Sell-Out Crowd Cheers as Schatz & Dillon Win
Defending World of Outlaws Sprint Series champion Donny Schatz had to take a backseat to 16-year-old Austin Dillon Friday night as a sell-out crowd of more than 14,000 people filled the grandstands at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway for the Eckerd Outlaw Showdown.
Schatz passed Paul McMahan for the lead with just three laps remaining and went on to win the 30-lap sprint car finale, while Dillon, grandson of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team owner Richard Childress, put a familiar black No. 3 back in victory lane by winning the Goodyear Fastrak Challenge late model feature.
"I don't think I've been more nervous trying to win the Daytona 500," Childress said with pride. "Seeing the black No. 3 back up there and my family running it, it's just great. He did a great job tonight and I'm proud of Austin."
Schatz, who started fifth in the 26-car World of Outlaws feature, passed McMahan for the lead on lap 27 and went on to claim his first victory at the four-tenths-mile clay oval since Oct. 5, 2000.
"It's great that the winner didn't come from the front row, and I'm just ecstatic to be that guy," said the Minot, N.D., native.
Schatz was challenging McMahan for the lead when the red flag was waved for an accident on lap 17 and teams were allowed to make adjustments and add fuel. McMahan pulled away on the restart and opened a big margin before Schatz started closing the gap.
"I never adjust on a red," Schatz said. "I try to adjust my head a little bit and get a little more focused. I knew the 20 car was going to get a little bit better. We had an advantage on him coming into the red. We're just glad we hit lapped traffic and had to move around to get by them at the end."
The victory was Schatz's seventh of the season and he continues to lead the series point standings. He earned $10,000 for his evening's work.
McMahan settled for second while Tony Bruce Jr., who started seventh, finished third. Danny Lasoski came home fourth and 20-time series champion Steve Kinser moved forward from the 14th starting spot to take fifth.
There were numerous incidents during the sprint car feature, three of which resulted in the red flag being waved for flipping race cars. Jason Meyers had the distinction of flipping twice, the first time on the initial start and again on lap 17. No injuries resulted.
The eight-lap heat races for the World of Outlaws sprint cars were won by Justin Henderson, Joey Saldana and Randy Hannagan. Henderson also won the Crane Cams Dash to earn the pole for the feature, but his race ended against the outside wall on lap 15.
McMahan topped the 26-car field during qualifying with a lap of 12.223 seconds.
Dillon started seventh in the 24-car Goodyear Fastrak Challenge late model finale and took the lead on lap 20 of the 25-lap race following a side-by-side battle with veteran Jack Pennington and Timbo Mangnum.
"I was racing against a veteran," Dillon said. "Jack Pennington did a great job. He raced me clean."
Clint Bowyer, who drives for Childress in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series, started 16th and passed Pennington for second on lap 23. He chased Dillon under the checkered flag to claim the runner-up money while Pennington settled for third.
Pennington, Chase McCormick, Mangnum, Frankie Beard, Jason Walls and Roger Phillips topped the eight-lap heat races for the Goodyear Fastrak Challenge late models.
A multi-car tangle on the opening lap of the first late model heat race sent the cars of Owen Osteen and Bill Tesh flipping down the backstretch. Both cars were heavily damaged, but neither driver was injured. Darren Hill also walked away from a tumble in the fourth late model heat race.
The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway returns to action Saturday night, Aug. 18, with the Circle K Monster Truck Bash. A dozen of the world's top Monster Trucks will participate in an evening of motorized mayhem that also includes a Trailer Race and the wild-and-crazy CRASHCars. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Lowe's Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
World of Outlaws Sprint Cars
Qualifications: 1. Paul McMahan, 12.223; 2. Danny Lasoski, 12.252; 3. Jason Meyers, 12.330; 4. Donny Schatz, 12.383; 5. Tony Bruce, 12.451; 6. Terry McCarl, 12.499; 7. Justin Henderson, 12.539; 8. Joey Saldana, 12.543; 9. Randy Hannagan, 12.551; 10. Zach Chappell, 12. 584; 11. Jason Sides, 12.590; 12. Chad Kemenah, 12.599; 13. Jac Haudenschild, 12.600; 14. Steve Kinser, 12.612; 15. Daryn Pittman, 12.620; 16. Brooke Tatnell, 12.624; 17. Jeremy Campbell, 12.669; 18. Sam Hafertepe Jr., 12. 671; 19. Todd Shaffer, 12.676; 20. Kerry Madsen, 12.763; 21. Gus Wasson, 12.765; 22. Craig Dollansky, 12.769; 23. Dion Hindi, 12.780; 24. Jason Martin, 12.844; 25. Leonard Lee, 12.852; 26. Chad Hillier, 13.261.
First Heat (8 laps): 1. Justin Henderson; 2. Paul McMahan; 3. Zach Chappell; 4. Brooke Tatnell; 5. Donny Schatz; 6. Jac Haudenschild; 7. Tim Shaffer; 8. Leonard Lee; 9. Craig Dollansky.
Second Heat (8 laps): 1. Joey Saldana; 2. Danny Lasoski; 3. Jason Sides; 4. Jeremy Campbell; 5. Steve Kinser; 6. Tony Bruce Jr.; 7. Kerry Madsen; 8. Dion Hindi; 9. Chad Hillier.
Third Heat (8 laps): 1. Randy Hannagan; 2. Jason Meyers; 3. Chad Kemenah; 4. Terry McCarl; 5. Daryn Pittman; 6. Jason Martin; 7. Sam Hafertepe Jr.; 8. Gus Wasson.
Crane Cams Dash (6 laps): 1. Justin Henderson; 2. Paul McMahan; 3. Danny Lasoski; 4. Joey Saldana; 5. Donny Schatz; 6. Jason Meyers; 7. Tony Bruce Jr.; 8. Terry McCarl; 9. Randy Hannagan; 10. Zach Chappell.
Feature (30 laps): 1. Donny Schatz; 2. Paul McMahan; 3. Tony Bruce Jr.; 4. Danny Lasoski; 5. Steve Kinser; 6. Brooke Tatnell; 7. Jac Haudenschild; 8. Chad Kemenah; 9. Terry McCarl; 10. Daryn Pittman; 11. Jason Sides; 12. Randy Hannagan; 13. Chad Hillier; 14. Joey Saldana; 15. Jason Martin; 16. Kerry Madsen; 17. Tim Shaffer; 18. Leonard Lee; 19. Jason Meyers; 20. Justin Henderson; 21. Dion Hindi; 22. Jeremy Campbell; 23. Gus Wasson; 24. Sam Hafertepe Jr.; 25. Zach Chappell; 26. Craig Dollansky.
Goodyear Fastrak Challenge Late Models
Feature (25 laps): 1. Austin Dillon; 2. Clint Bowyer; 3. Jack Pennington, 4. William Thomas; 5. Chris Steele; 6. Shane Smith; 7. Timbo Mangnum; 8. Brandon Haley; 9. Roger Phillips; 10. Jordy Nipper; 11. John Llewellyn; 12. Travis Pennington; 13. Donald Bradsher; 14. Shane Roberts; 15. Jason Lawrence; 16. Charles Daugherty; 17. Will Shuffler; 18. Scott Morgan; 19. Chase McCormick; 20. Frankie Beard; 21. David McCoy; 22. Shanon Buckingham; 23. Brandy Baker; 24. Jason Walls.