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Outlaws: Paul McMahan finishes fast after slow start

- Correspondent
Saturday, May. 25, 2013

A bold move on a muddy track against the winningest driver in World of Outlaws Sprint Cars this season gave Paul McMahan a victory Friday night at the Sprint Car Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.

McMahan, of Nashville, Tenn., took the lead from Daryn Pittman halfway through the 30-lap feature and held on for the checkered flag for his second victory of the 2013 season.

McMahan went low in Turn 2 of the 16th lap to pass Pittman, who had won a circuit-best five races going into the weekend. He held the lead through lapped traffic ahead of Pittman and Kyle Larson, who finished third.

“It’s a good way to go home,” McMahan said. “My team had got on me for not winning races, so it feels good to finish in front.”

It was a fast finish to a slow-starting race.

Joey Saldana of Brownsburg, Ind., last year’s winner in the Sprint Car Showdown here, spun out at the completion of the first lap, and another caution followed soon after when Jason Leffler clipped the wall in Turn 4 before the end of the second lap.

But once things got going, Pittman, a 34-year-old Oklahoman, maintained the lead while NASCAR driver Tony Stewart and McMahan moved up from their third row starting positions to take second and third respectively through the first 10 laps.

“Can’t help but think we gave that one away,” Pittman said. “We ran pretty good for most of the race and we’ll just have to try again next time.”

Pittman, competing for Kasey Kahne Racing, earned his first pole position of the season by winning the Sprint Car Dash preliminary race.

In the NDRA Crate Late Models 25-lap feature race, Ryan Atkins of Mount Airy grabbed an early lead from the first row. By the 10th lap, he was weaving his way through lapped traffic on the muddy 0.4-mile oval, trailed closely by Circle K Racing teammate Matt Long of Concord and Dennis “Rambo” Franklin of Gaffney, S.C. But he was able to hold off both challenges in the final laps for his sixth NDRA win.

“Got worried at the end and started blocking a little bit,” Atkins said. “If he (Long) hadn’t had Circle K on his car it might have got a little interesting. It was good to win here.”

NOTES: Competing for only the second time at The Dirt Track, Logan Schuchart, a 20-year-old Pennsylvanian in his second season of sprint car racing, ran the fastest qualifying lap of 15.521 seconds and started in the second row. Tony Stewart ran the second-fastest qualifying lap of 15.643 seconds…. World of Outlaws racing will return to The Dirt Track Nov. 7-9 as both Sprint Cars and Late Models run in the World Finals.