|Photo courtesy of River Cities Speedway|
The World of Outlaws Sprint Cars invaded Grand Forks, North Dakota tonight for one of the most exciting races of the season. It was also one of the most emotional victories of the season for young Cody Darrah who dedicated the win to Jason Leffler and made a tribute lap with donuts in his honor.
The not-quite half-mile banked track was lightening fast from the very beginning of the night. Sammy Swindell set Quick Time with a lap of 10.151 seconds or 106.393 mph. Donny Schatz, Kraig Kinser, Craig Dollansky and Kerry Madsen rounded out the top five in time.
The heat races were exciting but crashed filled. The first heat of the night was won by Sammy Swindell. Swindell who was scheduled to start on the outside second row was moved up to the outside front row when David Gravel was late to staging for the race and penalized one row. Swindell was chased to the line by Cody Darrah, Gravel, Kerry Madsen, and Casey Mack.
The second heat of the night was won by local driver Chris Shirek. Shirek held off Joey Saldana in a hard last-lap charge to win by a nose. Daryn Pittman, Donny Schatz and Paul McMahan would also transfer to the A main.
The third heat was also won by a local, this time Mark Dobmeier showed his skills by holding off the King of the Outlaws, Steve Kinser. The elder Kinser had his hands full holding off son Kraig on the final lap but came home in the runner-up spot followed by son Kraig Kinser, Jason Solwold and Wade Nygaard.
The fourth and final of heat of the night had the first of the scary wrecks of the night. On lap eight of the ten-lap heat, Cory Mack made contact with Tim Kaeding and got into the water barrels that protect the retaining wall in turn four. The barrel exploded and sent water several hundred feet across the track and into the stands. Mack’s car was badly damaged but he climbed out and walked away. The race was won by Kaeding with Chad Kemenah, Jason Sides, Dave Glennon and Craig Dollansky all transferring to the A Main. Dollansky spun over the banking and came back from last place to the final transfer position in just two laps.
The dash inversion was eight, which put Steve Kinser on the front row with Cody Darrah. Steve Kinser would jump to the early lead and hold Darrah off until the final 50 feet when Darrah won the pole for the A Main and the dash by a nose. Steve Kinser showed his incredible car control at the half way point when Darrah got into the King coming out of the second turn and Kinser literally drove out of it and maintained the lead.
The Last Chance Showdown was the scene of the second scary crash of the night when Chris Ranten and Greg Nikitenko got together half way down the back stretch on the first lap of the race and sent Ranten flipping violently end over end and ending up at the fence at the edge of the property. Ranten crawled from the car and walked away. The last chance showdown was won by local driver Austin Pierce. Pierce was accompanied to the A main by Mitch Mack, Ryan Wilson and Jody Rosenboom.
The A Main would take 4 tries to get started. The initial green flag went yellow in turn two when Mitch Mack got over the banking and spun to a stop. The field would take a complete restart at the green. The second start would go Red when Jason Sides got upside down after contact with Casey Mack and Jody Rosenboom. Mack was pushed back to the field, while Rosenboom and Sides went to the work area on hooks. Neither beat the 2-minute clock in the work area and were trapped there. The third restart went yellow in turn two when Kerry Madsen bicycled wildly, saving the car but spinning over the banking. This allowed Jason Sides to return the track with a damaged top and nose wing. Madsen entered the work area, made repairs and returned to action until he broke a spark plug and retired from the event on lap 17. The fourth try saw the field go green and stay green for a few laps. Darrah took the lead early on and Tim Kaeding got by Steve Kinser, whose car was periodically puffing smoke. The caution waved again for Chad Kemenah on lap three as Kemenah lost power and slowed to a stop on the front stretch.
