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Sunday, January 10, 2016
Lasoski Victorious in Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown Finale, Stewart Claims Event Title
(Photo by Matt Hill)
Inside Line Promotions – SOMERTON, Ariz. (Jan. 9, 2016) – Two faces familiar to Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown Victory Lane stood atop the podium on Saturday during the 2nd edition of the marquee event at Cocopah Speedway.
Danny Lasoski, who captured the inaugural title in 2015, led the final 29 laps of the finale to score his first victory of the year. Meanwhile, Shane Stewart, who won back-to-back features entering Saturday, charged from 19th to seventh place to garner the 2016 championship by eight points over Dale Blaney.
“We didn’t really change a whole lot from our package that we had last year,” Stewart said. “The main thing was we came here and raced. We got ourselves back in the groove. I think this will help us going to Florida (next month to start the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season).”
The feature began with Lasoski quickly advancing to second place from his fourth starting position. He then passed Greg Hodnett, who led the first lap, with a slide job entering turn three on Lap 2.
The lone caution of the race came on Lap 6 as polesitter Jason Johnson, who was running third, spun exiting turn two. Lasoski quickly built a sizable advantage following the restart and Daryn Pittman wasted little time passing Hodnett for the runner-up position.
Traffic came into play on Lap 11 and remained heavy until the checkered flag. With Lasoski mired behind traffic on the bottom groove, Pittman inched to the top of the track in turns three and four and reeled in the leader – a scene eerily similar to Friday night, when Stewart used a late-race pass by powering around the top groove to steal the victory from Lasoski.
“I wasn’t going to let that happen twice,” Lasoski said. “I knew what I did last night was completely driver error. We had a really good race car tonight. Hopefully we can come back next year.”
Pittman closed within a car length of Lasoski on multiple occasions, but was unable to make a bid for the lead. Pittman settled for a second-place finish, which was his best result of the Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown.
“We made some changes there for the feature that, man, made all the difference in the world,” said Pittman, who placed third in the event standings. “I was really good on the top in (turns) three and four and then it got really clean. It started to rubber a little on the bottom in (turn) three and four. If it hadn’t done that I thought we had a shot at it, especially in traffic.”
Hodnett rounded out the podium, which wrapped up a fourth-place result in the standings.
“We put different bars, different shocks on it for the feature and just weren’t good enough,” he said. “The other guys were way better. We’re fortunate to come out of here with another top three.”
While the battle up front was intense, Stewart’s charge through the field was impressive. His Larson Marks Racing team was forced to change an engine following a qualifier and Stewart narrowly made it onto the track in time for a B Main, where a runner-up finish transferred him into the 19th starting position for the main event.
“We struggled a little bit,” he said. “Our team is really good. They just put their heads down when we have a little bit of an issue and just get through it.”
Stewart advanced inside the top 10 by Lap 11 of the feature and he gained three more positions during the second half of the feature. That kept him in the lead of the championship standings, which paid $4,000 to win thanks to Cometic Gasket, JE Pistons and K1 Technologies.
Blaney, Pittman, Hodnett and Lasoski, who, respectively, placed second through fifth in the event standings, each received $1,500.
Blaney finished fourth in Saturday’s main event with NASCAR star Kasey Kahne in fifth.
Logan Schuchart was sixth with Stewart, Roger Crockett, Trey Starks and Dominic Scelzi rounding out the top 10, respectively.
Logan Forler, Terry McCarl, Lasoski, Jason Solwold and Johnson each won a heat race with Joey Saldana, Kahne, Starks, Bill Balog and Bud Kaeding claiming a qualifier. Rico Abreu and Aaron Reutzel were triumphant in the twin B Mains.
Saturday’s event began with a special announcement as Henry Van Dam received the Big Al Sportsmanship Award, which was established for this year’s event in honor of Al Tschider. Tschider founded the Big Al Kids & Motorsports Foundation, which was created to provide motor sports trips and racing opportunities for children battling life-threatening conditions and illnesses, and he passed away suddenly last August.
“He was able to do a lot of special things for kids that were just amazing,” Van Dam said. “To win the award is awesome because I know how much effort he put into the foundation and to be a part of that is huge.”
NOTES: Greg Hodnett was awarded $1,000 by Here 2 Wire, Inc., for earning the most passing points throughout the event. … Shark Racing (drivers Logan Schuchart and Jacob Allen) garnered $500 from Here 2 Wire, Inc., for the long haul award. … Shane Stewart was awarded a $250 gift card from SpeedMart and a $75 certificate from TiLUBE Motorsport Lubricants for being the Hard Charger Award winner. … Jacob Allen received $150 from Ron’s Lawn Service in Sharpsville, Pa., for being the first non-qualifier in the first B Main. … Ryan Smith and Paul McMahan captured $100 each from Carlile Transportation Heavy Haul Division in Anchorage, Alaska, and Tacoma, Wash., for placing sixth in a B Main. … Logan Forler earned a $50 certificate from TiLUBE Motorsport Lubricants for being the first non-qualifier in the second B Main. … Aaron Reutzel’s car owner Shane Liebig won a $150 gift card to Outback Steakhouse in the SpeedMart fuel draw.
General admission tickets for the event are on sale by visiting http://www.CocopahWinterHeat.com. Kids 12 and under get in free. There is a discount for military members and senior citizens.
Speed Shift TV will be broadcasting live Pay-Per-View video of the 2nd annual Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown for only $24.95 per night. Also, a 20-percent discount is available for those who purchase all five nights. Visit http://www.SpeedShiftTV.com/WinterHeat for more information.
THE EVENT –
The 2nd annual Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown will showcase the top sprint car drivers in the world in sunny Southwest Arizona during the first two weeks of January in 2016. The four weekend races pay $12,000 to the winner and at least $1,000 to every driver who advances to the main event with the midweek show paying $5,000 to win.
POINTS FUND –
The 2nd annual Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown features a $10,000 points fund thanks to Cometic Gasket, JE Pistons and K1 Technologies. The driver who garners the most overall points throughout all five races receives $4,000 for winning the championship with drivers finishing second through fifth each recording a $1,500 bonus.
COCOPAH SPEEDWAY –
Cocopah Speedway is a semi-banked, 3/8-mile dirt track located in Somerton, Ariz. It has a concrete wall perimeter, television-quality lighting and the pits are located outside turns three and four. There is also dry camping free of charge on the property. For more information, visithttp://www.CocopahSpeedway.com.