Home, Sweet Home for Shane Stewart

The Wheatley Chronicles – Volume III, No. 40

Lonnie Wheatley, SALINA, Okla. (May 1, 2015) – There’s no place like home. It’s a phrase that rang true for Shane Stewart as he picked off his third World of Outlaws triumph of the year in Friday night’s 25-lap feature atop the Salina Highbanks Speedway.

Stewart emerged from a three-way battle for the lead with Brad Sweet and Aaron Reutzel to take command for keeps on the 11th round aboard the Larson Marks Racing No. 2 en route to the victory just an hour or so away from his native Bixby, OK, home.

“This is a track I was really hoping I could get a win at,” Stewart said afterward.

Stewart was one of two native Okies on the podium with 2013 WoO champ Daryn Pittman climbing from eighth to take third behind Stewart and Sweet.

With Stewart starting third, front row outside starter Reutzel gunned into the lead on the opening lap and paced the initial handful of circuits in his first career WoO start before Sweet battled back in front.

Stewart joined in the lead mix and held second when a caution flew after ten laps. Stewart raced into the lead on the restart and never relinquished the point as he closed to within six markers of tenth-place finisher Donny Schatz in the WoO points chase.

“I was pretty concerned about the restarts, sometimes they can work to your advantage and sometimes they work against you,” Stewart commented.

Stewart had little need for worry, executing a pair of perfect restarts over the final half of the race to secure the win.

Sweet chased Stewart to the line, while Pittman took advantage of a lap 11 restart to take third away from Reutzel. The first WoO start for Reutzel resulted in a fourth-place finish with Kerry Madsen rounding out the top five.

The Vitals…                                                           

Series: World of Outlaws

Track: Salina Highbanks Speedway (Salina, OK)

Car Count: 27

Quick Time: Paul McMahan was the only one to break into the 12-second region with a time of 12.967, still well off Saldana’s track record of 11.177 seconds set by Craig Dollansky two years ago.

Heat Winners (starting position in parentheses): Christopher Bell (2), Shane Stewart (2), Daryn Pittman (1).

Heat Moments: The Oklahoma theme began early with all three heat races won by native Sooner State drivers. Paul McMahan cut a tire five laps into the opening heat race with Christopher Bell taking advantage of the restart to take the win away from Kunz Midget teammate Rico Abreu. Shane Stewart won the second heat handily while Pittman outdueled Joey Saldana on the opening round to take command of the third heat with Reutzel battling past Brian Brown on the white-flag lap to earn a transfer position that translated into pole position of the Dash.

“B” Main Winner (starting position in parentheses): Paul McMahan (1).

“B” Main Moments: While McMahan had it under control, Hunter Schuerenberg rallied past Jacob Allen to take the sixth and final transfer. Kevin Swindell and Danny Jennings were scratches.

“A” Main Cautions: Five

Opening lap – The red flag flew when Brad Loyet got turned around and backed it into turn one with Sam Hafertepe, Jr., then flipping after contact with nowhere to go. Loyet returned after repairs while Son of Sam Sr., walked away after being briefly shaken.

Second try – Christopher Bell slid off the top of turn four into the darkness aboard the Kunz No. 67. He rejoined at the tail.

Lap 10 – Fourth-runner Kraig Kinser spins to a stop in turn two.

Lap 13 – Rico Abreu spins it in turn four.

Lap 20 – Bell slows with a shredded right rear tire.

“A” Main Hard Charger: David Gravel climbed eight positions to eighth in his second night aboard the Destiny Motorsports No. 7 but the nod goes to Logan Schuchart, who rallied nine positions from 18th to ninth.

