Just past the halfway point of the Circle K/NOS Energy Outlaw Showdown on Friday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Paul McMahan stole the lead from World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship leader Daryn Pittman.
After a restart on Lap 17, Pittman moved up the track, and McMahan saw his chance. McMahan steadily worked the bottom groove and was able to make a pass to move himself past Pittman, where he pulled away to win in the CJB Motorsports car for the second time this season.
“Last year at the World Finals we had a pretty good car coming from 22nd to second,” said McMahan, of Nashville, Tenn., who is second to Pittman in the championship standings. “This year we pretty much got the car awesome again. We ended up starting ninth in the dash and got to fifth so that was a big jump for us. In the main event we started fifth and just got rolling around and glued to the bottom, the car was so good on the bottom. And we just stayed there all night long, Daryn moved to the top, which really surprised me, and I kept pounding the bottom and was able to get by and hold on for the victory.”
Pittman continued to hang onto second in Great Clips GF1 car as Kyle Larson closed quickly on the high side following a restart with five laps to go. Larson was challenging Pittman for the second position, but came up just short of gaining the position.
“We have been good, we have been consistent, but at the end of the day you know you want to win races,” said Pittman, of Owasso, Okla. “That’s why we’re out here and that’s where you get the satisfaction, and to come that close to feel like you didn’t do your part as a driver, to know you let the crew down is the hardest part to swallow. We’re a team and we’ll come back and they’ll be disappointed, but they won’t work any less hard this week and we’ll be back for Lawrenceburg on Monday.”
Larson became a threat on the top side in the Abreu Vineyards car as the laps were winding down when he settled for third.
“I kept getting bad restarts in the beginning and was a kind of down on myself, then we got a couple of cautions late and I was able to get my momentum going around the top and it was able to clean off up there,” said Larson, of Elk Grove, Calif. “I think I needed one more caution with three of four laps to go and I might have had a shot at Daryn or Paul.”
Tony Stewart had a strong top-three run going for most of the race, but his Office Depot/Mobil 1 J&J fell to Larson in the final four laps and Stewart settled for a fourth-place finish, his third consecutive top-five finish with the Outlaws in the past week. Steve Kinser rounded out the top five, collecting his second top-five finish of the season.
Sammy Swindell’s night started on a strong note, but ended on a sour one. After qualifying in the third position overall and starting the feature on the outside of the front row, Swindell’s Big Game Treestands Eagle ended up flipping in turn one, cutting short his night.
Jason Sides earned the KSE Hard Charger award by picking up 12 spots in the A-main after starting 18th. Sides had to pass through the Last Chance Showdown to get into the feature event.
The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series gets a short break over Memorial Day weekend before kicking back into action on Monday night at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway.