BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 12, 2015 – The last lap, side-by side battle between Daryn Pittman and Donny Schatz in Thursday night’s UNOH Circuit of Champions feature at Volusia Speedway Park was the culmination of a fierce fight that lasted through the final third of the race. When the dust settled on the third night of DIRTcar Nationals sprint week, it was Pittman edging Schatz to the finish line in thrilling fashion.
“If the fans didn’t enjoy that, you might as well not even bother to come back,” Pittman said in victory lane. “It was a lot of fun.”
Pittman, who built up a sizable lead through the middle portion of the race, faced a strong challenge from his Kasey Kahne Racing with Mike Curb teammate Brad Sweet. Utilizing the high line, Sweet charged forward to second from his seventh place starting position.
By lap 14, as Pittman worked his way through lapped traffic, Sweet closed the gap and began challenging for the lead. Two laps later Sweet got the run he needed and passed Pittman off of turn 4 to lead the lap. The move was short lived though as Pittman took the lead back before the two hit the backstretch.
“[My crew chief Kale Kahne] kept telling me to run the top down there,” Pittman said. “And I’m sitting there second guessing, going I don’t know if that’s a good move or not. We just stuck with it and glad that we stuck with our line.”
Through three late cautions in the final ten laps, Schatz, who started in 15th, worked his way up to third and then around Sweet for second. He and Pittman battled through the final five laps, Schatz on the bottom in turns one and two and Pittman on the high side. Each time Schatz tried to make a run, Pittman held him off.
On the final lap, Schatz was side-by-side with Pittman down the backstretch and into turns three and four. When the two moved onto the frontstretch, Pittman had the edge, beating Schatz by a slim margin.
Sweet finished the night in third ahead of the previous night’s winner Greg Hodnett and Kerry Madsen.
Pittman sounded a note of confidence going into Friday night’s World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season opener.
“Big win to get the year started off right,” Pittman said. “Hopefully we can come back in the next three nights and get another one.”
Racing returns to Volusia Speedway Park Friday night as the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series opens its 2015 season on night four of DIRTcar Nationals sprint week. The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds also take on the half-mile oval. Tickets are still available for DIRTcar Nationals at http://www.WorldofOutlaws.com/Tickets or by calling 1-877-395-8606. Watch and listen live to DIRTcar Nationals at http://www.DIRTVision.com.
Follow the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WorldofOutlaws, like it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WorldofOutlaws, or check out the latest videos on YouTube at www.youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws.
(Photos copywright Paul Arch Photo)