Chesson Wins First Outlaws Feature as 'Dude' Blows Tire By Richard Day WEST FARGO, ND (July 5) - P.J. Chesson was never so happy to see a flat tire as he was Friday at Red River Valley Speedway with 1 1/3 laps remaining in the Duel in the Dakotas Second Preliminary Feature. Danny Lasoski was racing through turn three on his way to the white flag when the right rear tire on the #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle lost air pressure, sending him into the retaining wall. Chesson led the field to the green flag as the race resumed and held off Steve Kinser by four car-lengths to claim the first victory of his Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series career. Chesson steered his family's #76 Automotive Service Centers Eagle into a series of 360-degree spins in victory lane, then climbed the front-straightaway fence to a standing ovation from the capacity crowd a la two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves. The action was taped by Speed Channel and will be aired July 18th, starting at 11 p.m. Eastern Time.
"This feels so awesome!" Chesson yelled to the crowd. "I didn't know what to think when he (Lasoski) had problems there in turn three. I just know the steering wheel felt really tight after that, and I'm surprised I could even turn the car the last two laps. I don't know if this takes any pressure off. Guys like Steve, Danny and Donny (Schatz) are so good night in and night out. It just feels really great to get that first win. We'll just have to keep going for it every night and see if we can do this again."
Chesson, who started behind fast qualifier and pole-sitter Joey Saldana, passed Thursday's Preliminary Feature winner deep in the second corner early in the opening lap and immediately started chasing Lasoski. Schatz, who lives in Fargo, ND, drove his #15 Parker Stores/Subway J&J past 10 cars, including defending Duel in the Dakotas champion Craig Dollansky, First Heat Race winner Tim Shaffer and Saldana, during the first three laps to take over fourth place. Lasoski was 20 car-lengths ahead of Chesson when the leaders entered lapped traffic seven laps into the 30-lap race. Chesson narrowed the gap to four car-lengths within 8 ½ laps, however. Chesson caught "The Dude" early in the 22nd lap, but was unable to surge ahead.
A mechanical malfunction Guy Forbrook's #5 Maxim forced Jac Haudenschild to stop in the second corner two laps later, bringing out the caution flag and tightening the field. Lasoski controlled the ensuing restart and appeared to be on his way to his fourth Preliminary Feature victory of the season when his right rear tire exploded late in lap 28. Third Heat Race winner Sammy Swindell joined "The Dude" in the pits to replace a flat tire as Chesson restarted in first place. Kinser, who has won seven Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series "A" Features at Red River Valley Speedway, steered his #11 Quaker State Maxim into the low groove in turn one early in the 29th lap, but was unable to pass Chesson for the lead. Schatz finished in third place, ahead of Saldana, Shaffer, Dollansky, Daryn Pittman, Mark Kinser, Fourth Heat Race winner Randy Hannagan and Shane Stewart.
Stevie Smith drove David Helm's #11H Vivarin Maxim past eight cars to finish 13th. Brad Furr persevered through a forgettable evening as mechanical problems plagued his #2 Sanmina/SCI Eagle. A broken part caused him to hit the turn-three wall early in the first hot-lap session. Furr drove his backup car into fifth place in both the Fourth Heat Race and the Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash, only to have disaster strike again. Furr lost his 10th row outside starting position as the green flag fell in the Preliminary Feature, colliding with Jason Sides and breaking his front axle. Craig Keel crashed into the outside retaining wall as the green flag fell in the Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash.
