World of Outlaws–Paul McMahan Overcomes Up-and-Down Season to Lawrenceburg Win

Paul McMahan Overcomes Up-and-Down Season to Lawrenceburg Win
Scores his third series win of the season and takes over 17th on the all-time wins list
LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. – Oct. 16, 2015 – From the peak of spring where things seemed to be coming together to the desolation of a frustrating summer, Paul McMahan was a driver relieved Friday night at Lawrenceburg Speedway after he scored his first World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory in more than five months.

“It’s been a long time,” an emotional McMahan said as he walked to his victory lane interview. “Man, this has been a hell of an up-and-down year for me all year long. We’re not accustomed to be running where we’ve been running. This is where we’re accustomed to running.”

With his father and son in attendance, the CJB Motorsports driver took the quick time earlier in the night, his second in a row and sixth on the season.

Christopher Bell and Shane Stewart led the field to the green flag in the 35-lap feature which had been postponed to tonight following a rain out in May. Stewart jumped to an early lead in his No. 2 GoPro/Eneos/KickIt car as McMahan quickly moved into fourth from a fifth-place starting position.

McMahan ran down Bell, then in third, as the leader, Stewart, began working his way through traffic. A caution flag waved on lap seven and on the subsequent restart, McMahan took the position. For the next 10 laps McMahan and Madsen engaged in an intense back and forth for second place. Both drivers worked much of the track – Madsen trying to hold off McMahan and McMahan looking for a way around.

McMahan was able to successfully clear the No. 29 as they exited turn four to complete lap 17. The next lap by another caution flew, one of the pivotal moments of the race for McMahan. On the restart, he, Madsen, Bell and Stewart fanned out across the track, crossing the start, finish line several cars deep. By the time they hit the exit of turn two, McMahan was in the lead.

Farther back, Donny Schatz, who has already clinched the 2015 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series title in the midst of a historic season, started 12th in his No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance car and made steady progress up through the field. By the time McMahan took the lead, Schatz was battling David Gravel for the third position. He got around on lap 21.

Disaster nearly struck for McMahan and his No. 51 CJB/ Bair’s Tree Service/All-Star Performance car on lap 25 as a caution flew and set up a double file restart.

“We had a good racecar, we got around Shane there,” McMahan said. “On that double file restart I spun the tires a little bit and let him keep even with me into turn one. Fortunate for me, I got a second chance.”

Just as Stewart took over the lead, a caution flag flew and set them up for a second restart, this time single file.

As the race returned to green, McMahan quickly built up a stubborn lead as Stewart looked for a way around. Ultimately, it was McMahan claiming his third World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory of the season and 26th career win. He passed Bobby Allen on list of all-time winners, taking over the 17th position.

“I don’t know if it started taking a little bit of rubber there, I found it before anyone else did and was able to get by and hold on for the win,” McMahan said of the track. “Shane had a heck of a pace going and sometimes when you’re running second you can move around and try different things and that’s what got me the lead. Fortunate enough, I didn’t screw it up. I tried to – I got a second chance and came home in victory lane tonight.”

“(My crew chief Barry Jackson) works his butt off,” McMahan said. “(Sammy Swindell) came along as our teammate and he’s helped us out a bunch. My guys, Derek and Steven, they bust their butt everyday trying to make this racecar better. (My car owners) Chad and Jen Clemens give me the opportunity to come out here and do what we do.”

Stewart, who has nine wins in his first full World of Outlaws season with Larson Marks Racing, said it was hard to know if running a different line would have made a difference for him.

“I felt like I had a decent pace there and obviously it started taking a little bit of rubber towards the middle of the race track and I didn’t see it,” Stewart said. “I had a great restart the one time and then the yellow came out and single file after that. I knew it was going to be pretty tough to get by Paul. Congrats to them. I know that these races are very, very hard to win. It’s very disappointing when you lose on like that but my guys gave me a great car all night.”

Stewart said he hopes to keep the momentum going into the final races of the season and add to what has been a remarkable year for his still young team.

With another podium finish for his Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing team, Donny Schatz continues to add to a season that has seen him first or second 47 times with now 12 other nights in top-five finishing positions. Tonight was the first time in two seasons Schatz has not stood atop the podium at Lawrenceburg.

“It’s this race team – they always do a phenomenal job adjusting to the track conditions,” Schatz said. “That threw us for a little curve there – I didn’t expect that to happen. We got a good respectable finish out of it… Tried moving around, tried to do everything I could and some nights you’re just going to have that so we’ll leave here happy.”