View from the Stands (6/12/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator
The World of Outlaws series comes to Knoxville this Saturday night. This will be the last time we see the Outlaws at Knoxville until August 7-10 for the Nationals. We will likely see a few Outlaws show up for the Capitani Classic on August 4 however. At the May 11 Outlaws event Donny Schatz walked away with the win and he has since been getting better on the tour and is currently third in the point standings and rising. In the past ten WoO events Schatz has the best average finish at 5.0, while point leader Daryn Pittman has an average of 6.8, and Paul McMahon at 7.1. I look for Schatz to be the favorite this weekend and at the Nationals.
Craig Dollansky finished second to Schatz on May 11 and he won both WoO events this past weekend. He has risen to fourth in the point standings as well. Look for Dollanksy to be Schatz’ best competition this week.
Brian Brown led the May 11 race before dropping to third. If “Brownie” can dial in the set-up on his Maxim chassis for the later half of the race, he might be able to get a win for the Knoxville Regulars on their home turf!
Daryn Pittman is the series point leader, is tied for the most wins, but his performance is losing steam while Schatz and McMahon are getting better. D-Pitt was seventh at Knoxville in May and he needs a good showing more than anyone this weekend in my opinion.
Tim Kaeding may have been able to race with Schatz and Dollanksy for the win last month if it weren’t for mechanical problems. TK is not racing the full WoO tour for points, but has played the role of spoiler winning five races this season.
Sammy Swindell needs a good showing at Knoxville. He seems to be struggling to qualify well this season and get up front. One win, and seven top five’s is not where he expected to be at this point in the season I’m sure. Can he rebound at Knoxville where he has been so fast the past three years?
Also last month, Kerry Madsen put together a fourth place finish and is always strong at his home track of Knoxville.
Cody Darrah was sixth and has been contending for top five finishes more frequently, but hasn’t improved much this season. His first ten races his average finish was 12.3, the second ten races 12.4, and races 21-30 his average was 13.0. No wins and a lack of consistency is lacking in his performance, but he has a fourth, sixth, and fifth in his last three races coming into this weekend. It will be interesting to see how he performs this weekend.
There is no one who needs a win worse than Steve Kinser right now. The King is ninth in points and has not qualified well. He needs to swallow his pride and shut down his home built engine program and try someone else’s bullet under the hood.
Kraig Kinser, Chad Kemenah, Jason Sides, David Gravel, Joey Saldana, and Bill Rose all need to make gains this week to be ready for the Nationals.
The Knoxville Regulars are hoping to compete as well for sure. Brian Brown should be up front as I already mentioned but I like the chances of Dusty Zomer, Terry McCarl, Davey Heskin, Ian Madsen, Bronson Maeschen, and Mark Dobmeier to make the feature and compete with the “big boys”. I still consider Kerry Madsen, Danny Lasoski, and Craig Dollansky as part of the “Regulars” in my mind. If you were once a Knoxville weekly competitor, a track champion, and lived in Iowa or a neighboring state, that still counts. I think even the PA Posse fans would agree to those terms.
Lucas Wolfe has parted ways with the 82 Todd and Susan LaHaise team leaving a good ride available. I’ve heard lots of rumors and will be excited to see who ends up in the seat on Saturday night, but I’m hearing it will be Jason Solwold. The BDS team ride is open since David Hesmer has left that seat empty.
Let’s pray for good weather and great racing this weekend! Outlaws versus the Knoxville Regulars! Donny Schatz is the best in the business right now, but we all want to see someone else win.
*Eric can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @_EricArnold.
*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and not necessarily those of Knoxville Raceway.