Pontoon Beach, ILJune 14, 2007--By: Tony Veneziano, World of Outlaws PR Director
Danny Lasoski hasnt won the most races with the World of Outlaws this season, but night in and night out he is one of the most consistent drivers and that consistency paid off to the tune of his third A-Feature win of the season on Thursday night in the series return to Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach , Illinois .
For Lasoski, it was his 12th Top-10 finish in the last 13 races, a streak he began on May 12 at Lake Ozark Speedway in Missouri , a track owned by Kevin and Tammy Gundaker who also own Tri-City Speedway. His name will go in the record books as the first driver to win a sprint car race on the reconfigured 3/8-mile track, which used to be a sprawling half-mile.
Its pretty cool to win here at Tri-City with the new track, said Lasoski, after earning the $10,000 top prize. Its also great to win for JEI Chassis. This was our second night on this brand new car. I want to thank Barry Jackson for building this for us. We have been working to turn this team around, and so far so good.
Lasoski held off a hard charging Daryn Pittman at the line by 0.142 seconds, as the pair encountered heavy lapped traffic late in the race that closed the gap. In a race reminiscent to when Lasoski edged Donny Schatz at Grandview Speedway on May 23 in traffic, the pair exited the fourth turn neck-and-neck, and just inches apart, with Lasoski winning the drag race to the line.
Lasoski, who finished seventh in his last visit to Tri-City in 2005, had nothing but praise for the endless work that was put in during the off-season after the Gundakers purchased the facility. One of the biggest improvements was a new lighting system that illuminated the entire racing surface.
You could see where you going out there, joked Lasoski. When it was the half-mile you couldnt see anything. I am excited to win here. Kevin (Gundaker) has done a great job with this race track. I am very proud right now.
The race began with pole sitter Jason Sides leading. Lasoski moved from fourth to second on the opening circuit, and began an exciting side-by-side battle with Sides, that lasted for a number of laps. Each lap Lasoski would dart to the lead in turns one and two on the low side of the track, with Sides regaining the point on the high side of the back straightaway and officially being scored the leader the line. Sides had a right rear tire going down that led to some incidental contact, after he led the first nine laps of the 35-lap race.
Lasoski inherited the lead on the restart on lap 10 and held off a number of attempts by Pittman and Donny Schatz to take the lead. He endured four cautions, including two while leading on a very hot and muggy night.
Its good to be in front on a night like tonight, explained the winner. We just had to keep a little gap between us and the lapped cars.
With a couple of drivers losing tires over the course of the night, Lasoski was rightfully concerned about his right rear as the laps wound down. Late in the event, he got bottled up by a couple of lapped cars, allowing the Pittman and Schatz to gain some ground.
I was babying the tires big time at the end, said Lasoski. The guys behind me had everything to gain and I had everything to lose, so I was babying it. I want thank Dennis Roth for believing in us and Paul Kistler for building us great engines. My crew worked very hard, I cant thank them enough.
After he and his crew built a brand new car this week, Pittman was fast right out of the box. He won the third heat and finished second in the Crane Cams Dash to earn the outside front row starting position in the 35-lap A-Feature. After having mechanical problems while leading at Kokomo ( Ind. ) Speedway last week and then getting caught up in an accident not of his making at the Eagle Nationals last Saturday, Pittman was glad to see his luck turn around, after his first two DNFs (Did not finish) of the season last week. His runner-up performance on Thursday night was his 11th Top-Five finish of the season.
I hate to admit the fact that I am fairly happy to run second, because that is never our goal when we roll into any race track, but we are happy said Pittman, driver of the Titan Garages Maxim. We have been steady all year and we have been right there and ready to win if the conditions were right.
After losing a couple of position on the opening lap, Pittman had a spirited battle with Donny Schatz for the third spot. On the 19th lap he took the spot from the current series point leader and set his sights on Lasoski, as the trio entered heavy lapped traffic. With the laps winding down, Pittman was also careful to conserve his tires.
I got really concerned about halfway and felt like I started slowing up, said Pittman. I didnt think I could pass Danny (Lasoski), because he wouldnt make any mistakes in the rubber. We still almost got him at the line and we held on more than I thought we would.
Pittman also was thoroughly impressed with the improvements that had been made at Tri-City since the last time the series visited the track.
Its good to see a guy spend a lot of money on a race track, and this place definitely needed it, he said. That is an absolutely beautiful race track. They are learning with every show. Hopefully the fans enjoyed it.
Donny Schatz finished third on Thursday night to earn his 28th Top-10 finish in the 31 events that have been run this season, as he continues to lead the championship standings as he chases his second straight series crown. After lining up sixth for the A-Feature, he gained three positions on the opening lap. On the ninth lap he got around Pittman for the second spot and in traffic began to reel in Lasoski.
We had the car to beat if the track would not have laid rubber, said Schatz, driver of the ParkerStore J&J. It was a little bit hard to drive once it laid rubber, but everybody has that problem. You cant the car to turn and you really cant move it around. Were glad to get a good finish and move on to the next one.
Schatz had a couple of close calls on the night, and while he was disappointed he was not in the winners circle, he was glad that he brought the car home in one piece, to head to Knoxville Raceway on Saturday, where he has won three straight races dating back to the Knoxville Nationals last August.
There were a couple of times tonight we could have cut a tire down and I am glad we didnt, he stated, You have to save your tires on a deal like that, I was saving mine from lap one. Im glad it made it all the way.
