[media-credit name=”Chris Dolack/World of Outlaws” align=”alignright” width=”200″][/media-credit]In the shadow of the big track at Charlotte stands one of the fastest and most challenging dirt tracks in our country. It is known simply as the dirt track at Charlotte. Its big sister across the street watches over her protectively but in truth she is very capable of taking care of herself. Tonight she showed the very best that fact without hesitation.
The second night of the World Finals at Charlotte went off without a hitch but with a few surprises. The qualifying held on Thursday for the Friday and Saturday race cards foreshadowed tonight’s results.
Thursday’s qualifying was a long day at the track. With qualifying for 3 major classes of racing, Super Dirt Modifieds, World of Outlaws Late Models, World of Outlaws Sprint Cars, it was a painfully long and sometimes confusing day. The field of 50 sprint cars mixed in with 70 late models and 50 modifieds took almost 5 hours to qualify. The Sprints often run with an accompanying class but never anything like this. This was 3 headline acts all competing for the fans and the spotlight.
Friday nights qualifying was eventful for several reasons. One Donny Schatz clinched the World of Outlaws Sprint Car championship when he made the first qualifying lap in the Tony Stewart Racing STP Number 15. But his qualifying time would be dismal and a disappointment when Schatz ended up 25th fast with what was rumored to be a Chevy Performance R&D power plant.
Fast time would go to Daryn Pittman who made his Outlaws debut in the Kasey Kahne Racing Ollie’s Bargain Outlet number 49. Pittman’s time of 13.047 seconds would top the charts ahead of Shane Stewart, Kraig Kinser, Sammy Swindell and Craig Dollansky. The top 5 cars were separated by 6 hundredths of a second. “Obviously with 50 cars the first goal is to go out there and get in the invert,” Pittman said after his third quick time of the season. “There’s 50 really good sprint cars and probably 30 of the best in the country, so you just start with a small goal of making sure you’re in the invert so you’ve got a chance to win and you try to improve from there.”
The 5 heat races would be run on Friday night. And with 3 classes running it was a very exciting night of racing for those in attendance.
The first heat race would run into havoc on the first lap when Ryan Smith, Eric Riggins and David Gravel would tangle in 4. Riggins would be done for the night. Gravel would make repairs and return. The heat would be won by Australian legend Brook Tatnell who held off a hard charging Joey Saldana. Pittman would come in 3rd and Kerry Madsen would come in 4th to transfer to the A Main. Gravel would rally back to finish 6th.
The second heat was a fast paced race that would again find trouble early when Shane Stewart, Dean Jacobs and Brian Sebetto would tangle. Jacobs would end up on his roof and out for the evening. No drivers were injured. The race would be won by PA Posse member Lance Dewease over Brian Brown, Paul McMahan and Jason Sides.
Heat number 3 would be free of incident with Dale Blaney leading the way over Sam Hafertepe Jr and Danny Holtgraver, and Kraig Kinser. Blaney previewed the strength of his car briefly in the heat but would show his hand later as to just how strong the car was.
Heat 4 was a power house show of talents and speed. Won by Sammy Swindell, the race was a display of skills by Swindell and Haudenschild. Although Haudenschild would fade late in the heat to 6th, he was a strong presence throughout the race. Transferring to the A along with Swindell, were Ed Lynch Jr, Lucas Wolfe and Greg Wilson.
Heat Race number 5 would bring the surprise of the evening, or maybe not so much of a surprise judging from the qualifying the night before. The race would be a fast and rough show that would be dominated by Jason Johnson in his Roush Stenhouse Ford. He would be chased to the line by Craig Dollansky, Terry McCarl and Steve Kinser. Failing to make the A was the new World of Outlaws Champion Donny Schatz. It seemed that Schatz struggled to maintain speed until late in the race when he climbed to 6th.
The C Main was a race of desperation. The C would be won by Jack Sodeman Jr. with Danny Mumaw, Warren Johnson, Bill Rose, and Kory Crabtree the top 5. Sodeman and Mumaw would transfer to the B Main.
The B Main would be the Wild Child show, with Jac Haudenschild putting on a clinic in how to make a Sprint Car fly. Haudenschild would lead every lap and come home ahead of Brian Sebetto, Stevie Smith and Greg Hodnett who would all transfer to the A Main. Champion, Donny Schatz would again come home 6th. Out of provisionals, the champ would watch the race from the pits. Taking a provisional to get in were Cody Darrah and Chad Kemenah.
The A Main was perhaps one of the best features of the entire season. With 8 lead changes and three wide action all through the pack. Dale Blaney would jump out to an early lead but would have to hold off a charging Sammy Swindell and a hard driving determined Brian Brown. Blaney was able to hold off both until he cut down a tire with 6 laps to go. Brown would inherit the lead and would hold off Sammy Swindell until the next to the last lap when Swindell would make a charge on the high side out of four to take the lead at the line. Swindell would never look back. Brown would then have his hands full with a very strong Kraig Kinser. Swindell would win by a corner over Brown, Kraig Kinser, Paul McMahan, and Jason Johnson. Swindell who said he had a good strong car and had to exercise patience until the fuel load burned off quipped, “They only pay for the last lap, so I just wanted to lead that one.”