The Box Score…

Qualifying: 1. 51-Paul McMahan 12.967, 2. 49-Brad Sweet 13.009, 3. 21-Brian Brown 13.100, 4. 29-Kerry Madsen 13.119, 5. 11k-Kraig Kinser 13.158, 6. 87-Aaron Reutzel 13.161, 7. 67-Christopher Bell 13.171, 8. 2-Shane Stewart 13.177, 9. 71m-Joey Saldana 13.225, 10. 24-Rico Abreu 13.252, 11. O5-Brad Loyet 13.254, 12. 9-Daryn Pittman 13.256, 13. 15-13.286, 14. 77x-Wayne Johnson 13.367, 15. 82-Dusty Zomer 13.371, 16. 7-David Gravel 13.389, 17. 7s-Jason Sides 13.391, 18. 1s-Logan Schuchart 13.412, 19. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 13.437, 20. 99-Brady Bacon 13.441, 21. 41-Jamie Veal 13.478, 22. 45x-Johnny Herrera 13.509, 23. 31b-Kevin Swindell 13.632, 24. 83-Kyle Hirst 13.659, 25. 20n-Hunter Schuerenberg 13.722, 26. 1a-Jacob Allen 13.790, 27. 1j-Danny Jennings 14.606.

Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 67-Christopher Bell, 2. 24-Rico Abreu, 3. 29-Kerry Madsen, 4. 7-David Gravel, 5. 15-Donny Schatz, 6. 45x-Johnny Herrera, 7. 51-Paul McMahan, 8. 20n-Hunter Schuerenberg, 9. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr.

Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 2-Shane Stewart, 2. 49-Brad Sweet, 3. 11k-Kraig Kinser, 4. O5-Brad Loyet, 5. 7s-Jason Sides, 6. 77x-Wayne Johnson, 7. 1a-Jacob Allen, 8. 99-Brady Bacon, 9. 31b-Kevin Swindell.

Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 9-Daryn Pittman, 2. 71m-Joey Saldana, 3. 82-Dusty Zomer, 4. 1s-Logan Schuchart, 5. 41-Jamie Veal, 6. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 7. 21-Brian Brown, 8. 83-Kyle Hirst, 9. 1j-Danny Jennings.

Dash (6 Laps): 1. 49-Brad Sweet, 2. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 3. 2-Shane Stewart, 4. 11k-Kraig Kinser, 5. 67-Christopher Bell, 6. 71m-Joey Saldana, 7. 29-Kerry Madsen, 8. 9-Daryn Pittman.

“B” Main (12 Laps – 6 Advance): 1. 51-Paul McMahan, 2. 21-Brian Brown, 3. 99-Brady Bacon, 4. 83-Kyle Hirst, 5. 20n-Hunter Schuerenberg, 6. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 7. 1a-Jacob Allen, 8. 31-Kevin Swindell (DNS), 9. 1j-Danny Jennings (DNS).

“A” Main Finish (25 Laps): 1. 2-Shane Stewart (3), 2. 49-Brad Sweet (1), 3. 9-Daryn Pittman (8), 4. 87-Aaron Reutzel (2), 5. 29-Kerry Madsen (7), 6. 21-Brian Brown (10), 7. 51-Paul McMahan (9), 8. 7-David Gravel (16), 9. 1s-Logan Schuchart (18), 10. 15-Donny Schatz (13), 11. 71m-Joey Saldana (6), 12. 41-Jamie Veal (20), 13. 82-Dusty Zomer (15), 14. 7s-Jason Sides (17), 15. 83-Kyle Hirst (22), 16. 11k-Kraig Kinser (4), 17. 24-Rico Abreu (11), 18. 67-Christopher Bell (5), 19. 99-Brady Bacon (19), 20. O5-Brad Loyet (12), 21. 77x-Wayne Johnson (14), 22. 45x-Johnny Herrera (21), 23. 20n-Hunter Schuerenberg (23), 24. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (24).

Lap leaders: Aaron Reutzel 1-5, Brad Sweet 6-10, Shane Stewart 11-25.

The Wheatley Chronicles brings insight and highlights from all variety of racing series throughout the nation in 2015 and beyond along with the Open Wheel Power Rankings on a regular basis. Please send any comments, questions or advertising inquiries regarding The Wheatley Chronicles at www.sprintcarmania.com to Lonnie Wheatley at lonniewheatley@gmail.com.