Last updated: May 03. 2014 12:49AM - 671 Views

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ROSSBURG — Shane Stewart (Bixby, Oklahoma) put all uncertainty behind him Friday night at Eldora Speedway and transferred it to certainty with a convincing $10,000 World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series victory as the Larson/Marks Racing Team made its debut against the nation’s premier travelling Sprint Car series.

In the companion action, Paul Pardo became the third different winner of the young season in the Eldora Stock car finale.

Six months ago Stewart was unsure of his future in Sprint Car racing. About the same time, the hottest commodity in open wheeled racing, 21-year-old Kyle Larson, was making the move to NASCAR Sprint Cup racing to challenge for Rookie of the Year honors. Not wanting to give up his roots, Larson teamed up with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Justin Marks to field a Sprint Car and hired Stewart to be their driver.

“This is surreal,” Stewart said as he fought back tears in Eldora’s victory lane. “The last couple of years have been a roller coaster ride. It was a big, tough decision to come here and race with this team, but it is nice to have someone, like Kyle, to believe in you.”

After Friday’s convincing run, there are plenty of other people believing not only in Stewart but what the future holds for the Larson/Marks team.

When the green flag unfurled on the 24-car, 30-lap WoO feature event, third-generation driver Kraig Kinser shot into the lead from his pole position, but that role was short-lived as Stewart won the drag race down the back chute to lead lap No. 1.

Each of the successive laps showed Stewart’s No. 2 in the lead, as he set a blistering pace in a race that went 17 laps before a spin by David Gravel on the front stretch brought up the event’s sole caution flag.

Just prior to the yellow-flag slowdown Dale Blaney was reeling in Stewart, as the duo waltzed their way through lapped traffic. Current WoO point leader Joey Saldana also had built up momentum as the chilled crowd sensed a battle in the making.

With the double-file restart system incorporated by the WoO series, Stewart chose the preferred outside groove for his start, to put Blaney on the inside and Saldana right behind him. As the green flag reappeared Stewart again assumed command, but Saldana followed right behind as Blaney dropped to third.

Saldana inched close to Stewart but when lapped traffic again came into play, Stewart’s confidence in the new ride allowed him to dart in and out between lapped traffic to distance himself from Saldana, who found himself in a new battle for runner-up honors with Paul McMahan turning up the wick. And soon there was the quick qualifier over the 35-car field, Kerry Madsen, as Blaney slowed from the pace.

In the closing laps, Stewart threaded the needle between the lapped machines of Brent Marks, Trey Starks and Travis Philo to open a gap that Saldana could never close.

“”I thought I had something for him but he got through the lapped cars a lot better than I did,” Saldana said. “It’s great to see Shane back out here. We got beat by a great team and a great driver. I wish we could have won, but I am happy for him. He deserves it.”

McMahan, Madsen and Blaney completed the top five in the high-speed chase.

Mechanical misfortunes had sidelined Pardo in each of the previous two events this season. However, this time he overpowered the gremlins to record a hard-fought victory over the season’s previous feature winners Jeff Koz and Chris Douglas. The trio thrilled the crowd with their side-by-side racing that was joined by Tony Anderson in the late stages. Earnie Woodard had been running among the top three until the closing laps found him falling from the pace to a fifth place finish.

The WoO weekend doubleheader continues Saturday evening for another complete race meet and a chance for Stewart to prove that his win was no fluke. Joining the two-division program will be the UMP DIRTcar Modifieds.

Event details and ticket information for Saturday night, or any of Eldora’s other events, can be found on the track’s website, www.EldoraSpeedway.com, or can be obtained by calling the speedway office at 937-338-3815 during normal business hours.

Additionally, race fans and race teams can get behind-the-scenes access by following @EldoraSpeedway on Twitter, hitting “Like” at Facebook.com/EldoraSpeedway and view video highlights at YouTube.com/EldoraSpeedwayInc. Mobile device users can access the Eldora Speedway app for the iPhone, iPad and Android, which is available for download via iTunes and Google Play.

World of Outlaw Sprints

HEAT 1 - 1. 2-Shane Stewart [2]; 2. 29-Kerry Madsen [4]; 3. 4-Cody Darrah [1]; 4. 11N-Randy Hannagan [3]; 5. 15-Donny Schatz [5]; 6. 53-Chris Bell [8]; 7. 71MX-Paul May [7]; 8. 21-Dallas Hewitt [9]; 9. 1-Sammy Swindell [DNS]

HEAT 2 - 1. 14K-Dale Blaney [2]; 2. 83-David Gravel [3]; 3. 51-Paul McMahan [4]; 4. 9-Daryn Pittman [5]; 5. 55-Trey Starks [6]; 6. 5T-Travis Philo [7]; 7. W20-Greg Wilson [8]; 8. 35-Ron Blair [9]; 9. 40-Caleb Helms [DNF]