Then came the final scary wreck of the night. After taking the lead and losing it again in traffic, Joey Saldana got over the cushion, hit the wall and flipped wildly, hitting a second retaining wall that separates the pits from the track surface. It took several minutes for Saldana to exit the car. He was unhurt but the car was mangled and everyone in attendance and within ear shot of the broadcast breathed a sigh of relief. When the field went green, they stayed green until lap 37, when Jason Solwold flipped in turn four. Solwold was unhurt and returned to racing. The GWC single-file restart would not make it a lap before Jason Solwold would again flip in the exact same place on the track for a second time. Again the car was righted and he returned to racing action. Cody Darrah took the lead when Tim Kaeding opted to protect the low side, which was the line that Darrah had been running. Darrah jumped to the lead on the top and took off. Tim Kaeding would then do battle with Steve Kinser for second place, which Kinser would take momentarily but lose on the back stretch of the final lap.
Cody Darrah won his first race of the year. It was an emotional victory for Darrah: he did a lap for friend Jason Leffler and dedicated the race to Jason and Charlie Leffler. “ I should have been fired for about three of those restarts,” said an emotional Darrah, “This win is goes to Jason and Charlie. We have been beating the ground all year with bad finishes. It’s great to race with Tim and Steve. I always thought that Kasey Kahne was taking a big chance on me. I just hope tonight he is glad he did.”
Tim Kaeding said, “I want to thank my crew. I just gave that one away. Cody earned it. Congratulations to him. He really deserves it.”
Steve Kinser, who was puffing smoke all night long, said, “It was sucking a little oil there somewhere but it didn’t hurt its power. We broke a rocker and lost a couple cylinders there the last three laps but it didn’t hurt us and it didn’t help us either.”
They say that you measure a victory by what you learned from it and what you take away with you. Tonight we learned that we can all hold our breath and say a prayer at the same time. We learned that somewhere in the back of our minds and in the middle of our hearts a little boy's little league tournament victories should be shared with his Dad - and thank God Reese’s daddy is still here to share them with him. We also learned that time heals wounds, but it takes time and there hasn’t been enough of it pass yet. It still hurts us a lot that Charlie’s dad won’t be there to see his little league wins.
World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; River Cities Speedway; Grand Forks, N.D.; June 21, 2013
Qualifying: 1. 1-Sammy Swindell, 10.151; 2. 15-Donny Schatz, 10.222; 3. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 10.285; 4. 7-Craig Dollansky, 10.346; 5. 29-Kerry Madsen, 10.363; 6. 9-Daryn Pittman, 10.425; 7. 13-Mark Dobmeier, 10.535; 8. 83-Tim Kaeding, 10.539; 9. 6-David Gravel, 10.564; 10. 71M-Joey Saldana, 10.569; 11. 11-Steve Kinser, 10.607; 12. 5-Dave Glennon, 10.615; 13. 4-Cody Darrah, 10.625; 14. 1K-Chris Shirek, 10.654; 15. 19-Ryan Wilson, 10.676; 16. 63-Chad Kemenah, 10.704; 17. 2A-Austin Pierce, 10.704; 18. 92-Mitch Mack, 10.717; 19. 82-Jason Solwold, 10.720; 20. 7S-Jason Sides, 10.746; 21. 8-Casey Mack, 10.748; 22. 51-Paul McMahan, 10.809; 23. 14-Tom Egeland, 10.824; 24. 10TRB-Bob Martin, 10.950; 25. 20A-Jordon Adams, 10.971; 26. 97G-Jody Rosenboom, 11.021; 27. 9N-Wade Nygaard, 11.123; 28. 25-Cory Mack, 11.129; 29. 27-Chris Ranten, 11.249; 30. 6N-Greg Nikitenko, 11.337; 31. O-Nick Omdahl, 11.351; 32. 26-Blake Egeland, 11.529; 33. 99-Jordan Graham, 11.744; 34. 91K-Kyle Fedyk, 11.752; 35. 35-Brenden Wilde, 11.753; 36. 69-Brandon Rekow, 12.858.
