of 14.232 seconds or 126.476 mph. Kemenah went out late in the order and took the Quick Time award from Joey Saldana who had held it since the first qualifying run of the night. The entire field was only separated by 0.579 seconds.
The heat race winners from the SoCal Showdown were Donny Schatz, Tim Kaeding and Craig Dollansky.
The dash inversion was a six pill putting Tim Kaeding and Donny Schatz on the front row. At the green flag Schatz rocketed into Turn 1 and slid to the top of the track to take the lead, never looking back. He crossed the finish line a full two seconds before Tim Kaeding to secure the pole for the A Main.
The A Main was full of slide jobs and bump and runs for position. It was assumed by all that the track would slick off and the cushion would move up the track widening the surface to allow for passing. Instead, the track began to seep moisture to the surface holding most to the very bottom of the race track. Although some passing did take place, the car had to be near perfect to do it. Daryn Pittman would slide by and clip Tim Kaeding coming out of Turn 4 on Lap 18 for the lead and never look back.
Ironically, it was the same move that Kaeding had used to get by Schatz for the lead on the opening lap. The most positions gained in the race was four in the rear of the field by Austen Wheatley who advanced from 20th to 17th to earn the Hard Charger award. The podium of Pittman, Kaeding and Schatz seemed strained in post race interview with obvious disappointments and anger over the way the competitor in front of them had acquired the position. In the end, all three admitted it was a situation of doing what you had to do to win.
The Outlaws were weary. Their crews were weary. Some were nursing bruises and body pains from being upside down and into the wall. The time change and the five weeks away from home and families was a tall order but they filled it. Now, it was time to head back towards home with a stop in El Paso along the way.
Tonight we said good bye to an exceptional young talent in David “Super Sub” Gravel as Bill Rose takes back over the wheel of the No. 6 car starting in El Paso. Gravel will climb back in his own 89G/Beyond Boobs sponsored ride and compete as planned in multiple series throughout the year. We also said goodbye to Shawn Miller who was the PR guru of the Outlaws. Additionally, we bid a fond farewell to palm trees and warm weather, and a not so fond farewell to Pacific Coast Time. Our season has begun in earnest. Our platinum teams are set. Our points are well along in the process of forming clear lines with Daryn Pittman leading the way by 133 markers over Joey Saldana.
We have come to an end and we have started a new beginning. Now, let’s go racing folks. We will see you in El Paso on Tuesday night.
Qualifying Results: 1) Chad Kemenah 14.232/ 126.476 mph 2) Joey Saldana 3) Daryn Pittman 4) Jason Meyers 5) Cody Darrah 6) Paul McMahan 7) Donny Schatz 8) Tim Kaeding 9) David Gravel 10) Brian Brown 11) Sammy Swindell 12) Craig Dollansky 13) Steve Kinser 14) Jonthan Allard 15) Jason Sides 16) Kyle Hirst 17) Kerry Madsen 18) Kraig Kinser 19) Greg Wilson 20) Austen Wheatley 21) Bill Rose
First Heat Results: 1) Donny Schatz 2) Brian Brown 3) Chad Kemenah 4) Jason Meyers 5) Steve Kinser 6) Kyle Hirst 7) Greg Wilson.
Second Heat Results: 1) Tim Kaeding 2) Sammy Swindell 3) Joey Saldana 4) Cody Darrah 5) Kerry Madsen 6) Jonthan Allard 7) Austen Wheatley
Third Heat Results: 1) Craig Dollansky 2) David Gravel 3) Daryn Pittman 4) Paul McMahan 5) Kraig Kinser 6) Jason Sides 7) Bill Rose.
Dash Results: 1) Donny Schatz 2) Tim Kaeding 3) Daryn Pittman 4) Jason Meyers 5) Joey Saldana 6) Chad Kemenah 7) David Gravel 8) Sammy Swindell 9) Craig Dollansky 10) Brian Brown.
A Main Results: 1) Daryn Pittman 2) Tim Kaeding 3) Donny Schatz 4) Jason Meyers 5) Chad Kemenah 6) Joey Saldana 7) David Gravel 8) Sammy Swindell 9) Craig Dollansky 10) Cody Darrah 11) Brian Brown 12) Steve Kinser 13) Jonthan Allard 14) Jason Sides 15) Kerry Madsen 16) Kraig Kinser 17) Austen Wheatley 18) Paul McMahan 19) Greg Wilson 20) Bill Rose 21) Kyle Hirst.
KSE Hard Charger of the Race: Austen Wheatley 20th to 17th.
Writers Note: I would like to take this time to thank Shawn Miller for his friendship and his assistance over the last year or so. His education and patience has been invaluable. On behalf of the entire dirt staff at Skirts and Scuffs, I wish you nothing but the very best that you can find in life. May your new adventure bring you joy, happiness and success. You will be missed.