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Princeton Nationals race report 2006-07-29

Princeton Nationals race report 2006-07-29
Jul 30, 2006, 10:04 PM

Daryn Pittman Sweeps World of Outlaws Sprint Series PolyDome Princeton Nationals Princeton, MN -- July 29, 2006 -- Short-track racing forces drivers to make split second decisions every time they're on the track. High-speed World of Outlaws Sprint ...

Daryn Pittman Sweeps World of Outlaws Sprint Series PolyDome Princeton Nationals

Princeton, MN -- July 29, 2006 -- Short-track racing forces drivers to make split second decisions every time they're on the track. High-speed World of Outlaws Sprint Series action on a high-banked quarter-mile oval reduces that fraction of a second even more.

So during the 40-lap PolyDome Princeton Nationals finale on Saturday night at Princeton Speedway, these drivers' nerves of ice were beginning to melt -- and it wasn't because of the temperature approaching 100 degrees.

By the time the dizzying pace finally slowed, Daryn Pittman was out front at the checkered flag to sweep an event for the second time this season in the Titan Garages & Carports Maxim. Jac Haudenschild was second in the Wright One Construction Maxim followed by Craig Dollansky in the Karavan Trailers Maxim, Donny Schatz in the ParkerStore J&J and Jason Solwold in the City Wide Insulation Maxim.

It was points leader Schatz who started on the pole for the second consecutive night. Rather than let Pittman get a run on him on Saturday, Schatz jumped out to an early lead but in only three laps Brooke Tatnell surged to the front from his second-row starting spot and started to pull away, forcing Pittman and Schatz to quickly pick their way through traffic just to keep Tatnell in their sights.

Schatz eventually ran down Tatnell on Lap 11. He then pulled even and slid in front as Tatnell's right rear shredded down the backstretch. On the restart, Schatz had two lapped cars between himself and Pittman with nothing but clear track in front. Normally, that's trouble for the rest of the field, but not on Saturday. For the first time this season, Schatz made a mistake and found himself sitting backwards on the cushion in Turn 2 as the field screamed past.

Pittman couldn't believe his fortune. After winning the preliminary feature on Friday night, he was now in position to sweep through Princeton. But to do so, he had to hold off Haudenschild and Dollansky as Schatz started his march from the rear of the field.

With Pittman running through the middle and cutting down angles, he didn't leave room for either Haudenschild or Dollansky to carry momentum through the corners. Back in heavy traffic but still on a blistering pace, Pittman methodically built an advantage that he rode to the RacinSoles Victory Lane for the third time this season in a main event.

"Honestly, I didn't think we had anything for them," said Pittman, a native of Owasso, Okla. "I was going from the time the green flag fell, I just wasn't going fast enough. Our car was good. It was good enough to stay out front. Tatnell and Schatz were going to be tough to pass. Once they got in front of me, they were definitely the two cars to beat. We just had a lot of luck on our side tonight and we were able to take advantage of it. Schatz doesn't make very many mistakes. He did tonight and luckily we were able to stay ahead of him and get the win."

For Schatz, merely being out front isn't enough. Not knowing where those who are chasing the leader are running, Schatz kept the pressure on himself to build a lead, but at least on Saturday it didn't turn out as he had hoped.

"That's the way I always race," said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. "It isn't changing just because we have the points lead. I made the biggest mistake of the year. There was a hole there and I ran right over it, not once or twice but three times and the third time it bit me. I was out front and I knew it was going to be tough for anybody to pass me. I thought maybe I could settle my car down and run it a little different, but I'll learn from my mistake."

Pittman was stunned by Schatz's misfortune.

"I couldn't believe it, it's just so rare," Pittman said. "You just don't see that happen. He's tough anywhere. Out front, he is extremely tough to pass. He only runs the car as hard as he has too and normally that's hard enough that nobody can pass him. To see him make that mistake was a big sigh of relief because you know he's beatable and hopefully we can do it. Then he came all the way back up there. He's had the car to beat all year and he proves it night after night, but we were able to steal one away from him here tonight."

While the eyes turned to Pittman to see if he could hold off Haudenschild and Dollansky, who staged their own back-and-forth battle, Schatz charged through the field and suddenly was in the top three with only a few laps to go. Not satisfied with that, Schatz tried to get second but he carried so much momentum through Turns 1 and 2 that he slid over the cushion and Dollansky charged underneath to reclaim third.

