“No matter who you are and how long you have been doing this and how many wins you have, come June and July if you have no wins, car owners get a little antsy,” he said. “They spend a lot of money and want wins. Being able to always refer back to getting one early is great. We got one now and we have some confidence, and hopefully we can go out and get some more.”
With a cross-country trip awaiting the team, Pittman is glad that they will have some time to go back to the shop and prepare to head to California at their own pace. The group led by Crew Chief Glenno Inglis, who was battling illness during the late stages of the DIRTcar Nationals, will have an enjoyable trip back to their shop in Indiana.
“We going to go home and relax,” Pittman commented. “My crew has worked their tails off. Every year when we come to Florida we come down here ready for 100 races. We don’t go home to build cars. We’ll do the maintenance on the car we ran tonight and take it to Tulare. My guys are going to get some time off. We are ready to go. I look forward to going home and fine tuning on a few things so we can keep getting better.”
Tim Kaeding made a late charge for the lead, as he closed the gap on Pittman with a couple laps to go. On the final lap, he and Donny Schatz staged an entertaining battle for the second spot, as they both were just behind Pittman. Schatz used a slide job on Kaeding to momentarily move into the second spot exiting the fourth turn. Kaeding immediately fought back and claimed the runner-up spot at the line by mere inches.
“We had a little trouble with this thing taking off, and Daryn would get ahead of us a little bit,” said Kaeding, driver of the Steve Kinser Racing Maxim. “I knew Donny was coming eventually and he pulled off a slider, and I did what I knew how to do and what I needed to do, and that was turn back underneath him and get back in front of him as quick as I could and get the air off his wing.”
For Schatz, the reigning series champion, he finished in the Top-Three each in night of the World of
Outlaw portion of the Florida DIRTcar Nationals. He won the season opener on Friday night, and
backed that up with a third-place run on Saturday night, and was third again on Sunday, after
starting the event on the outside of the third row.
“We came here to win and we were good enough to win all three nights,” said Schatz, driver of the
Parker Store J&J. “Tonight we never really hit lapped traffic. There were a lot of good cars out here
and on an open race track, it’s hard to pass. We moved around and tried everything we could.
We’re going to head back and do a little work, and hopefully be as good in California as we were
Terry McCarl raced his way to a fourth-place finish after lining up eight. The native of Altoona, Iowa
finished ninth on Saturday night and backed that up with a very solid run on Sunday night, as he
prepares to head to Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., where he won in 2004.
“We started the week off doing well with the All Stars, and then kind of hiccupped a little the first
two nights (of the World of Outlaws season),” said McCarl, driver of the Big Game Treestands
Eagle. “We need to keep getting in the Top-Five this year. It’s going to be pretty brutal this year,
so every one of these Top-Five’s is important. “
Tim Shaffer picked up his first Top-Five of the season on Sunday as he came home fifth in the Casey’s General Stores Maxim.
The rest of the Top-10 was: Danny Lasoski in the Roth Motorsports Eagle in sixth, Jason Sides in the WTS Maxim in seventh, Joey Saldana charged from the 24th starting spot in the Open Joist JEI to finish eighth, with Saturday night’s winner Kerry Madsen in the Selma Shell Maxim in ninth, and Fred Rahmer in the C&S Lawn & Landscape J&J in 10th.
With Pittman’s victory, the sprint car portion of the Florida DIRTcar Nationals came to a close, with Craig Dollansky named the Champion. The native of Elk River, Minn., finished sixth or better in five of the six events, including two second-place finishes and two fourths. Brad Sweet, a native of Grass Valley, Calif, was named the Rookie of the Year for the sprint car portion of the Florida DIRTcar Nationals.
The World of Outlaws return to action on February 23-24 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California.
After winning the dash to earn the pole position for the 30-lap event, he held off a hard charging Tim Kaeding and Donny Schatz, in heavy lapped traffic. The pair staged a fierce battle for the second spot in the late going as they chased Pittman, who used strong restarts twice in the late going to pull away. The $12,000 triumph was the 20th of his career in World of Outlaws action.
“It is a great way to get started and a great boost for the whole team,” said Pittman, driver of the Titan Garages Maxim. “It’s always good to get a win at the end of the week. Our team just keeps getting better every year, and hopefully we can stay consistent and get wins when we can.”
Starting the season off on a high note was one of Pittman’s goals for 2007, and after the win, he is well on his way. The veteran driver was one of the most consistent drivers over the last three months of last season.