Pittman leads all the way for Grove win

MECHANICSBURG – Daryn Pittman is the defending World of Outlaws champion, but the one thing he didn’t do last year was win at Williams Grove Speedway – a track where he was a regular for four years before rejoining the Outlaws.

Pittman, a native of Owasso, Okla., took care of that early this season as he won in the Outlaws’ first visit of the season at the Grove Friday night. He earned $8,000 for the win.

“I’m pretty upset I let that one end last year,” Pittman said, referring to his Grove win streak that ended last year. “We had a car capable of winning at least one of the races last year and I didn’t get it done.”

Pittman started on the pole and led all 25 laps on a dry, slick racing surface that was run-in hard on Thursday due to the impending rain.

“That might have been a snoozer of a feature, but it was a great team effort from the time we unloaded,” Pittman said. “We didn’t draw the best pill (for time trails) and the track really fell off, but Kale (Kahne) gave me a car to lay down a lap that really saved our night. I’ve started on the pole three times this year and haven’t won any of them, so this feels good. Any time you win at Williams Grove it is a special feeling.”

Pittman and Joey Saldana shared the front row of the main event. Steve Buckwalter spun in turn three following the initial start to bring out the caution flag.

On the restart, Pittman went right to the bottom as Saldana tried the middle groove in turns one and two. It was Pittman leading as they raced off turn two and down the backstretch.

Hanover native and Outlaws rookie Logan Schuchart stopped on the backstretch with four laps completed, bringing out the second caution flag and erasing Pittman’s two-second lead.

Paul McMahan spun in turn one on the restart, collecting Pat Cannon and Donnie Kreitz.

Pittman pulled away on the restart over Saldana and a battle for third between teammates Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz and David Gravel closed as well.

Pittman caught the back of the field with 11 laps completed as the racing shifted to one lane around the inside groove of the speedway.

Kinser blew an engine and pitted with 13 laps completed, giving up third spot.

Pittman couldn’t move off the preferred inside line and couldn’t lap the cars and that allowed Saldana and Schatz to close, but nobody moved out of line to try for a pass.

“I tried to give myself a little bit of room that if I felt pressure I could get going again,” Pittman said. “With about three to go, guys were banging wheels down the backstretch and it got pretty tight. I wanted to back up enough that I could accelerate if I needed to. The track was tough. It was dry from the time we got here. We’ll take it. No better place to be than on the pole when it takes rubber.”

The defending Outlaws champion never lapped a car, but stayed smooth and straight around the bottom to secure his fourth win of the season over Saldana, Schatz, Gravel and Lincoln winner Stevie Smith.

Alan Krimes, Justin Barger, Danny Dietrich, Brent Marks and Aaron Ott rounded out the top 10.

Outlaws point leader Saldana set fast time over the 43-car field with a lap of 17.765 seconds. Justin Barger, Gravel, McMahan and Stevie Smith won the eight-lap heat races.

Rookie Austin Hogue won the C-main over Jac Haudenschild. Defending Outlaw champion Pittman won the dash over Saldana. Brian Montieth won the Last Chance Showdown.

The Outlaws return to the Grove tonight for the running of the Morgan Cup, paying $17,000 to win.