Heat 1 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 1-Sammy Swindell ; 2. 4-Cody Darrah ; 3. 6-David Gravel ; 4. 29-Kerry Madsen ; 5. 8-Casey Mack ; 6. 27-Chris Ranten ; 7. 20A-Jordon Adams ; 8. 99-Jordan Graham ; 9. 2A-Austin Pierce 
Heat 2 - (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 1K-Chris Shirek ; 2. 71M-Joey Saldana ; 3. 9-Daryn Pittman ; 4. 15-Donny Schatz ; 5. 51-Paul McMahan ; 6. 6N-Greg Nikitenko ; 7. 92-Mitch Mack ; 8. 97G-Jody Rosenboom ; 9. 91K-Kyle Fedyk 
Heat 3 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 13-Mark Dobmeier ; 2. 11-Steve Kinser ; 3. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 4. 82-Jason Solwold ; 5. 9N-Wade Nygaard ; 6. 19-Ryan Wilson ; 7. 14-Tom Egeland ; 8. O-Nick Omdahl ; 9. 35-Brenden Wilde 
Heat 4 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 83-Tim Kaeding ; 2. 63-Chad Kemenah ; 3. 7S-Jason Sides ; 4. 5-Dave Glennon ; 5. 7-Craig Dollansky ; 6. 10TRB-Bob Martin ; 7. 26-Blake Egeland ; 8. 25-Cory Mack ; 9. 69-Brandon Rekow 
Dash - (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature): 1. 4-Cody Darrah ; 2. 11-Steve Kinser ; 3. 83-Tim Kaeding ; 4. 71M-Joey Saldana ; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 6. 13-Mark Dobmeier ; 7. 63-Chad Kemenah ; 8. 15-Donny Schatz ; 9. 1-Sammy Swindell ; 10. 1K-Chris Shirek 
Last Chance Showdown - (12 Laps - Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 2A-Austin Pierce  [-]; 2. 92-Mitch Mack  [-]; 3. 19-Ryan Wilson  [-]; 4. 97G-Jody Rosenboom  [-]; 5. 20A-Jordon Adams  [$200]; 6. 99-Jordan Graham  [$180]; 7. O-Nick Omdahl  [$175]; 8. 6N-Greg Nikitenko  [$160]; 9. 26-Blake Egeland  [$150]; 10. 91K-Kyle Fedyk  [$150]; 11. 35-Brenden Wilde  [$150]; 12. 14-Tom Egeland  [$150]; 13. 69-Brandon Rekow  [$150]; 14. 27-Chris Ranten  [$150]; 15. 10TRB-Bob Martin  [$150]; 16. 25-Cory Mack  [$150]
A-Main - (40 Laps): 1. 4-Cody Darrah  [$10,000]; 2. 83-Tim Kaeding  [$5,500]; 3. 11-Steve Kinser  [$3,200]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz  [$2,800]; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser  [$2,500]; 6. 13-Mark Dobmeier  [$2,300]; 7. 51-Paul McMahan  [$2,200]; 8. 7-Craig Dollansky  [$2,100]; 9. 1-Sammy Swindell  [$2,050]; 10. 6-David Gravel  [$2,000]; 11. 9-Daryn Pittman  [$1,500]; 12. 82-Jason Solwold  [$1,200]; 13. 63-Chad Kemenah  [$1,100]; 14. 92-Mitch Mack  [$1,050]; 15. 7S-Jason Sides  [$1,000]; 16. 8-Casey Mack  [$900]; 17. 19-Ryan Wilson  [$800]; 18. 1K-Chris Shirek  [$800]; 19. 5-Dave Glennon  [$800]; 20. 71M-Joey Saldana  [$800]; 21. 29-Kerry Madsen  [$800]; 22. 9N-Wade Nygaard  [$800]; 23. 2A-Austin Pierce  [$800]; 24. 97G-Jody Rosenboom  [$800]. Lap Leaders: Cody Darrah 1-10, 12-18, 35-40; Joey Saldana 11, Tim Kaeding 19-34. KSE Hard Charger Award: 51-Paul McMahan [+15]