Saturday, August 25, 2012
Pittman Claims Western PA Victory, Third UNOH All Star Win of 2012
by Brian Liskai
MERCER, Pa. -- Daryn Pittman may want to consider following the University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions next season. The Pittsboro, Indiana resident led wire-to-wire Saturday to claim the 23rd Western Pennsylvania Championship at Mercer Raceway Park.
It was Pittman?s third UNOH All Star win of 2012 and the second this month. The victory is Pittman?s eighth career series win, all coming in the last four years. He leads the $20,000-to-win Eastern Region of the UNOH All Stars, though the Mercer event was part of the series? Ohio Region points.
?We've been struggling in Central PA, so it's just good to come out here and get a win," said Pittman beside his Mike Heffner owned #27 carrying Lelands.com, Pasquariello?s, Danny Auto Salvage sponsorship.
Pittman was ready to get to victory lane a little sooner than the officials would allow, however. He had miscounted the laps and was surprised to see 28 on the scoreboard when he thought the checkers should have fallen.
Pittman and current UNOH All Star national point leader Tim Shaffer would bring the field to the green in the 30-lap feature. But, it took three attempts to get the race under way. The initial start was nullified by a flip by Dr. Steve Collins in turn four. The second was set aside because Brandon Matus came to a halt on the backstretch.
When the green flag waived for good, Pittman bolted into the lead from his pole position. Tim Shaffer, who is looking to wrap up his fourth straight UNOH All Star title, slipped into second, with Rod George, Danny Holtgraver, Dale Blaney and David Gravel in hot pursuit. Behind them, there was a three-wide battle for positions just outside the top ten, involving Jack Sodeman, Jr., Scott Priester and Paul McMahan.
Pittman held a slim margin over Shaffer as the leaders entered lapped traffic with nine laps down. It took Pittman a lap or so to get by Bobby Howard, but Pittman did not get the relief he was seeking, as Shaffer remained close, and Holtgraver was nipping on his heels too.
Blaney worked his way past George just before the halfway mark, and started to close on Holtgraver, who was holding down the third position. A caution on lap 16 for debris was the final stoppage of the race.
The restart had Pittman on the point, with Shaffer, Holtgraver, Blaney and George right behind. At the drop of the green, Shaffer ducked to the inside of Pittman as they raced into turn one. Pittman had the momentum and he rode the cushion through the corners to pull ahead of his challenger.
Over the next 10 laps, Pittman started to open up a lead, and the others in the top five also began to achieve some separation. However, with five laps to go, Pittman was in lapped traffic again, and Shaffer closed to his rear bumper. Holtgraver followed suit, reaching Shaffer's tail.
Pittman drove by the slower machine and got some much needed breathing room with just two laps top go.
"I wasn't getting around the lapped cars as good as I would have liked at the end, so when you're behind a lapped car, you kinda figure that somebody must be coming behind you," Pittman explained.
However, it was Shaffer, who was not so fortunate. A lapped car slowed his charge, allowing Holtgraver to take the second spot away on the final lap.
"I was kinda lucky. Shaff got behind that lapped car, but you gotta take what you can get," said Holtgraver, who scored a feature win the previous night at Lernerville Speedway.
Holtgraver was aware of Pittman's difficulty getting past lapped machines, too.
?But, I don't know, even if we had a few more laps, if I could have gotten by him, he's pretty tough to pass, but at least we would have had a shot at him,? continued Holtgraver beside his Kargo Quality Cars, Alternative Power Source, DKW Transport backed machine.
"It's been one of those years," a disheartened Shaffer noted beside his Aaron Call/Janet Holbrook owned, Kistler Engines backed #83. "It just don't seem to be working out."
Still, he was able to pad his national points lead a bit, as he did finish a notch ahead of Blaney. He is also closing in on Blaney for the Ohio Region point lead with just a handful of races left for 2012.
Rod George completed the top five, driving a car he's borrowed from Steve Lucas to finish out the year. Brandon Spithaler held his own throughout the race, crossing in sixth. David Gravel was seventh and McMahan in eighth. Cap Henry drove a remarkable race, passing 12 cars on his way to the ninth spot. Jack Sodeman, Jr., the new dad, completed the top 10.
