Pittman Leads Outlaw Podium Sweep at Williams Grove
Earns World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car-leading fourth win of ’14
MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — May 16, 2014 — Daryn Pittman dominated at Williams Grove Speedway on Friday night, holding off Joey Saldana and claiming his fourth World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series win of the season and a breakout victory for his #9 Great Clips team at the storied half-mile track.
Heavy rain showers threatened the race Thursday night into Friday, but by late morning the inclement weather gave way to drier conditions and a well-sealed track allowed for the event to continue as planned.
Saldana, the current points leader in the Motter Equipment car, joined defending series champion Pittman on the front row to lead the field of 28 to the green flag. Tony Stewart Racing teammates Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser, with 26 championships between them, were poised in row two to chase them down.
Steve Buckwalter brought out the first caution of the night after going around in turn three before a lap could be completed. The field reset but only made it to lap four before another yellow flew. Paul McMahan, Pat Cannon and Don Kreitz Jr. were all caught up in a wreck in turn one. McMahan was the only one able to continue.
When the green flag flew again, the battle between Kinser and Schatz for third took center stage. After working the high line, Kinser eventually found his way around Schatz on lap 5.
Kinser’s run forward was short-lived, though, as rear-end issues forced him off the track on lap 13.
Saldana, in second, closed in on Pittman in the final laps of the race as the two worked their way around lapped traffic. It was Pittman though who took the checkered flag and the win followed by Saldana, Schatz and David Gravel.
Pittman, who finished third two nights earlier at Lincoln Speedway just down the road in Abbottstown, said this win meant a lot for him and for his team.
“This place is tough,” Pittman said. “This track is like a chess match. You don’t really know what to do at certain times.
“We had a fast car from the first time we came here with the No. 9 and they don’t have many good notes here so we kind of came here with a blank slate last year and we just keep getting better every time we come back … This place means a lot to win at just like Eldora and Knoxville so it’s big for me and I know the whole No. 9 team is pretty proud.”
He credited his crew chief Kale Kahne with being able to give him what he needed on the car. This was Kahne’s first win at Williams Grove as a crew chief, and the second win for Kasey Kahne Racing after Cody Darrah earned a win at the half-mile in 2012.
“It’s one of the coolest feelings ever,” Kale Kahne said. “It’s pretty emotional really. All the Outlaw wins are big either way, no matter what you do, all the Outlaw wins are big, but to win at Williams Grove and to beat the guys around us … it’s pretty cool for the whole company because we’ve only won twice at Williams Grove as a company now in six or seven years.”
With unique track conditions at Williams Grove on Friday night, second place finishing Saldana said he thought the Dash was really the key to success in the A-main.
“I kept riding off [Pittman’s] right rear and I felt like I was OK. Even the long run there before the rubber came in [Pittman] was driving really good,” said Saldana, of Brownsburg, Ind. “It was just a good solid run for us. To qualify well, to run well, that’s what you strive to do every night and put yourself in position to win – tonight, we just came up a little short. We’ll come back tomorrow and try to do a better job.”
Schatz, who finished in third in the STP/Armor All car echoed Saldana, saying that the conditions made for a different dynamic on the racetrack.
“Obviously we’ll be in similar conditions tomorrow,” said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. “We tried a few things with the car which is what you need to do this time of year. All the other races we come back here late in the year pay a lot of money so we want to be on our game and try to have things 100 percent. Everything we did, we had positive results so we know what direction we need to go for tomorrow.
“We had a decent night, but it wasn’t what we wanted,” Schatz said. “We’ll have to take the third place finish and come back tomorrow.”
Series points leader Saldana extended his lead to 19 points. McMahan, who had been in second following Lincoln, fell to fourth place, 43 points out of the lead. Pittman moved to second and Schatz to third, 22 points back.
The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series returns to Williams Grove tomorrow as the Outlaws and Posse battle for bragging rights and the right to claim the Morgan Cup. On Sunday the series heads to Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, N.Y., and on Tuesday it makes its only stop in New Jersey this season for the NAPA Outlaw Classic at New Egypt Speedway.
NOTES: Friday night was the 26th World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series A-main of the season. … There have been 14 different winners this season, with Pittman leading the way at four victories. … The dash invert was a “0” for only the fifth time this season. … Joey Saldana was quickest in qualifying for a series-high 11th time this season.