With the night coming to an end, it was time to start getting ready for Saturday night and the final night of the World Finals. Qualifying is already in the books. The lineups are already set. All that is left is to run the final race of the year. The Outlaws champion Donny Schatz is sitting much better for Saturday than he was for tonight. There is a different quick time holder. But still there and still determined is the old guard. Sammy Swindell did not come to go home with only one win. Jac Haudenschild will not be happy with 8th. And the King of the Outlaws has never been an also ran and he will not be settling in to the role now.
As the tail lights wind out of the speedway and the voices continue their excited chatter as they exit. The track has grown quiet. It’s time to give her a drink of water and put her to bed for the night. The wind is chilly and the stars are bright. From a distance you can almost see her snuggle up to her big sister and say “Did you see what I did tonight?”
Qualifying Results for Friday : 1) Daryn Pittman 2) Shane Stewart 3) Kraig Kinser 4) Sammy Swindell 5) Craig Dollansky 6) Joey Saldana 7) Paul McMahan 8) Dale Blaney 9) Jac Haudenschild 10) Cody Darrah 11) Brooke Tatnell 12) Brian Brown 13) Sam Hafetepe Jr 14) Greg Wilson 15) Terry McCarl 16) Stevie Smith 17) Lance Dewease 18) Danny Holtgraver 19) Ed Lynch Jr. 20) Jason Johnson 21) David Gravel 22) Bryan Sebetto 23) Logan Schuchart 24) Lucas Wolfe 25) Donny Schatz 26) Kerry Madsen 27)Dean Jacobs 28) Brian Paulus 29) Greg Hodnett 30) Steve Kinser 31) Tim Shaffer 23) Chad Kemenah 33) Caleb Helms 24) Jessica Zemken 35) Randy Hannagan 36) Ryan Smith 37) Jason Sides 38) Jack Sodeman 39) Danny Mumaw 40) Bill Rose 41) Eric Riggins 42) Kory Crabtree 43) Michael Parent 44) Jimmy Seger 45) Glenn Styres 46) Brad Wickam 47) Jim Perricone 48) Bob Howard 49) Mark Cole 50) Wayne Johnson (No Time Recorded)
Heat 1 Results: 1) Brooke Tatnell 2) Joey Saldana 3) Daryn Pittman 4) Kerry Madsen transfer to A. 5) Tim Shaffer 6) David Gravel 7) Stevie Smith 8) Ryan Smith 9) Brad Wickam 10) Eric Riggins
Heat 2 Results: 1) Lance Dewease, 2) Brian Brown, 3) Paul McMahan, 4) Jason Sides, 5) Chad Kemenah, 6) Kory Crabtree, 7) Jim Perricone, 8) Shane Stewart, 9) Dean Jacobs, 10) Brian Sebetto
Heat 3 Results: 1) Dale Blaney, 2) Sam Hafertepe Jr., 3) Danny Holtgraver, 4) Kraig Kinser, 5) Logan Schuchart, 6) Brain Paulus, 7) Jack Sodeman Jr., 8) Caleb Helms, 9) Michael Parent, 10) Bob Howard
Heat 4 Results: 1) Sammy Swindell, 2) Ed Lynch Jr., 3) Lucas Wolfe, 4) Greg Wilson, 5) Greg Hodnett, 6) Jac Haudenschild, 7) Jessica Zemken, 8) Danny Mumaw, 9) Jimmy Seger, 10) Mark Cole
Heat 5 Results: 1) Jason Johnson, 2) Craig Dollansky, 3) Terry McCarl, 4) Steve Kinser, 5) Cody Darrah, 6) Donny Schatz, 7) Randy Hannagan, 8) Warren Johnson, 9) Glenn Styres, 10) Bill Rose
C Main Results: 1) Jack Sodeman Jr., 2) Danny Mumaw, 3) Warren Johnson, 4) Bill Rose, 5) Kory Crabtree, 6) Jimmy Seger, 7) Michael Parent, 8) Glenn Styres, 9) Brad Wickam, 10) Bob Howard, 11) Mark Cole, 12) Jim Perricone
B Main Results: 1) Jac Haudenschild 2) Bryan Sebetto 3) Stevie Smith 4) Greg Hodnett 5) Chad Kemenah 6) Donny Schatz 7) Cody Darrah 8) David Gravel 9) Logan Schuchart 10) Brian Paulus 11) Dean Jacobs 12) Randy hannagan 13) Jessica Zemken 14) Tim Shaffer 15) R. Smith 16) Danny Mumaw 17) Jack Sodeman
Dash Results: 1) Craig Dollansky, 2) Sammy Swindell, 3) Dale Blaney, 4) Kraig Kinser, 5) Brian Brown, 6) Daryn Pittman, 7) Lance Dewease, 8) Joey Saldana, 9) Sam Hafertepe, 10) Ed Lynch, 11) Brook Tatnell, 12) Jason Johnson
A Main Results: 1) Sammy Swindell 2) Brian Brown 3) Kraig Kinser 4) Paul McMahan 5) Jason Johnson 6) Brian Sebetto (Hard Charger) 7) Sam Hafertepe 8) Jac Haudenschild 9) Daryn Pittman 10) Lucas Wolfe 11) Kerry Madsen 12) Craig Dollansky 13) Jason Sides 14) Chad Kemenah 15) Joey Saldana 16) Danny Holtgraver 17) Cody Darrah 18) Terry McCarl 19) Steve Kinser 20) Brooke Tatnell 21) Stevie Smith 22) Greg Wilson 23) Dale Blaney 24) Ed Lynch Jr 25) Lance Dewease 26) Greg Hodnett