Mercer Raceway Park - 8/25/2012
All Star Circuit of Champions (27 Cars)
Qualifying - Kistler Engines
1. D4-Danny Holtgraver, 13.875; 2. 83-Tim Shaffer, 14.028; 3. 27-Daryn Pittman, 14.032; 4. 2-Dale Blaney, 14.068; 5. CIII-Rod George, 14.089; 6. 22-Brandon Spithaler, 14.223; 7. 15-Scott Priester, 14.228; 8. 10-Carl Bowser, 14.238; 9. 89G-David Gravel, 14.255; 10. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr., 14.256; 11. 45-Paul McMahan, 14.279; 12. 40-Caleb Helms, 14.384; 13. O8-Dan Kurriger, 14.395; 14. 8-Mike Lutz, 14.398; 15. 3-Pete Miller III, 14.417; 16. 66-Chris Best, 14.447; 17. 5K-Adam Kekich, 14.468; 18. 13-Brandon Matus, 14.487; 19. 7-Eric Williams, 14.509; 20. 4-Danny Smith, 14.510; 21. 56-Ralph Spithaler, 14.517; 22. 54-Cap Henry, 14.628; 23. 67-Steve Collins, 14.902; 24. 4AU-Jack Lee, 15.021; 25. 49-Bob Howard, 15.204; 26. 33-Brent Matus, 15.222; 27. 2S-Francis Sesco, 15.530
Heat 1 - Kears Speed Shop (8 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr. ; 2. 2-Dale Blaney ; 3. D4-Danny Holtgraver ; 4. 54-Cap Henry ; 5. O8-Dan Kurriger ; 6. 15-Scott Priester ; 7. 7-Eric Williams ; 8. 49-Bob Howard
Heat 2 - All Pro Aluminum Heads (8 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 45-Paul McMahan ; 2. CIII-Rod George ; 3. 83-Tim Shaffer ; 4. 4-Danny Smith ; 5. 10-Carl Bowser ; 6. 67-Steve Collins ; 7. 8-Mike Lutz ; 8. 33-Brent Matus ; 9. 5K-Adam Kekich
Heat 3 - Dragon Race Fuel (8 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 13-Brandon Matus ; 2. 3-Pete Miller III ; 3. 40-Caleb Helms ; 4. 89G-David Gravel ; 5. 27-Daryn Pittman ; 6. 22-Brandon Spithaler ; 7. 56-Ralph Spithaler ; 8. 4AU-Jack Lee ; 9. 2S-Francis Sesco
Dash - Outerwears Performance Products (6 Laps, finishing order determined
first 6 starting positions of A-feature
1. 27-Daryn Pittman ; 2. CIII-Rod George ; 3. 83-Tim Shaffer ; 4. D4-Danny Holtgraver ; 5. 2-Dale Blaney ; 6. 22-Brandon Spithaler
B-Main - MSD Ignition (12 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) 1. 7-Eric Williams ; 2. 8-Mike Lutz ; 3. 5K-Adam Kekich ; 4. 56-Ralph Spithaler ; 5. 4AU-Jack Lee ; 6. 49-Bob Howard ; 7. 33-Brent Matus ; 8. 2S-Francis Sesco
A-Main - University of Northwestern Ohio (30 Laps)
1. 27-Daryn Pittman; 2. D4-Danny Holtgraver; 3. 83-Tim Shaffer; 4. 2-Dale Blaney; 5. CIII-Rod George; 6. 22-Brandon Spithaler; 7. 89G-David Gravel; 8. 45-Paul McMahan; 9. 54-Cap Henry; 10. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr.; 11. 8-Mike Lutz; 12. 15-Scott Priester; 13. 7-Eric Williams; 14. 4-Danny Smith; 15. 10-Carl Bowser; 16. 3-Pete Miller III; 17. 40-Caleb Helms; 18. 13-Brandon Matus; 19. O8-Dan Kurriger; 20. 4AU-Jack Lee; 21. 5K-Adam Kekich; 22. 49-Bob Howard; 23. 56-Ralph Spithaler; 24. 67-Steve Collins Hard Charger: 54-Cap Henry[+12]