World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship leader Daryn Pittman is having the best season of his career, but he outdid himself Tuesday night in the NAPA Auto Parts Outlaw Classic at New Egypt Speedway.
First he led 17 drivers in shattering the nearly 12-year-old track record in qualifying, then worked past Sammy Swindell on Lap 6 in the A-main and drove to his series-leading fifth victory of the season in the Kasey Kahne Racing Great Clips GF1, becoming the first driver in 2013 to set quick time and then go win the feature.
In addition to it being his fifth win, Pittman has also earned 16 top-five finishes and a staggering 22 top-10s this season in 25 events. He’s even tied with Paul McMahan with five quick-time awards to lead the series.
Pittman started the 30-lap A-main in third behind Sammy Swindell and Jason Sides. Pittman kept the pressure on, making his move to the front when Swindell was bottled up in traffic on Lap 6. Pittman never looked back, as Swindell, Sides, Tony Stewart and Donny Schatz rounded out the top five.
“I just had a good car all night we were fast from hot laps,” said Pittman, an Oklahoma native who was clearly racing with a heavy heart after seeing the catastrophic storm-related damage in his home state the past few days. “Honestly I just couldn’t ask for a better night it’s always fun when you feel like you’ve got the best car and it’s even better when you can put it to use all night long and come out with a win. [Swindell] just kind of opened it up in four getting tight and we were just really good running around the bottom and I kind of knew that would be the key the way the track was.
“Our prayers go out to everyone back in Oklahoma. It’s pretty close to home, friends actually lived in the neighborhood, and it’s unbelievable the devastation that those people are going through. I’m just praying that they can have the strength to try and get through it and that they’re definitely on our minds.”
Swindell, who started on the pole in the Big Game Treestands Eagle, led the opening five laps, but when he encountered traffic, Pittman made his move.
“We just did the best we could and still got the second,” said Swindell, of Germantown, Tenn. “You kind of hate to start on the front and not finish there, but the car is in one piece and we’ll work on it and go from there. Everything’s different from what we’ve ever run before and we’ve got to put it together and we’re close, we’ll just keep hammering on it.”
Sides started second and finished third in the Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim despite having a motor issue in the early going that forced him to fend off Stewart and Schatz in the waning laps.
“Sammy got out to a little bit of a lead, and Daryn got right past us in turn four,” said Sides, of Bartlett, Tenn. “On the second or third lap it broke a rocker arm and it started spraying fuel everywhere. If there was a caution I was just really going to pull in and go, but since it did go green we just stayed out there and got a good run. Anytime you can run top three with a broke motor that’s still pretty good.”
For the second night in a row some of the best racing on track was between Tony Stewart and his Tony Stewart Racing driver, Donny Schatz. The two eventually finished where they started, with Stewart in fourth and Schatz one position behind, but as they were forced to weave through lapped traffic, the battle grew intense.
Pittman was not the only driver to best the previous track record. In fact, the previous track record would have only been good for the 18th qualifying position.
For the second night in a row, the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series feature event ran the full distance caution free. Working his way through the field and collecting the KSE Hard Charger award was Kasey Kahne Racing’s Cody Darrah, who advanced from 22nd to 15th.
There were several drivers representing the PA Posse on Tuesday night. Greg Hodnett was the highest finishing Posse member, collecting an eighth place finish.
The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series takes a quick breather before heading to the Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C. Friday night to kick off Memorial Day weekend with the Circle K/NOS Energy Outlaw Showdown.