"I had to find a different part of the racetrack to run on going to the back," Schatz said. "It's fun doing that. It's good. It should happen to everybody once in a while. Do I think there's anybody else in the pit area who can do it as good as we can? No. I'm happy with that. I think we had a legitimate shot to win. I don't think there's any question without that yellow [for Tatnell] that we would have won the race, but it's woulda, coulda, shoulda -- it's done. It's over with. We got out of here with a top-five after a big mistake on my part. My guys have worked awful hard. I feel bad for them. I wanted to get a win. I wanted to dedicate it to somebody special, but it just didn't happen for us tonight."

Instead it was Pittman who smoothly made the decisions and correct calculations, always thinking about how to go faster while making sure he doesn't leave himself vulnerable to Haudenschild.

"He kept sticking a wheel underneath me a little bit, but I knew the way he was doing it he was going to struggle to pass me," Pittman said. "I figured he'd be around the top, that's just the way Haud is and he's one of the best at it. I knew as long as I protected that line, and I wasn't as good against the cushion and I didn't want to make the same mistake Schatz did, so I was basically being wide and going where my car felt the best, and that was right through the middle. I was taking up a lot of real estate so it wasn't a bad thing."

Haudenschild, who is tough on any track but especially those with high-banked corners, fought off Dollansky and edged under Pittman several times, but Pittman was able to carry his momentum off of the corners.

"We've been pretty good all year," Haudenschild said. "We just ended up crashing out of four or five races. We were probably a little careful at the beginning of the race and got going good in the middle of the race. At the end, everybody was everywhere. It was a good tight race. Dollansky was running good. Schatz was flying and Pittman was good both nights. We were in there in the hunt, too."

Dollansky went through the same spot that caused Schatz his trouble and decided against putting his car in that position late in the ace.

"Up in that corner there was a bit of a dip going in," said Dollansky, a native of nearby Elk River who had a massive contingent of family and friends at the track. "It caught me once earlier in the race so I didn't take too many chances with it later on. You had the potential of that happening and just sending you for a loop there. It kind of bit Donny. He was doing a good job to that point and it caught him again at the end. We were real good on the bottom. I thought we could win the race on the bottom. We set up on the free side and we continued getting looser and looser. I would have liked to have a chance to do it over again. Daryn did a good job and Jac did a good job. It was a great event for the fans, a great event overall."

The fastest driver with the best view of Schatz's remarkable charge was Solwold. After setting quick time on Friday night, Solwold continued to hang with the leaders to earn a top-five finish for the second night in a row. Still, even he couldn't believe Schatz surged from the rear of the field into the top-five.

"He came from nowhere and passed me and I thought, 'Holy smokes,'" said Solwold, a native of Mount Vernon, Wash. "Then he went off the track again. To be that fast and to come through the pack that good, I figured for sure he was going to give those guys a run for their money out front.

"At one point on a restart, we lined up fourth and we were rolling around there pretty good. I thought we might have a shot at moving up a couple of spots but the yellow flags just killed my momentum. That'll happen. We were good all weekend."

Pittman, though, wound up on top. After sweeping Eagle in June and capturing the final night of the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove earlier in July, Pittman believes his team is beginning to hit a stride similar to the one he rode through the fall last season when he climbed through the standings.

"It's a tribute to our whole team," said Pittman, who complimented SLS Promotions for their role in making the Princeton Nationals a huge success. "This is the way I expected our whole season to go and it's finally coming together. It just takes a little bit to get everything put together. Right now we've got ourselves put together. We're fast. We may not be the fastest car every night but we're fast. When we give ourselves the chance to win, we take advantage of it, that's the biggest key. Hopefully we can stay on top. Last year we stayed on top of it until the end of the year and we're hoping to do the same thing because it's a long way to the end of the season.

POLYDOME PRINCETON NATIONALS NOTEBOOK NIGHT TWO ^Õ HOME COOKING: Craig Dollansky was perhaps the second busiest person during the Princeton Nationals. Dollansky, who hails from nearby Elk River, was constantly surrounded by fans and family during the weekend. So who was the busiest? That title easily belongs to Craig's wife, Julie, who along with SLS Promotions kept everything running smoothly from a live radio remote to the Snap-on® Pit Crew Challenge to the live band, the driver autograph session and countless other events throughout the two-day Princeton Nationals. "Julie does a great job," said Craig. "She puts a lot of effort into this as well as a lot of our friends, fans and family who come out and support the event. We're just happy to be a part of it. The fair board here is great to work with, too. It's a great short track race and we look forward to doing it for many years to come."

* FAST QUALIFIER: Terry McCarl paced the 37 cars in time trials with an AMB i.t.-timed lapped around the 1/4-mile high-banked oval at 10.663 seconds at 84.404 mph. Because the PolyDome Princeton Nationals, is a multi-day show with varying championship point totals on each night, no qualifying bonus points are awarded. By virtue of their top-four finishes in the preliminary feature on Friday, Daryn Pittman, Donny Schatz, Jac Haudenschild and Brooke Tatnell did not have to go through time trials. Craig Dollansky holds the track record of 10.138 seconds set on May 21, 2004.

* QUALIFYING EVENT WINNERS: Heat race winners included: Mark Dobmeier, Roger Rager, Mike Reinke, and Jerry Richart Jr. -- Kim Mock won the C-Main. -- Chad Blonde won the B-Main. -- Donny Schatz picked up the win in the dash.

* FEATURE WINNERS: There have been 14 different winners in 38 A-feature events to visit the RacinSoles Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws this season. The win list includes: Donny Schatz (March 9 at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 31 at Batesville Speedway, April 1 at I-55 Raceway, May 16 at Grandview Speedway, May 30 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, June 18 at Red River Valley Speedway, June 30 at 81 Speedway, July 18 at Lernerville Speedway, July 23 at Lebanon Valley Speedway, and July 25 at Fulton Speedway), Joey Saldana (Feb.10 at Volusia, June 4 at Terre Haute, June 23 at Knoxville Raceway, July 1 at Dodge City Raceway Park, July 13 at Limaland Motorsports Park, and July 15 at Eldora Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (May 6 at U.S. 36 Raceway, May 20 at Sharon Speedway, June 14 at The Raceway @ Powercom Park, and July 7 at Lawrenceburg Speedway), Craig Dollansky (April 15 at Tri-State Speedway, June 4 at Eldora Speedway, and July 14 at Eldora Speedway), Daryn Pittman (June 10 at Eagle Raceway, July 22 at Williams Grove, and July 29 at Princeton Speedway), Brooke Tatnell (May 7 at Huset's Speedway, May 29 at Orange County Fair Speedway, and July 8 at I-55 Raceway), Sammy Swindell (April 8 at Eldora Speedway and March 10 at the Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway), Dean Jacobs (May 31 at Lernerville Speedway), Chad Kemenah (Feb. 9 at Volusia), Danny Lasoski (March 3 at Manzanita), Terry McCarl (July 3 at Huset's Speedway), Paul McMahan (March 4 at USA Race Park), Fred Rahmer (May 27 at Williams Grove), and Kevin Swindell (May 24 at The Dirt at Lowe's Motor Speedway).

* PRELIMINARY FEATURE WINNERS: There have been seven preliminary features run this season by the World of Outlaws. The winners list includes: Daryn Pittman who won the prelim night at Eagle Raceway on June 9, and at Princeton Speedway on July 28, Donny Schatz who won the prelim night June 17 at Red River Valley, Fred Rahmer, who won the prelim night on May 26 at Williams Grove Speedway Sammy Swindell, who won the prelim night on April 7 at Eldora Speedway, Terry McCarl who won the prelim night at Williams Grove on July 20, and Craig Dollansky who won the prelim night at Williams Grove on July 21.

* QUARTER-MILE WINNERS: Princeton Speedway is a high-banked quarter-mile track. The World of Outlaws have raced on a track that size five times this season including preliminary features. The winners list include: Daryn Pittman at Princeton Speedway on July 28 and at Princeton Speedway on July 29, Craig Dollansky at Tri-State (Ind.) Speedway on April 15, Jac Haudenschild at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway on July 7, and Joey Saldana at Limaland Motorsports Park on July 13.

* ON TELEVISION: The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on August 2 the Kings Royal from Eldora Speedway. The Outdoor Channel is available nationwide through the DISH Network (Channel 153) and DIRECTV (Channel 606).


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