|Photo courtesy of Ken Simon Photos|
It was a shootout at Boot Hill. The Outlaws were slinging clay and riding 900 HP into the corral at Dodge City Raceway Park. Only one man was going to walk away a winner. Only one was going to take home the hardware for the night. Last year, on both nights of the showdown, that man’s name was Kinser: father Steve on night one, son Kraig on night two. Would the Kinsers run the herd out of town, or would there be a new sheriff at the top of the podium? When the tire smoke cleared, the new sheriff’s name was Schatz, Donny Schatz.
Dodge City Raceway Park is a state of the art facility that was opened in 2000. The facility includes a 3/8-mile semi-banked clay overlay track with its 1/5-mile asphalt track inside of the 3/8. The 3/8-mile track is 60 feet in width. Both tracks, as well as the completed paved pit area, have Musco lighting. The pit area also contains water and power outlets for the competitors' use. The track record of 12.277 seconds was established by Donny Schatz on October 7, 2005. Although no one would beat that track record, Daryn Pittman would set Quick Time with a lap of 12.822 seconds or approximately 105.288 mph. Rounding out the top five qualifiers were Jason Sides, James McFadden, Sammy Swindell and Cody Darrah.
Qualifying held one of the most frightening crashes we have seen in awhile when Kaden Taylor lost control of his car between turns three and four and hit the wall with the right front corner, sheering off the right front wheel and flipping the car in a shower of sparks. Taylor, who is in a wheel chair and drives with hand controls, was uninjured but could not extricate himself from the car. Safety workers removed him from the car and to a team track vehicle to return him to the pits. Taylor was a scratch for the remainder of the weekend.
With only 23 cars remaining in the field, there was no need for a Last Chance Showdown as everyone would transfer to the A main. The three heat races were quick and definite, with clear cut winners and no incidents. Donny Schatz, Chad Kemenah and Kraig Kinser would cross under the checkered flags first in all three races.
The Dash was made up of the top two finishers and the four fastest qualifiers on the night for a 10-car field. Steve Kinser returned to the track with a fresh power plant after experiencing engine difficulty in his heat. The track had begun to widen out and become multiple grooves wide, allowing for strong racing for the Dash. The dash was won by Jason Sides with Chad Kemenah and Donny Schatz battling for the second spot.
The A Main started off a barn burner, with Chad Kemenah taking the early lead and pulling out to over a straight away lead before Steve Kinser would spin trying to avoid a slower car and bring out the first yellow flag. On the restart, Kemenah again took the lead into one, but slid up slightly coming out of two. Daryn Pittman, who had been making his way through the field, got almost sideways out of four before saving the car. Jason Sides would take the lead when Kemenah got out of shape out of two going down the back stretch. The track began to take rubber in the lower groove of the track. The slick ice-like surface wore the tires and the patience of the Outlaws. Five blown right rear tires later with two laps to go on the restart, Donny Schatz would make his move to the inside of Sides on the final corner of the final lap coming to the checkered flags. As they made the front stretch, Sides right rear tire gave up the ghost and Schatz won by a nose wing to take home the first leg of the Boot Hill Classic.
Dodge City had introduced the Outlaws to the Wild West. She had eaten their Hoosiers down to the cords. She dealt them hot 30 mph head winds down the back straight away. She had done everything she could possibly do to hand the justice of Wild West. But still the Outlaws prevailed. They would be back tomorrow night, with new Hoosiers and new engines and a new will to win, but who would win the Boot Hill Showdown? Only tomorrow knows.
Qualifying: 1. 9-Daryn Pittman, 12.822; 2. 7S-Jason Sides, 12.971; 3. 55X-James McFadden, 13.008; 4. 1-Sammy Swindell, 13.054; 5. 4-Cody Darrah, 13.116; 6. 51-Paul McMahan, 13.129; 7. 15-Donny Schatz, 13.180; 8. 63-Chad Kemenah, 13.194; 9. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 13.236; 10. 71M-Joey Saldana, 13.258; 11. 6-David Gravel, 13.272; 12. 11-Steve Kinser, 13.307; 13. 7-Craig Dollansky, 13.379; 14. 74X-Josh Hodges, 13.400; 15. 1X-Don Droud Jr, 13.442; 16. 83-Tim Kaeding, 13.516; 17. 29-Kerry Madsen, 13.534; 18. 77X-Wayne Johnson, 13.768; 19. E85-C.J. Johnson, 13.911; 20. 72-Ray Seeman, 14.071; 21. 1J-Danny Jennings, 14.135; 22. 81-Jon Freeman, 14.476; 23. 97-Brian Herbert, 14.569; 24. 16K-Kaden Taylor, nt.
Heat 1 - (8 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 15-Donny Schatz ; 2. 71M-Joey Saldana ; 3. 9-Daryn Pittman ; 4. 7-Craig Dollansky ; 5. 83-Tim Kaeding ; 6. 1-Sammy Swindell ; 7. E85-C.J. Johnson ; 8. 81-Jon Freeman .
Heat 2 - (8 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 63-Chad Kemenah ; 2. 6-David Gravel ; 3. 29-Kerry Madsen ; 4. 7S-Jason Sides ; 5. 4-Cody Darrah ; 6. 74X-Josh Hodges ; 7. 97-Brian Herbert ; 8. 72-Ray Seeman .
Heat 3 - (8 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 2. 11-Steve Kinser ; 3. 55X-James McFadden ; 4. 51-Paul McMahan ; 5. 1X-Don Droud Jr ; 6. 77X-Wayne Johnson ; 7. 1J-Danny Jennings .
Dash - (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature): 1. 7S-Jason Sides ; 2. 63-Chad Kemenah ; 3. 15-Donny Schatz ; 4. 55X-James McFadden ; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 6. 71M-Joey Saldana ; 7. 1-Sammy Swindell ; 8. 9-Daryn Pittman ; 9. 11-Steve Kinser ; 10. 6-David Gravel .
A-Main - (29 Laps): 1. 15-Donny Schatz  [$10,000]; 2. 7S-Jason Sides  [$5,500]; 3. 11K-Kraig Kinser  [$3,200]; 4. 63-Chad Kemenah  [$2,800]; 5. 9-Daryn Pittman  [$2,500]; 6. 55X-James McFadden  [$2,300]; 7. 51-Paul McMahan  [$2,200]; 8. 6-David Gravel  [$2,100]; 9. 1-Sammy Swindell  [$2,050]; 10. 1X-Don Droud Jr  [$2,000]; 11. 11-Steve Kinser  [$1,500]; 12. 83-Tim Kaeding  [$1,200]; 13. 29-Kerry Madsen  [$1,100]; 14. 7-Craig Dollansky  [$1,050]; 15. 4-Cody Darrah  [$1,000]; 16. 71M-Joey Saldana  [$900]; 17. 77X-Wayne Johnson  [$800]; 18. 74X-Josh Hodges  [$800]; 19. E85-C.J. Johnson  [$800]; 20. 72-Ray Seeman  [$800]; 21. 97-Brian Herbert  [$800]; 22. 81-Jon Freeman  [$800]; 23. 1J-Danny Jennings  [$800]; 24. 16K-Kaden Taylor  [$800]. Lap Leaders: Chad Kemenah 1-5, Jason Sides 6-28, Donny Schatz 29. KSE Hard Charger Award: 51-Paul McMahan [+5].