|Photo Credit: Chris Dolak, World of Outlaws|
For the third time in his career Daryn Pittman will wear the Eldora feather from Outlaw Thunder in his cap. It was almost not meant to be but a late race restart and a spinning tire handed Pittman his third and Kasey Kahne Racing's sixth Eldora trophy since 2010.
Qualifying would go smoothly for the 34 cars signed in for the Outlaw Thunder. Craig Dollansky’s track record of 12.707 would again stand with quick time being 13.185 set by Joey Saldana in his Motter Motorsports No. 71M. The remaining drivers rounding out the top five included Daryn Pittman, Paul McMahan, Brian Brown and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart.
The heat races were an exciting mixture of slide jobs and side by side racing. There was also three-wide racing, at one point, for the lead. The driving skills of the Outlaws was seen with minimal cautions and only one crash for the evening.
Heat race number one was won by Sam Hafertepe, Jr. with Donny Schatz racing hard on his tail tank coming across the line in second. Also transferring from the first heat would be Joey Saldana, Jason Sides and Dale Blaney. Tony Stewart would break a rear end and retire from the heat early on.
The second heat was an old school show of skill between Jac Haudenschild and Sammy Swindell. Haudenschild would cross the line first with Brad Sweet edging out Swindell at the line for second. Also, transferring from the second heat was Daryn Pittman and Terry McCarl.
The third heat was a challenge between Tim “The Steele City Outlaw” Shaffer and Paul “Pauls to the Wall” McMahan. Shaffer would come home the winner by a 1/2-car length. Right there on their rear bumpers were Steve Kinser, Cody Darrah and Friday night's winner Kerry Madsen.
The final heat was a show down between last year's winner Chad Kemenah and Brian Brown. Kemenah would barely prevail as the heat race winner. Also transferring were Craig Dollansky, Lucas Wolfe and promising young star Sheldon Haudenschild.
The Dash inversion draw was a six pill putting Sam Hafertepe, Jr and Brad Sweet on the front row. The Dash was a quick six lap affair that was stacked to the rafters with talent and action. Brian Brown jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. From second on back they were three wide and trading slide jobs at both ends of the track. Brad Sweet would come home in second to complete the front row of the A Main.
The Last Chance Showdown had some big names in its lineup. Tony Stewart, David Gravel, Jason Leffler, Tim Kaeding, Kraig Kinser and Brady Bacon were all relegated to this race due to mechanical failures and near misses. Stewart would hold off challenges from Gravel and Kaeding to hold on for the win. Brian Paulus would just barely beat Kraig Kinser to the line for fourth.
The A Main was one of the most exciting races we have had all year. It had its own twists and turns of fate. Brian Paulus beat Kraig Kinser to the line for the final transfer spot in the LCS. However, Paulus could not make the call for the A Main, which meant the final starting position went to the first alternate - Kraig Kinser. Kinser, who was out of provisionals, was looking at sitting out for the second straight night until fate intervened. Although he started the A Main and collected full place money, by Outlaws rules Kinser could not accrue any more points for the night.
At the drop of the green flag, Brian Brown would jump to the lead. Brad Sweet would challenge hard as the two went side by side for two laps. Reigning champ Donny Schatz would move to third and begin his challenge on both Brown and Sweet with the trio going three abreast into Turn 1. Brown would hold on to the lead but Schatz would take second from Sweet. Falling back and eventually suffering a broken U joint would relegate Sweet to a disappointing 22nd spot finish. Daryn Pittman would step up to the plate to challenge both Brown and Schatz for the top spot with little success.
It wasn’t until a late restart with three laps to go that Pittman made a dive to the bottom when Brown spun his tires on the restart and took the lead. Once around Brown and Schatz, Pittman set sail. Schatz who was obviously faster than Brown could not find a way around the Grain Valley native and had to settle for a third place finish. Rounding out the top five were Jac Haudenschild and Joey Saldana. The Hard Charger of the race was Steve Kinser who advanced eight spots from a 15th starting position to a seventh place finish.
Daryn Pittman will carry a 124 point lead in the standings to Elko Speedway on May 10th over Paul McMahan and Donny Schatz.
