BEAVER DAM REPORT: June 27, 2015
By NICHOLAS DETTMANN
BEAVER DAM, Wis. - Greenfield's Dan Mech added to what it's been an ultra competitive season in the legend division in 2015.
Mech won his first career feature Saturday night, passing Kim Clover on the last lap of the 20-lap "A" main to pick up the victory.
For Mech, he was the 11th different winner this season in 12 races with the Wisconsin Dirt Legends. The only repeat winner this season is DJ Ross. Mech was also the seventh first-time winner of the season. "It means a lot," Mech said.
Clover, who led 19 of the 20 laps, was second, followed by Chris Hoedel, Johnny Kringas and Chris Flick.
There hasn't been a repeat winner in the legend division at Beaver Dam this season.
Mech's victory also came on the track's biggest night: World of Outlaw Sprint Car Series night.
That race was won by six-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz, who passed Daryn Pittman with seven laps to go to win his 17th feature of the season, his sixth in the month of June. It was also the first time Schatz had won at Beaver Dam since 2002, a span of 16 races at the one-third mile clay oval.
"It feels good to get a win here," Schatz said. "It's pretty awesome to win the Jim Boyd Memorial and put my name on that trophy. I'm pretty honored to have that situation here tonight."
Nick Daywalt won the other support race's "A" main, winning the mini-sprints 20-lap feature. Almost like in the legend feature, Daywalt passed for the lead with two laps to go.
"To get the win is good, especially since we felt like one eluded us the last time we raced at I-96 (on June 24 in Lake Odessa, Michigan)," Schatz said. "This team is working awfully hard and doing the things that are necessary to get us in that spot."
Pittman finished second, followed by Joey Saldana, the last repeat winner of the Jim Boyd Memorial (2010 and 2011), Shane Stewart and Paul McMahan.
"I knew when he was leaving the bottom open in (turns) 1 and 2 that if I could hit it right, maybe I could make a run," Pittman said. "I just could never get close enough to pull the trigger because I knew I had to be on the top in (turns) 3 and 4.
"I tried running the bottom with two (laps) to go and I lost what I had gained."
Saldana was the event's fast qualifier, his series-leading eighth fast time of the season, with a best-lap time of 11.611 seconds (103.247 mph). Stewart was second quickest with a time of 11.821 seconds.
Schatz was seventh quickest, but started 10th after the preliminary races.
"Tenth is generally a long ways back to be coming for 40 laps," Schatz said. "We made some decent moves, got by some good cars early and kept a good pace; hit traffic right too.
"I was pretty confident they could get me close, race for the win. I was hoping we would get the win, which we did. But you can never be too confident."
Kerry Madsen and Stewart started on the front row for the feature, and Stewart led the first 11 laps of the race. Madsen then led the next 16 before Pittman took the lead.
As it usually is in a World of Outlaw sprint car race, traffic was an issue.
With seven laps to go, Pittman got caught in traffic with cars battling for position and Schatz took advantage.
"Lapped cars is a part of it," Pittman said. "You win and lose these races by lapped cars."
Getting through traffic was something Schatz had to do in order to win the race. He started behind some of the night's fastest cars, including Saldana, Pittman, Stewart and Madsen.
"I'm not trying to race against that," Schatz said. "I'm trying to make sure I do the right things that I need to do."
Schatz had been close to breaking his slump at Beaver Dam.
He's finished in the top-10 in six of the last seven years, including second in 2012, fourth in 2013 and third in 2014.
Pittman, Madsen and Logan Schuchart won the World of Outlaw heat races. Madsen also won the series' eight-lap dash, and Kraig Kinser won the 12-lap last-chance race.
Mike Mueller, Ryan Mech and Chris Flick won the legend heat races, while Andy Baugh, John Kirk and Tim Brannam won the mini-sprint heat races.
Frankie Hoch won a thrilling legend "B" main, edging Cody Apfelbeck at the line.
The first "A" main of the program was the mini-sprints.
Ion Stear and Daywalt started on the front row, and Stear moved into the point.
At the halfway point, Stear paced the field, with Daywalt, Kyle Daywalt, Brannam and Baugh in tow.
With two laps to go and Nick Daywalt closing, Stear got loose in Turn 2, which allowed Daywalt to charge at Stear and make the pass for the lead.
He held on for the victory.
The top-five were Daywalt, Stear, Kyle Daywalt, Baugh and Brannam.
Nick Daywalt is in his fifth season of racing the mini-sprints, which run primarily at Wilmot. It was his second feature victory of the season.
Dan Mech and Craig Peekenschneider started on the front row for the legend "A" main.
Clover quickly surged into the lead and looked like she was going to cruise to her first victory of the season. She opened up about a three-second lead with five laps to go.
Suddenly, the gap got smaller and smaller with each lap. And when Clover got on the backstraight, Dan Mech closed in on Clover. In Turn 3, Dan Mech got around Clover and held her off for the victory.
It is Dan Mech's first full season of running legends. He raced sportsman and modifieds for 20 years at Hales Corners. Before racing a couple races last season, he hadn't raced in 10 years.
"It means a lot," he said about winning his first career feature, adding he wished his son, Ryan, would've won first.
But, Ryan Mech won his heat race, so that was OK.
Next week, the five-division program returns.