Unable to restart the five-lap race, Keel was credited with eighth place and started outside the eighth row in the feature. Schatz was running third in the Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash when, for the second straight night, the rear end in his #15 broke. Saldana set quick time for the ninth time this season, circling the high-banked, ½-mile oval in 15.747 seconds, an average speed of 114.307 M.P.H. WoO
2002 Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Fifth Annual Duel in the Dakotas Red River Valley Speedway, West Fargo, ND Friday, July 5, Second Preliminary Program
Qualifications: 1. Joey Saldana, Saldana 17, 15.747; 2. Danny Wood, Parsons 6, 15.903; 3. Daryn Pittman, Sher-Don Motorsports 21, 15.919; 4. Craig Dollansky, Karavan Racing 7, 15.937; 5. Donny Schatz, Schatz 15, 15.942; 6. P.J. Chesson, Chesson 76, 16.012; 7. Danny Lasoski, Stewart 20, 16.025; 8. Jason Sides, Hunting Catalog 7S, 16.095; 9. Tim Shaffer, Roth 83, 16.101; 10. Tyler Walker, C&W Motorsports 35, 16.107; 11. Steve Kinser, Kinser 11, 16.139; 12. Randy Hannagan, TH Racing 1x, 16.225; 13. Brad Furr, Furr 2, 16.238; 14. Sammy Swindell, Roth 83jr, 16.251; 15. Mark Kinser, Kinser 5M, 16.271; 16. Shane Stewart, Holbrook 8H, 16.282; 17. Brian Paulus, P and P Motorsports 28, 16.391; 18. Craig Keel, Potorff 9, 16.649; 19. Johnny Herrera, Wilburn 2W, 16.681; 20. Jac Haudenschild, Forbrook 5, 16.684; 21. Stevie Smith, Helm 11H, 16.770; 22. Chad Meyer, Julius 1W, 16.815; 23. Wayne Johnson, Threatt 29, 16.880; 24. Jeremy Campbell, Campbell 10C, 16.889; 25. Roger Rager, Donahue 6R, 16.906; 26. Bob Bennett, Acme 3, 16.957; 27. Toni Lutar, Lutar 4x, 17.145; 28. Wade Nygaard, Slocum 9x, 17.267; 29. Chuck Swenson, Swenson X, 17.614; 30. Brian Carlson, Carlson 18, 17.693; 31. Doug Martens, Martens 51, 18.365; 32. John Bridgeford, Bridgeford 8, 18.750; 33. Chris Shirek, Shirek 1K, no time.
First Heat Race (eight laps): 1. Tim Shaffer, 2. Shane Stewart, 3. Joey Saldana, 4. Jeremy Campbell, 5. Jason Sides, 6. Brian Paulus, 7. Roger Rager, 8. Chuck Swenson. (first five qualified for the Preliminary Feature)
Second Heat Race (eight laps): 1. Mark Kinser, 2. Tyler Walker, 3. Danny Lasoski, 4. Wayne Johnson, 5. Craig Keel, 6. Danny Wood, 7. Bob Bennett, 8. Brian Carlson. (first five qualified for the Preliminary Feature)
Third Heat Race (eight laps): 1. Sammy Swindell, 2. Johnny Herrera, 3. Steve Kinser, 4. Daryn Pittman, 5. P.J. Chesson, 6. Chad Meyer, 7. Toni Lutar, 8. Doug Martens. (first five qualified for the Preliminary Feature) Fourth Heat Race (eight laps): 1. Randy Hannagan, 2. Craig Dollansky, 3. Donny Schatz, 4. Stevie Smith, 5. Brad Furr, 6. Jac Haudenschild, 7. Wade Nygaard, 8. John Bridgeford. (first five qualified for the Preliminary Feature)
First O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash (five laps): 1. Joey Saldana, 2. P.J. Chesson, 3. Craig Dollansky, 4. Tyler Walker, 5. Jason Sides, 6. Randy Hannagan, 7. Shane Stewart, 8. Sammy Swindell. (finish determined the inside positions in the first eight rows in the Preliminary Feature)
Second O'Reilly Auto Parts Dash (five laps): 1. Danny Lasoski, 2. Tim Shaffer, 3. Daryn Pittman, 4. Steve Kinser, 5. Brad Furr, 6. Mark Kinser, 7. Donny Schatz, 8. Craig Keel. (finish determined the outside positions in the first eight rows in the Preliminary Feature)
B Feature (12 laps): 1. Danny Wood, 2. Brian Paulus, 3. Jac Haudenschild, 4. Chad Meyer, 5. Toni Lutar ($150); 6. Wade Nygaard ($125); 7. Bob Bennett ($100); 8. Brian Carlson ($75); 9. John Bridgeford ($60); 10. Doug Martens ($50). (first four qualified for the Preliminary Feature)
Preliminary Feature (30 laps): 1. P.J. Chesson  ($5,000); 2. Steve Kinser  ($3,000); 3. Donny Schatz  ($2,500); 4. Joey Saldana  ($2,200); 5. Tim Shaffer  ($2,100); 6. Craig Dollansky  ($2,000); 7. Daryn Pittman  ($1,800); 8. Mark Kinser  ($1,600); 9. Randy Hannagan  ($1,500); 10. Shane Stewart  ($1,300); 11. Tyler Walker  ($1,200); 12. Wayne Johnson  ($1,100); 13. Stevie Smith  ($1,000); 14. Danny Wood  ($720); 15. Danny Lasoski  ($600); 16. Johnny Herrera  ($600); 17. Sammy Swindell  ($600); 18. Jeremy Campbell  ($600); 19. Chad Meyer  ($620); 20. Jac Haudenschild  ($620); 21. Jason Sides  ($500); 22. Brian Paulus  ($520); 23. Brad Furr  ($500); 24. Craig Keel  ($500).
Lap leaders: Danny Lasoski 1-28, P.J. Chesson 29-30 WoO