Story & photos by Phillip Prichard, MSA:
The World of Outlaws World Finals kicked off on Thursday at the Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Fans from forty-eight states, Canada and a number of foreign countries were thrilled by three intense days of racing action.
Seventy-five Super Late Models, fifty-nine Sprint Cars and fifty Big Block Modifieds registered for the event.
Thursday kicked off with hot laps, heat races for the Big Block Modifieds, two qualifying sessions for both Late Models and Sprint Cars. The first qualifying sessions were for Friday night’s races and the second for Saturday night’s race. Darrell Lanigan and Jimmy Owens were fastest in the Late Model sessions.
On Friday afternoon, Steve Kinser was honored at the Dirt Track at Charlotte for his achievements of his 36 year career of 20 series championships and 578 feature wins by having the grandstands being named the Steve Kinser Grandstands. Charlotte was Kinser’s last race as a full time racer but he will still compete at selected events. Kinser has won 12 Knoxville Nationals and 7 King Royal Features.
The first feature of Friday night was Super Dirtcar Series Big Block Modifieds. Stewart Friesen dominated the race, after starting ninth; he stormed forward to the lead. This was Friesen’s twenty-eight feature win of the season. Brett Hearn finished second, Matt Sheppard third, Duane Howard fourth, and Tyler Dippel fifth.
Darrell Lanigan, the WOO Late Model Points leader, thrilled fans on a 4th turn pass of Chris Madden to secure Friday night’s Late Model Victory. Madden had lead most of the race, but his momentum was slowed on lap 36 when he tagged Chub Frank but he still held on.
Jimmy Owens passed Lanigan with four laps to go but Lanigan passed Owens again on Lap 48. Lanigan powered by Madden at the checkered flag to secure his 17th series victory of the season. Madden finished second, Bloomquist third, Owens fourth and Dennis Erb Jr fifth.
Daryn Pittman scored his 14th World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series win on Friday evening. Pittman started sixth; he passed Rico Abreu with eight laps to go and held on for the lead in two late action restarts. Abreu finished second and Pittman’s teammate Brad Sweet finished third.
WOW! Saturday’s race put the icing on the weekend races. In front of a standing room only crowd, where there were more fans from Pennsylvania than North Carolina, the racing action was intense. As the heat races, “C” Mains and “B’ Mains, the racers were fiercely competitive to earn a spot in the final “A” Mains.
The Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series were the first feature race of Saturday evening for 40 laps. Danny Johnson started on the pole as a result of the redraw with New Egypt Speedway champion Ryan Godown to his outside.
Godown got the jump on Johnson and took the lead at the drop of the green on the extreme top of the race track. Godown put his Troyer car right up against the outside wall like Stewart Friesen had done the night prior.
Godown’s night came to a quick end on lap 26 as Doug Manmiller spun in the second corner. Godown attempted to miss him and just caught Manmiller’s car with his left front breaking the front end on his No. 747 ending his night. At this point it was Johnson, 14 year-old Tyler Dippel and Brett Hearn in the top three.
Danny “The Doctor” Johnson of Rochester, NY and Tyler Dippel traded the lead multiple times during the final 10 laps, but Dippel made a mistake with 2 laps to go and Johnson assailed past to earn his fifth victory of the season and the 77th of his career.
Brett Hearn was second, Stewart Friesen third, Billy Decker fourth and Tyler Dippel fifth. “The Doctor” earned $8000 for his first victory at The Dirt Track. Billy Decker’s fourth place finish allowed him to capture the Super DIRTcar Series championship by 6 points over Matt Sheppard who finished 10th.
In an emotional beginning of the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Race, Steve “The King” Kinser led the four wide parade to honor the “The King” and fans. Brian Brown started on the pole along side of Daryn Pittman, who was Friday night’s winner.
On lap 8, Donny Schatz and Kerry Madsen made contact, leaving Schatz stopped against the turn 3 wall, he would restart 25th.
As the laps dwindled, Brown would battle with Pittman and Stevie Smith. Brown captured the checkered flag to earn his first ever Outlaws win and become the 24th different and seventh first-time winner in the series. He earned $12,000 for his victory. Stevie Smith finished second, Daryn Pittman third, Donny Schatz fourth and Kerry Madsen fifth.
Donny Schatz earned his sixth championship in the series at Port Royal Speedway a couple of weeks ago. Schatz compiled 26 wins, the most of any single season in his career, 63 top fives and 80 top tens to secure the championship. Schatz had a 316-point margin over second-place Daryn Pittman.
The evening’s finale was the World of Outlaws Late Model Feature. Scott Bloomquist started on the pole as result of the redraw. In a fiercely competitive race with only 2 cautions on Laps 9 and 10, the 50-lap race had only three leaders: Bloomquist, Tim McCreadie and Jimmy Owens.
In a tight back and forth battle, the three drivers would swap the lead. Owens who could maneuver his Club 29 Race Car on the top of the track to the bottom of the smooth well groomed racing surface.
Owens crossed the finish line 1.193 seconds ahead of McCreadie to earn the $12,050 pay day. Bloomquist finished third, Billy Moyer Jr. fourth and Darrel Lanigan fifth.
Darrell Lanigan of Union, KY was crowned the 2014 WOO Late Model Champion. It was Lanigan’s third WOO LMS championship with his record of 17 victories this year. His efforts were rewarded with the $100,000 champion’s paycheck.
With the eighth Bad Boys Buggies’ World of Outlaws World Finals in the history books, tickets are on sale for the 2015 World Finals.
Visit www.worldofoutlaws.com for additional details.