HEAT 3 - 1. 11K-Kraig Kinser [1]; 2. 24H-Brandon Wimmer [2]; 3. 10H-Danny Holtgraver [3]; 4. 71-Joey Saldana [4]; 5. 7S-Jason Sides [5]; 6. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [6]; 7. 80-Trey Gustin [7]; 8. 1A-Jacob Allen [8]; 9. 1S-Logan Schuchart [DNS]

HEAT 4 - 1. 63-Chad Kemenah [1]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [2]; 3. 11-Steve Kinser [3]; 4. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [4]; 5. 9W-Jac Haudenschild [6]; 6. 77X-Wayne Johnson [7]; 7. 19M-Brent Marks [5]; 8. 28-Brian Paulus [DNF]

DASH - 1. 11K-Kraig Kinser [2]; 2. 2-Shane Stewart [4]; 3. 71-Joey Saldana [6]; 4. 14K-Dale Blaney [3]; 5. 29-Kerry Madsen [8]; 6. 51-Paul McMahan [7]; 7. 63-Chad Kemenah [1]; 8. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [5]

B-FEATURE - 1. 1-Sammy Swindell [3]; 2. 5T-Travis Philo [6]; 3. 80-Trey Gustin [7]; 4. 53-Chris Bell [9]; 5. 19M-Brent Marks [2]; 6. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [4]; 7. W20-Greg Wilson [10]; 8. 28-Brian Paulus [12]; 9. 77X-Wayne Johnson [8]; 10. 35-Ron Blair [14]; 11. 21-Dallas Hewitt [DNF]; 12. 40-Caleb Helms [DNS]; 13. 71MX-Paul May [DNS]; 14. 1A-Jacob Allen [DNS]; 15. 1S-Logan Schuchart [DNS]

A FEATURE - 1. 2-Shane Stewart [2]; 2. 71-Joey Saldana [3]; 3. 51-Paul McMahan [6]; 4. 29-Kerry Madsen [5]; 5. 14K-Dale Blaney [4]; 6. 11-Steve Kinser [12]; 7. 11K-Kraig Kinser [1]; 8. 15-Donny Schatz [16]; 9. 49-Brad Sweet [14]; 10. 9W-Jac Haudenschild [21]; 11. 9-Daryn Pittman [17]; 12. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [8]; 13. 4-Cody Darrah [15]; 14. 10H-Danny Holtgraver [11]; 15. 11N-Randy Hannagan [9]; 16. 63-Chad Kemenah [7]; 17. 1-Sammy Swindell [19]; 18. 7S-Jason Sides [18]; 19. 5T-Travis Philo [22]; 20. 24H-Brandon Wimmer [13]; 21. 53-Chris Bell [23]; 22. 19M-Brent Marks [24]; 23. 55-Trey Starks [20]; 24. 83-David Gravel [DNF]


HEAT 1 - 1. 16-Jeff Koz [4]; 2. 82-Chris Douglas [1]; 3. 01-Earnie Woodard [3]; 4. 501-Emily Gade [5]; 5. 55A-Brandon Archey [6]; 6. 19-Wayne Williams [7]; 7. 51M-Ben Myers [8]; 8. 36-Adam Schaeff [DNF]

HEAT 2 - 1. 410-Paul Pardo [1]; 2. 22T-Tony Anderson [4]; 3. 25-Nick Bowers [3]; 4. 00-Dean Pitts [7]; 5. 99-Andy King [2]; 6. 7-Jordan Conover [5]; 7. 27-Frank Paladino [8]; 8. 7D-Dan Wooten [DNF]

HEAT 3 - 1. 49-Eric Sandlin [1]; 2. 71C-Barney Craig [2]; 3. 20P-Robbie Phlipot [5]; 4. 1B-Kenny Brady Jr. [3]; 5. 58-Alex Peace [DNF]; 6. 61-Rob Trent [DNF]; 7. 1W-Mark Wooten [DNS]

A FEATURE - 1. 410-Paul Pardo [2]; 2. 16-Jeff Koz [3]; 3. 82-Chris Douglas [4]; 4. 22T-Tony Anderson [5]; 5. 01-Earnie Woodard [7]; 6. 00-Dean Pitts [11]; 7. 25-Nick Bowers [8]; 8. 7-Jordan Conover [17]; 9. 501-Emily Gade [10]; 10. 27-Frank Paladino [20]; 11. 71C-Barney Craig [6]; 12. 19-Wayne Williams [16]; 13. 99-Andy King [14]; 14. 36-Adam Schaeff [22]; 15. 49-Eric Sandlin [1]; 16. 51M-Ben Myers [19]; 17. 7D-Dan Wooten [DNF]; 18. 1B-Kenny Brady Jr. [DNF]; 19. 58-Alex Peace [DNF]; 20. 20P-Robbie Phlipot [DNF]; 21. 55A-Brandon Archey [DNS]; 22. 61-Rob Trent [DNS]; 23. 1W-Mark Wooten [DNS]

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