Sunday, June 2, 2013

McMahan and the Outlaws outrun the rain at I-96 Speedway

Photo Credit: World of Outlaws
The Outlaws pay one visit to Michigan every year. This year they were racing the rain. 

With severe storms traveling across the midwest and upper midwest, Mother Nature took her toll on the Outlaws this weekend. Attica Raceway (OH) was canceled while I-96 Speedway (MI) raced the rain to get the show in. 

With 24 cars scheduled and only 23 in the pits, qualifying went quickly. Bill Rose’s hauler broke down on the way to Michigan and a spot was drawn for him with the plan that he would tag the back of the A Main. Joey Saldana set the previous track record of 14.834 seconds in May 2010; Paul McMahan, who turned a lap of 14.731 seconds or 122.191 mph, is the new track record holder. Sammy Swindell, Chad Kemenah, Jason Sides and Daryn Pittman would round out the top 5 qualifiers.

The first heat race was won by reigning champion Donny Schatz who crossed the line with a 1.5 second lead over second place Joey Saldana. Schatz and Saldana would be joined in the dash by Paul McMahan and Jason Sides. The field strung out early and Schatz dominated the field in very convincing fashion.

The second heat race would see Kerry “The Mad Man” Madsen take the win over current point leader Daryn Pittman and Brandon Wimmer. Advancing to the dash from the second heat would be Madsen, Pittman and Sammy Swindell. Pittman made a late race charge after getting around Brandon Wimmer for second but Madsen was able to hold off the charge to take the checkers.

The third heat race would be a walk away for Shane Stewart. Stewart would cap the field by 2.5 seconds. Brad Sweet and Chad Kemenah would advance to the Dash with Stewart. 

The Dash inversion was drawn by Paul McMahan with the threat of rain close at hand. The inversion was a six putting Donny Schatz on the pole for the dash. The race was on to beat the rain and to get the show in the books. With eight minutes between the final heat and the Dash, the turn around was short for those in the final heat. When the Dash came to the line Schatz would take the lead and run away and hide.

The battle on the track was between Chad Kemenah and Daryn Pittman. Pittman would take the outside front row spot by a nose. Shane Stewart would have difficulties at the tail end of the Dash and would require a push truck to get to his pit stall. Once Stewart arrived at his pit, the three minute clock started for the eight minute horns for the A main.

All drivers would make the call for the A Main except Bill Rose who never did arrive at the track. The A Main was a race dominated by slide jobs and power moves to the inside of the track. The narrow race surface did not allow for easy passing but some passing was possible. Donny Schatz jumped to the lead and would maintain that lead until seven laps to go, He got over the cushion in the second turn and allowed Shane Stewart to take the lead bringing Paul McMahan with him.

Schatz would get the car righted and moving again to hold on to third. Stewart would lose the lead to McMahan on the next lap when he too got over the cushion in Turn 3. In clean air, McMahan set sail and would lead to the checkers to take his third win of the season. Stewart would run out of fuel on the final lap allowing Donny Schatz and Joey Saldana to complete the podium. Craig Dollansky would be the hard charger of the race coming from 13th to 4th .

McMahan was breathless in victory lane as the rain began to fall. “I got a great restart there and Donny got over the curb there in two. My car got tighter and tighter and I kinda of cheated it (the curb) a few times. That curb was just treacherous. We got lucky tonight but I’ll take it."

Donny Schatz was obviously disappointed but made no excuses about his finish. “I made a mistake. That’s just part of it. I just misjudged it. We’ll take second.”

Joey Saldana saw the podium finish as a light at the end of the tunnel. “We’re happy to be in the top three tonight. We hit a rough patch recently but it’s nice to see that we’re making improvements. We knew we had the speed. We just had to harness it and get the set-up going in the right direction.”

In the end, the Outlaws won the race and Mother Nature got her due with a down pour that soaked everything but the spirits of the fans and the winners. 

Qualifying Results: 1) Paul McMahan NEW TRACK RECORD 14.731 (122.191 mph) 2) Sammy Swindell 3) Chad Kemenah 4) Jason Sides 5) Daryn Pittman 6) Tim Kaeding 7) Donny Schatz 8) Sam Hafertepe Jr. 9) Brad Sweet 10) Joey Saldana 11) Kerry Madsen 12) Shane Stewart 13) Craig Dollansky 14) Kraig Kinser 15) Steve Kinser 16) David Gravel 17) Brandon Wimmer 18) Wayne Johnson 19) Jac Haudenschild 20) Bryan Sebbetto 21) Greg Dalman 22) Dustin Daggett 23) Cody Darrah 24) Bill Rose (No Time)

Heat 1 Results: 1) Donny Schatz 2) Joey Saldana 3) Paul McMahan 4) Jason Sides 5) David Gravel 6) Craig Dollansky 7) Jac Haudenschild 8) Dustin Daggett

Heat 2 Results: 1) Kerry Madsen 2) Daryn Pittman 3) Brandon Wimmer 4) Sam Hafertepe 5) Cody Darrah 6) Sammy Swindell 7) Kraig Kinser 8) Bryan Sebbetto

Heat 3 Results: 1) Shane Stewart 2) Brad Sweet 3) Chad Kemenah 4) Tim Kaeding 5) Steve Kinser 6) Wayne Johnson 7) Greg Dalman 8) Bill Rose DNS

Dash Results: Inversion was a 6. 1) Donny Schatz 2) Daryn Pittman 3) Chad Kemenah 4) Jason Sides 5) Paul McMahan 6) Sammy Swindell 7) Joey Saldana 8) Shane Stewart 9) Brad Sweet 10) Kerry Madsen

A Main Results: 1) Paul McMahan 2) Donny Schatz 3) Joey Saldana 4) Craig Dollansky 5) Jason Sides 6) Kerry Madsen 7) Kraig Kinser 8) Sammy Swindell 9) David Gravel 10) Steve Kinser 11) Brad Sweet 12) Tim Kaeding 13) Daryn Pittman 14) Sam Hafertepe 15) Bryan Sebbetto 16) Dustin Daggett 17) Shane Stewart 18) Greg Dalman 19) Cody Darrah 20) Chad Kemenah 21) Brandon Wimmer 22) Jac Haudenschild 23) Wayne Johnson.

Hard Charger: Craig Dollansky, 13th to 4th


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