NEW RICHMOND, Wis. — Daryn Pittman outlasted three rounds of elimination in a special feature Thursday night at Cedar Lake Speedway to earn his first win at the Wisconsin track during the Independence Day Spectacular opener for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
After running two qualifying sessions for Friday and Saturday’s programs, the series ran its first
$3,000-to-win 23-lap Elimination Showdown at the three-eighths-mile track.
In a field of 20 cars, four were eliminated every five laps until there were eight left. The final eight cars ran an eight-lap dash to determine the winner.
Pittman dominated the event, leading every lap from the pole and held off a late attack by 10-time series champion Donny Schatz.
“It’s just something totally different from what we’re used to putting on,” said Pittman. “Obviously, just glad to be out here racing this weekend with full capacity crowd. Thanks to the fans for coming out tonight and watching us time trial and hopefully they enjoyed that. From my seat, it was fun.”
The day started with participants and the large crowd of fans entering through state-of-the-art COVID-19 screenings, which will be in place all weekend.
Then two qualifying sessions for Friday and Saturday’s race programs were held. Kerry Madsen set Quick Time for Friday’s race with an 11.243 sec. lap and David Gravel set quick time for Saturday’s event with an 11.690-second lap. Pittman qualified 12th for Friday and ninth for Saturday.
Friday’s qualifying session set the lineup for the Elimination Showdown with the top 16 locking into the race. With a 12-car invert, Pittman, who qualified 12th for Friday’s program, was awarded the pole position. The top four cars in the Last Chance Showdown rounded out the 20-car field.
Dominic Scelzi, Jake Blackhurst, Mason Daniel and Shane Stewart were eliminated after the first five laps. Scotty Thiel, Ian Madsen, Bill Balog and Logan Schuchart were the next four to be eliminated. And then Tim Kaeding, Kraig Kiner, Parker Price-Miller and Brad Sweet were the final four to be eliminated.
Pittman, Schatz, Sheldon Haudenschild, Carson Macedo, David Gravel, Kerry Madsen, Jacob Allen and Paul Nienhiser lined up for the final eight lap dash.
Like the restarts before, Pittman gapped second-place Schatz by about half a straightaway and was on cruise control to the win. However, with two laps to go, Nienhiser brought out a caution due to a flat right rear tire.
When the race went back green, Schatz made Pittman work for the win. He dove underneath Pittman going into the first corner and slid in front of him exiting turn two. His last-ditch effort to steal the win faded a few seconds later when Pittman utilized the momentum built around the top of the track to dart back by Schatz down the backstretch. Pittman went on to win his first race of 2020 with Schatz second and Haudenschild third.
While the race wasn’t for points and doesn’t count as an official World of Outlaws win, Pittman was still happy to get extra seat time in preparation for the $20,000-to-win features on Friday and Saturday.
“Truthfully, I was really just happy to get extra track time here,” Pittman said. “This historically hasn’t been one of my best racetracks. I love coming here. I run good at places a lot like it but never had a lot of success here. We definitely got better. Obviously, our starting position made a huge difference. My Roth Motorsports guys have been working hard. We just keeping making changes and improvements to our 83 car and we’re getting better (after two podium runs at the Jackson Nationals, as well).”
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