BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It’s finally over.
There were hugs and high fives, smiles and tears, greeting a subdued Lucas Wolfe in victory lane on a muggy Friday evening at Bloomington Speedway. Wolfe led the final 22 laps to claim his first career World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series feature victory.
“I’m not very loud of any kind; I stay pretty even,” he said. “Obviously I’m usually this way on a terrible night and on the best of nights I stay pretty calm, but I’ll be pretty happy. I might do a bit of screaming in the helmet, but I’ll try to keep it pretty cool for right now.”
After many near wins during the last five seasons as an Outlaws driver and overcoming a gamut of mechanical woes this year, Wolfe had arguably the best car in Friday’s main event. He charged from his seventh starting position to the top three within the first 10 laps and took the lead before the midpoint. However, it wasn’t without drama.
Wolfe was leading by a straightaway with less than two laps remaining when the event’s second caution was waved for a spin by Kody Kinser in turn two. That erased Wolfe’s commanding advantage and he chose the inside lane on the double-file restart.
Wolfe powered into the lead, but the final caution came on the restart as Sammy Swindell and Kerry Madsen tangled in turn four. However, once again, Wolfe mastered the restart and drove away to the sizeable victory.
“I was a little bit worried about the double-file restarts from where the track might have got a little bit of rubber laid down, about how it was going to be to get going,” he said. “I felt the bottom was my best bet and obviously that was the wrong decision. I was able to get a good enough start there and obviously it didn’t count anyway because we had an accident.
“(I) certainly was happy to see it go back single file. That was a relief that we didn’t have to do anymore double-file restarts and were able to just finish it right there. I’d had enough; my nerves were about shot. (I was) certainly happy to finally finish a deal off.”
Joey Saldana, who led the first 18 laps after starting on the pole, lost the lead in traffic as Wolfe split him and a car about to be lapped while the trio raced down the backstretch. Saldana then held off Donny Schatz for the runner-up position.
“It’s well deserved,” Saldana said. “The guy’s been knocking on the door and having bad luck.
“He could maneuver through traffic really well. I could get through traffic as long as it went my way, but I couldn’t force the issue. I had to settle for second and I really had nothing for him.”
Both drivers shared a special moment with Wolfe in victory lane.
“I can still remember that feeling,” said Schatz as he reminisced about his first Outlaws win. “I’m happy for him. It’s been a long time coming. He should have won one long ago, but I’m sure tonight’s very special for him having to wait that long.”
Jason Sides passed Cody Darrah for fourth place on the final restart.
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