ROSSBURG, Ohio — Eight laps to go Saturday night at Eldora Speedway and a restart with Brian Brown and Donny Schatz on the front row had the crowd on its feet, but it was Daryn Pittman who took their breath away with a stunning slider past the leaders for his fourth World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series victory of the season.
Brown, who stormed into the lead from the pole position, withstood several barrages by Brad Sweet and Schatz to maintain the top spot through the first 22 laps, but Pittman was too much on what was the final restart of the 30-lap conclusion to Outlaw Thunder weekend at Eldora.
Pittman started seventh in his Kasey Kahne Racing Great Clips GF1 at the Tony Stewart-owned high-speed half-mile oval and methodically worked his way forward. While everyone was watching Brown battle Sweet and Schatz, it was Pittman who was putting himself in position to pounce on the leader.
By lap eight, Sweet had closed the gap on Brown, and a lap later went to the bottom in turn three and drew even with the leader. Brown and Sweet drag raced down the front stretch, with Brown edging Sweet by just one-hundredth of a second. Sweet again would charge on lap 10, but still fell short.
The intense battle for the lead eased momentarily when Sam Hafertepe Jr. collided with the wall in turn one, bringing out a caution on lap 12. Brown then rolled to a stop on the front stretch, where he explained to series officials his belts had come loose. By rule, a safety-related issue allows the driver to maintain his track position, putting Brown back in front on the restart with Sweet.