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Thursday, January 07, 2016
Stewart Uses Late-Race Pass on Larson to Claim Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown Round 3
(Photo by Bobby McMorris)
Inside Line Promotions – SOMERTON, Ariz. (Jan. 6, 2016) – Mother Nature made her own plans for the midweek race during the 2nd annual Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown.
Weather postponed the third round of the five-race series at Cocopah Speedway one day until Wednesday, when another brief shower in the middle of the program resulted in an ultra-fast surface for the 43 competitors who battled for the $5,000 top prize on the elbows-up track.
Shane Stewart hustled past his car owner, NASCAR star Kyle Larson, on Lap 25 en route to his first career victory at the Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown.
“I’m just glad Mother Nature cooperated a little bit,” said Stewart, who won by more than seven seconds and lapped up to eighth place. “I’m very happy we were able to get the race in. It’s always a pleasure racing Kyle. He’s so darn good that he’s almost like racing Donny (Schatz) honestly. He sets such a strong pace.
“Everything worked out good for me. Sometimes it’s not always good to be leading. When he dropped down there and hit that hole I had a pretty good run on him and when he got sideways we were able to sneak by.”
The pass was the peak of a wild feature, which began with Larson quickly powering into the lead from his pole position. While Stewart was able to remain within striking distance, Larson hit traffic on Lap 4 and had lapped up to 14th place before the first caution of the race on Lap 12 for Terry McCarl.
Stewart, who restarted with two lapped cars between him and Larson, got by one lapped car before the second-and-final caution on Lap 14 for Seth Bergman.
Stewart quickly maneuvered by the lapped car and slowly reeled Larson back in. The duo entered traffic on Lap 20 and Stewart nearly crashed in turn two on the ensuing lap. However, he saved his car and position before once again closing the gap on Larson.
Meanwhile, traffic was thick and most of the lapped cars remained on the bottom groove, which forced Larson to run the tricky cushion several lanes up the track. Larson hit a hole and bobbled exiting turn two with six laps remaining and Stewart was there to capitalize.
While Stewart zipped around him and took the lead, Larson spun completely sideways and came down the track toward the infield as his fellow competitors dodged him at more than 100 miles per hour.
“Thankfully we still finished second,” he said. “I all but spun out or turned over off (turn) two there. I was pointed at the field and could see Tasker Phillips coming at me. I must have missed him by a foot. (I’m) just disappointed, but glad I didn’t get hit there.”
Larson held on to the runner-up position, which propelled him into the lead of the Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown championship standings.
Meanwhile, Jason Solwold put together another consistent night. He finished third – more than seven seconds behind Larson and 14 behind Stewart – to advance to second in the event standings.
“We kind of set up to run the bottom,” Solwold said. “We were a little too snug to run the top. Those guys kinda got checked out there. We got into lapped traffic and I was just about the same speed as everyone else was in dirty air. All in all, we had a pretty good night.”
Daryn Pittman recorded a fourth-place result with D.J. Netto placing fifth.
Craig Dollansky ended sixth, Aaron Reutzel seventh, Joey Saldana eighth, Bryan Clauson ninth and Greg Hodnett rounded out the top 10.
Larson, Logan Forler, McCarl, Steve Kinser and Rico Abreu each won a heat race with Stewart, Dollansky, Bergman, Sam Hafertepe Jr. and Austin McCarl each claiming a qualifier. Dale Blaney and Ryan Smith scored B Main victories.
NOTES: Tasker Phillips was awarded $500 from Here 2 Wire, Inc., and a $75 certificate from TiLUBE Motorsport Lubricants for being the Hard Charger Award winner. … Sam Hafertepe Jr. received $150 from Ron’s Lawn Service in Sharpsville, Pa., for being the first non-qualifier in the first B Main. … Henry Van Dam and Brian Brown captured $100 each from Carlile Transportation in Anchorage, Alaska, for placing sixth in a B Main. … Danny Lasoski earned a $50 certificate from TiLUBE Motorsport Lubricants for being the first non-qualifier in the second B Main. … Here 2 Wire, Inc., also donated $650 to the purse.
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.