Blaney Beats Attrition at PEAK Motor Oil World Finals Presented by NAPA
Schatz crowned with his fifth World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship
CONCORD, N.C. – Nov. 3, 2012 – The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series finished the season with a bang. And a smash. And a clank.
In front of packed grandstands and a television audience on SPEED, Donny Schatz claimed his fifth championship on Saturday evening at the Sixth annual PEAK Motor Oil World of Outlaws World Finals Presented by NAPA Auto Parts. However, Schatz’s season ended in a wreck as he was one of seven drivers who either crashed or sustained an issue while racing in the top 10 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
A night after a flat tire ended his night while competing for the win, Dale Blaney survived the attrition to record his second Outlaws victory of the season.
“The last race of the year, to win down here in front of this crowd and everything, it’s pretty cool,” he said. “We had a little bit of luck … but our car was really good. I’ve got a little bit of talent, but a lot of luck is a lot better.”
Stevie Smith rocketed to the lead on the start with Blaney a close second. On lap seven, Blaney capitalized on a slide job in turn two to take the top spot. The duo then entered traffic on lap 10 before top-10 cars began to be targeted by misfortune near the midpoint of the 30-lap feature.
Sammy Swindell, who earned Friday’s event at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, stopped in turn four because of mechanical issues on lap 14 while running 10 th. Under caution, Daryn Pittman went to the work area with a flat right rear tire, which dropped him from eighth to 24th on the restart.
After Dean Jacobs spun in turn four on the restart to force another caution, Blaney and Dollansky battled side by side with Blaney holding a slight edge. On lap 18, Dollansky’s slide job in turn four was matched with a putback by Blaney, but Dollansky maneuvered to the lead as they entered traffic on the ensuing lap.
The intense action at the front of the pack continued when Schatz and Smith collided as they entered turn three on the bottom in a fight for third place. Schatz spun up the track and came to a stop near the wall. Jac Haudenschild and Cody Darrah – each racing in the top 10 – took evasive action to avoid the stalled car, but to no avail. Haudenschild’s car tipped over after contact and Darrah’s flipped to end his night.
Dollansky’s right rear tire began to go flat during the red flag. He continuously spun the tires during the caution, but the tire exploded entering turn three on the restart. Smith, who restarted third, crashed into the back of Dollansky in turn four and Kerry Madsen was also involved in the incident.
Blaney regained the top spot with Paul McMahan, who started 22nd, in the runner-up position. The duo set a torrid pace before Steve Kinser had a flat tire spin him in turn two with three laps remaining. Dollansky then brought out the final caution when he stopped in turn three on lap 29, setting up a green-white-checkered finish.
Blaney nearly rubbed the wall around the 4/10-mile track with McMahan hitting his narrow marks on the bottom of the dusty track. Blaney and McMahan were almost even as they exited turn four coming to the checkered flag, but Blaney’s momentum allowed him to win by a car length.
“We had a good run on him, got to the inside of him one time getting off of (turn) four and I just wasn’t able to pull it off,” McMahan said after earning the KSE Hard Charger Award. “We gave it our best effort and we passed 20 race cars, so you can’t really complain about that.”
Jason Johnson, who claimed a heat race win each of the past two races, earned his best finish of the season by rounding out the podium.
“You’ve got to be there at the end to produce a finish,” he said. “It was the last race of the year, a lot at stake. Even being on a TV show even adds a little extra, so the main thing is to just make good, smooth laps. There at the end it was survival of the fittest.”
Kraig Kinser placed fourth with 16th-starter Greg Hodnett ending fifth. Brian Brown was sixth, 23rd-starter Jason Sides seventh, Lucas Wolfe eighth, Lance Dewease ninth and David Gravel rounded out the top 10.
While Schatz’s weekend didn’t go as planned, he said his fifth championship – and first since claiming four straight from 2006-09 – was the most special.
“This ranks up there as probably one of the hardest fought ones,” he said. “We had some of the lowest lows and the highest highs. To rebound and dig out of the hole we were in – we raced our way out of it – and that’s what makes it more special than the rest of them.”