PITTMAN BANKS BIG MONEY IN CAPTURING HISTORICAL BIG ONE ROSSBURG, OH - By Bill Klingbeil 08/09/03 ...With Sprint Car Racing's "Month of Money" nearing its peak, Daryn Pittman knew the importance of doing well during these first two weeks of August. He made a monster deposit on Saturday night by winning the biggest race of his young career. Pittman led 36 of the 40 laps in the 11th annual Historical Big One at Eldora Speedway driving the #21 Sherdon Motorsports Hop & Sack/Gaerte/Mopar/J&J to claim the $100,000 victory.
"What an awesome feeling to win this race," said Pittman, following the victory. "Luck was surely on our side tonight. When we qualified 21st, we thought our chances were done, but crazy things happened and we ended up on the pole. We had a bad first start and it got called back. Paul went by me, but had some trouble. When they threw the red late in the race, my guys found a slow leak in my right rear. We were able to overcome a lot and take advantage of great situation."
As usual the Historical Big One lived up to expectations of being a roller coaster ride for everyone involved. Pittman qualified 21st, but with an invert six format for the 40-lap marathon and tough heat race guidelines, he ended up starting the race from the pole. He raced out to an early lead and headed the field for the first 11 circuits.
On lap 12, Paul McMahan passed Pittman as the two worked through lap traffic. "Paul was really good and when he got by me and opened up a big lead on us, I thought for sure we were in trouble. He had a problem there a few laps later and we just kind of ran our own race. You just never give up and keep working hard and the rewards will come."
Pittman regained the lead when McMahan crashed into the wall and was cruising along until a yellow on lap 31 became a red-flag stop. The Sherdon Motorsports crew got a chance to make some final adjustments for the nine lap dash to the third biggest sprint car payday of the season. Joe Gaerte, Glenno Inglis and Bingo Jenkins found a slow leak in the right rear tire and had to perform and last minute "fix-a-flat" job. The patch would have to hold if the 24 year-old from Owasso, OK was going to win the race.
As "luck" would have it, the tire held until Pittman parked his #21 in victory lane. "I really tried not to think too much about it," said Pittman, of his right rear tire. "They said "the King" (Steve Kinser) was coming, so I just tired to make the best nine laps I could. I guess we were able to pull away at the end."
The victory, his second career win at Eldora after picking up last year's World of Outlaws "Night before the Big One" race, came just two weeks after Pittman missed qualifying for the King's Royal - the first time in six attempts. Both Pittman and the Sherdon Motorsports crew continued to work hard and since have won two Outlaw "A" features, earned five top five's, and now the Big One victory in the last nine races.
"This is the time of the year to be at your best," continued the 2001 WoO Gumout Champion and reigning World Series Sprintcar champ. "Everybody that we work with has stuck with us and been great to us from Joe and the guys at Gaerte to Mopar to J&J, Sander, Hoosier Tires, HRP, Red Line Oil, and XYZ Machining. My car owners (Donnie and Sherie Woodburn) let us come out here and race and this is what it's all about."
Pittman's winning mount was a J&J Auto Racing car, which has won the last two Big One's, with a Gaerte-built Mopar motor. Pittman matched Mark Kinser's feat of winning a $100,000 prize utilizing a Mopar Performance Racing Engine. Mark did it twice at the Knoxville Nationals, and now Pittman will try to become fourth driver to win both the Big One and Knoxville Nationals on consecutive weekends. The last driver to do it was the Buckeye Bullet Dave Blaney in 1997 and he was also using J&J Auto Racing sprint cars. "If you look at the past winners of the Historical Big One, you'll see that they had pretty good success at the Knoxville Nationals," said Pittman, who will arrive in Knoxville (IA) on Sunday.
"We've got this one under our belts now and the focus goes towards trying to win $50,000 on Monday (at the Front Row Challenge) and then we'll hit the track for qualifying for the Nationals on Thursday night."
40-lap Historical Big One Results 1)Daryn Pittman 2)Stevie Smith 3)Steve Kinser 4)Randy Hannagain 5)Jason Meyers 6)Chad Kemenah 7)Sammy Swindell 8)Tim Shaffer 9)Ryan Coniam 10)Butch Schroeder 11)Donny Schatz 12)Tyler Walker 13)Dale Blaney 14)Jim Nier 15)Jac Haudenschild 16)Brian Paulus 17)Todd Kane 18)Bill Rose 19)Paul McMahan 20)Joey Saldana 21)Greg Hodnett 22)Jimmy Stinson 23)Kasey Kahne 24)Jonathan Allard
Lap leaders: Daryn Pittman 1-11, Paul McMahan 12-14, Daryn Pittman 15-40