Eldora has chosen her prince. This time she choose a familar face and one she had known previously. She helped the young princes showcase their skills and kindle their dreams of being just like Dad. She smiled on her old friends as they showed the skills they learned from her over the years. Her time was over for now. But her champions would return, the next time to crown their King.
After all, what better place to crown the "King of the Outlaws" than at the track known as the "Queen of the Dirt Tracks". For now, it was time for her drink and to let her crew put her to bed. But not before she kissed her owner goodbye and told her loyals goodnight. In the wind you could almost hear her yawn and say, “Who won at the Downs today?” as she snuggled down and began to drift away.
Qualifying Results: 1) Joey Saldana 13.185 2) Daryn Pittman 3) Paul McMahan 4) Brian Brown 5) Tony Stewart 6) Brad Sweet 7) Cody Darrah 8) Lucas Wolfe 9) Sam Hafertepe 10) Sammy Swindell 11) Steve Kinser 12) Chad Kemenah 13) Donny Schatz 14) Jac Haudenschild 15) Tim Shaffer 16) Craig Dollansky 17) Dale Blaney 18) David Gravel 19) Kerry Madsen 20) Sheldon Haudenschild 21) Jason Sides 22) Jason Leffler 23) Tim Kaeding 24) Kraig Kinser 25) Brian Paulus 26) Terry McCarl 27) Greg Wilson 28) Bryan Sebbetto 29) Bill Balog 30) Randy Hannagan 31) Brady Bacon 32) Brad Greer 33) Brandon Wimmer 34) Chad Blonde
Heat 1: 1) Sam Hafertepe Jr. 2) Donny Schatz 3) Joey Saldana 4) Jason Sides 5) Dale Blaney 6) Bill Balog 7) Brad Wimmer 8) Brian Paulus 9) Tony Stewart.
Heat 2: 1) Jac Haudenschid 2) Brad Sweet 3) Sammy Swindell 4) Daryn Pittman 5) Terry McCarl 6) David Gravel 7) Chad Blonde 8) Randy Hannagan 9) Jason Leffler
Heat 3: 1) Tim Shaffer 2) Paul McMahan 3) Steve Kinser 4) Cody Darrah 5) Kerry Madsen 6) Tim Kaeding 7) Greg Wilson 8) Brady Bacon.
Heat 4: 1) Chad Kemenah 2) Brian Brown 3) Craig Dollansky 4) Lucas Wolfe 5) Sheldon Haudenschild 6) Kraig Kinser 7) Bryan Sebbetto 8) Brad Greer.
Dash: 1) Brian Brown 2) Brad Sweet 3) Paul McMahan 4) Sam Hafertepe 5) Donny Schatz 6) Joey Saldana 7) Daryn Pittman 8) Jac Haudenschild 9) Chad Kemenah 10) Tim Shaffer
Last Chance Showdown: 1) Tony Stewart 2) David Gravel 3) Tim Kaeding 4) Brian Paulus 5) Kraig Kinser 6) Bryan Sebbetto 7) Chad Blonde 8) Greg Wilson 9) Jason Leffler 10) Brady Bacon 11) Randy Hannagan 12) Brad Wimmer 13) Brad Greer 14) Bill Balog
A Main: 1) Daryn Pittman 2) Brian Brown 3) Donny Schatz 4) Jac Haudenschild 5) Joey Saldana 6) Paul McMahan 7) Steve Kinser 8) Chad Kemenah 9) Cody Darrah 10) Sammy Swindell 11) Craig Dollansky 12) Lucas Wolfe 13) Jason Sides 14) David Gravel 15) Terry McCarl 16) Tim Kaeding 17) Tony Stewart 18) Kraig Kinser 19) Sheldon Haudenschild 20) Tim Shaffer 21) Dale Blaney 22) Brad Sweet 23) Sam Hafertepe 24) Kerry Madsen.
Hard Charger of the Race: Steve Kinser, 15th to 7th.
Writers note: I would like to take a moment to offer the condolences and prayers of the entire dirt staff at Skirts and Scuffs to Dan Motter of Motter Motorsports on the loss of his father yesterday morning. He will be greatly missed by all of the racing community. We would ask that you take a moment and remember the Motter family in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.