Photo by: DB3 Imaging
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 29, 2018) – The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series wrapped up their big Memorial Day weekend on Monday night. Kyle Larson Racing with Shane Stewart competed in the Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., this past Friday, followed up by the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway on Monday.
After four consecutive rain outs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Stewart was finally able to get back on track Friday at The Dirt Track at Charlotte and qualified 11th to kick off the night. He got a great start in his heat race to surge from fourth to second and earn a spot in the coveted Sears Craftsman Dash. He then drew the number 1 wrench to start on the pole of the dash and finished second, earning a front row starting spot for the 30-lap main event.
Stewart got the initial jump at the start of the feature event and he survived two early back to back cautions on laps 10 and 12, regaining the lead each time. During lapped traffic with six laps remaining, the defending World of Outlaws champion, Donny Schatz, was able to get a run on Stewart to snag the lead. The Bixby, Okla., native tried to make a run in the closing laps but finished the Outlaw Showdown in the runner-up position.
“I just told my guys thank you very much for working very hard all week,” Stewart said on the podium to World of Outlaws announcer, John Gibson. “First and foremost, to maintain a World of Outlaws sprint car, it takes a lot of man hours and money and we can’t thank all of our supporters like ENEOS, DC Solar and BRANDT enough. It’s kind of hard to tell what to do when you’re out front and when you lose like that you kind of kick yourself in the butt a little bit. I think if I would have moved down I could have made it a little tougher on him and forced him get around me. Still, it’s great strong finish for this team. They deserve to be up front and on the podium. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into the summer months.”
After a couple of days off, the KLR team got back on track Monday night at Lawrenceburg Speedway. Joining them was the boss, Kyle Larson, in the Silva Motorsports BRANDT No. 57 after competing in NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Larson timed in with the second fastest lap time in qualifying and Stewart sixth. From there on out the two couldn’t really get away from each other. They made up the front row in Heat 2, with Larson claiming the win and Stewart finishing second, both transferring into the Sears Craftsman Dash.
“I always feel good when I come to Lawrenceburg,” said Larson to Gibson during the dash draw on the front stretch. “This is one of my favorite tracks, I always enjoy racing here, so hopefully we can get a good dash draw.”
Ultimately, Larson drew the eight wrench, relegating him to the final starting spot in the Sears Craftsman Dash.
“Hopefully we can make it three-for-three,” said the two-time defending race winner during the dash draw. “Happy Memorial Day to everyone and thank you for coming out. Hopefully we can get a good draw here and Kyle and I can put on a show for everyone.
When Stewart reached into the Craftsman tool box, he pulled out the seven wrench, lining both he and the boss up in the final row of the Sears Craftsman Dash. With its high-banked corners, Lawrenceburg has always been a dicey track and as soon as the dash started, it was excitement from the beginning. Slide-jobs were being thrown between all competitors and Larson ended up finishing fourth and Stewart seventh.
Once the green flag dropped, there were three early cautions within the first three laps, but after that racing got rolling. Larson ran most of the race in fourth place, but towards lap 20 racing in lapped traffic, he was able to make some gains on the leaders and move his way up to the runner up position. While Stewart bided his time in the sixth position, on lap 28, Larson jumped the cushion in Turn 4 and spun, collecting another car. Luckily the pilot of the ENEOS No. 2 was able to avoid the spin and continue on. He raced as high as third, but ultimately finished fourth.
“It was a good weekend for our team,” said Stewart. “I hate that it ended that way for Kyle, but he is always putting on a show. Lawrenceburg is always a fun track to come to and I wish we could have repeated the last two races here, but a fourth-place finish is still good. We’ve got a little bit of momentum going now and I hope to carry that into Fairbury on Wednesday and the rest of the season.”
After both races this weekend, Stewart has jumped back up the World of Outlaws Championship point standings from seventh to fourth. Weather permitting, KLR will be competing at Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway for the FVP Platinum Battery Showdown on Wednesday.
|QUICK NOTES: Shane Stewart – Kyle Larson Racing No. 2|
|TRACK: The Dirt Track at Charlotte
DASH STARTING POSITION: 1st
FEATURE STARTING POSITION: 2nd
TRACK: Lawrenceburg Speedway
|DATE: May 25, 2018
HEAT RACE: 2nd
DASH FINISH: 2nd
FEATURE FINISH: 2nd
DATE: May 28, 2018
|QUICK NOTES: Kyle Larson – Silva Motorsports No. 57|
|TRACK: Lawrenceburg Speedway
DASH STARTING POSITION: 8th
FEATURE STARTING POSITION: 4th
|DATE: May 28, 2018
HEAT RACE: 1st
DASH FINISH: 4th
FEATURE FINISH: 17th