Jason Meyers, who won at Tri-City in the series last visit to the track in 2005, had a very consistent night finishing in the fourth spot. He began the night by turning the second fastest lap in time trials.
I am very proud of the team lately, said Meyers, driver of the Primerica Financial Maxim. They have been doing a great job. We have been searching a little bit here lately and we keep running in the Top-Five. We cant complain about that.
Jason Solwold was fifth in the City Wide Insulation Maxim. The native of Mt. Vernon , Washington earned a spot in the Crane Cams Dash which earned him a starting position on the inside of the second row in the A-Feature.
Paul McMahan was sixth in the Bass Pro Shops Eagle. Jac Haudenschild earned the KSE Race Products Hard Charger Award after lining up 22nd and finishing seventh in the Wright One Construction Maxim. Brooke Tatnell was eighth in the Volcano Joes Coffee Schnee. Craig Dollansky was ninth in the Karavan Trailers Maxim. Joey Saldana recovered from some early trouble that sent him to the work area, to finish 10th in the Open Joist Mopar-powered JEI.
Zach Chappell began the night by shattering the existing track record by over 2.5 seconds, as he earned his second fast time honor of the season in time trials. All 36 drivers that took time broke the track record, which was established by reigning UMP DIRTcar Late Model National Champion Randy Korte on opening night at the track.
The World of Outlaws return to action on Saturday, June 16 at Knoxville Raceway, for the first event of the SuperClean Summer of Money to be broadcast on ESPN2.
TRI-CITY SPEEDWAY NOTEBOOK
FAST QUALIFIER: Zach Chappell paced the 36 cars that took time with a record setting AMB i.t. timed lap around the semi-banked 3/8-mile oval in 12.174 seconds at 110.892 mph. For his qualifying effort, Chappell eared five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Jason Meyers (4), Steve Kinser (3), Kerry Madsen (2) and Brooke Tatnell (1).
QUALIFYING WINNERS: Donny Schatz, Craig Dollansky, Daryn Pittman and Terry McCarl won heat races Justin Henderson won the B-Main Jason Sides won the Crane Cams dash.
FEATURE WINNERS: There have been 31 World of Outlaws A-Feature events held in 2007. The win list includes: Joey Saldana (February 23 at Thunderbowl Raceway, March 17 at Pike County Speedway, March 24 at Volunteer Speedway, March 31 at Dixie Speedway, April 20 at Attica Raceway Park, June 5 at Kokomo Speedway and June 9 at Eagle Raceway), Donny Schatz (February 9 at Volusia Speedway Park, March 3 at Manzanita Speedway, March 16 at Houston Raceway Park, April 28 at Knoxville Raceway, May 17 at Williams Grove Speedway, May 18 at Williams Grove Speedway and May 25 at The Dirt Track @ Lowes Motor Speedway), Steve Kinser (March 2 at USA Race Park, April 21 at Tri-State Speedway, May 15 at Lernerville Speedway, May 20 at New Egypt Speedway, May 28 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park and June 1 at Sharon Speedway), Danny Lasoski (April 6 at Paducah International Raceway, May 23 at Grandview Speedway and June 14 at Tri-City Speedway), Jason Meyers (April 13 at Eldora Speedway and May 11 at U.S. 36 Raceway), Daryn Pittman (February 11 at Volusia Speedway Park and May 5 at Riverside International Speedway), Craig Dollansky (May 12 at Lake Ozark Speedway), Tim Kaeding (February 24 at Thunderbowl Raceway), Kerry Madsen (February 10 at Volusia Speedway Park) and Paul McMahan (June 2 at Eldora Speedway).
3/8-MILE WINNERS: Tri-City Speedway is a semi-banked 3/8-mile oval. The World of Outlaws have raced seven times on a track that size this season. The winners include: Steve Kinser ( USA Race Park and Sharon Speedway ), Danny Lasoski (Paducah International Raceway and Tri-City Speedway), Joey Saldana (Pike County Speedway and Dixie Speedway and Jason Meyers (U.S. 36 Raceway)
ON TELEVISION: The World of Outlaws SuperClean Summer of Money on ESPN2 kicks off this week from Knoxville Raceway. The event on Saturday, June 16 will be taped for broadcast on ESPN2 on Sunday, June 17 at 11 a.m. Eastern, 10 a.m. Central.
The World of Outlaws will be televised 20 times this season on ESPN2 and SPEED while the World of Outlaws Late Model Series is set for six appearances on SPEED. The one-hour broadcasts will air on Sundays from May 13 to Nov. 4, when the series champions will be crowned during the World Finals from The Dirt Track @ Lowes Motor Speedway.
ON THE WEB: The Official World of Outlaws Web site is at http://www.worldofoutlaws.com. Among the features are updated driver biographies with individual statistics and pictures, race-by-race statistics, detailed track information and race coverage, series news and team press releases. Also, links to the Media Guide and 2007 Official Rulebook can be found at the bottom of the home page.
UP NEXT: On Saturday, June 16th a stop at Knoxville Raceway dots the schedule, for the first event of the SuperClean Summer of Money to be broadcast for eight consecutive Sundays on ESPN2
UPCOMING EVENTS: On Wednesday, June 20, the World of Outlaws return to State Fair Speedway in Sedalia , Missouri . A pair of events at Dodge City Raceway Park in Kansas , dot the schedule on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23.