The Winter Heat Series at Cocopah Speedway (AZ) continues to thrill as Danny Lasoski pulled off a last-lap pass on Dale Blaney to become the fourth winner in four nights of action at the Diamond in the Desert. Lasoski led one lap on Friday night, but it was the one that counted.
Lasoski had the commentators on the National Speed Sport News pay-per-view stream wondering if he was just waiting for the last lap or two before making his move. He ate up the gap fast on Blaney after moving into second-place on lap 16, but then couldn’t get any closer than five or six car lengths back until Blaney caught traffic.
“Believe me, I didn’t wait,” Lasoski said in victory lane on the NSSN broadcast. “(Blaney) was doing a great job in traffic like he always does. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Whenever I got within a car length of him I got real tight and I moved around and luck had it that a lapped car got in his way and we won the race. He got held up. He was going to win the race. I tried it every way I could.”
A win for “The Dude” should never come as a surprise, but perhaps this one can be ruled as such as he and his team at one point weren’t even sure they’d be at the race track let alone in victory lane.
“It’s an honor being here,” Lasoski said. “Five days ago we weren’t even sure if we were coming here. And to be able to bring our car, with the help of all these great guys beside me they made it happen, and this makes it worthwhile.”
Winter Heat Series points leader Paul McMahan started on the pole, but Blaney quickly jumped out to the lead and set sail. Blaney left McMahan in the dust and went on to lead 29 of the 30 laps in Friday night’s A-Main feature before catching the lapped traffic.
Blaney got stuck behind Logan Forler going into turn one, which allowed Lasoski to close in on the bottom. Blaney decided to go to the outside of Forler off turn two, and Lasoski went to the inside. They went three-wide for the lead down the backstretch with Forler in the middle before Lasoski took the lead going into turn three. Blaney gave it one last effort to try to get back by Lasoski off turn four, but Lasoski held on for the win.
“I was trying to be patient and it just cost me there at the end,” said Blaney on the NSSN broadcast. “I got in behind him and then I had to run around him. If I committed to the outside of his right rear the entire time I probably would have been fine, but live and learn.”
It was a bittersweet night of sorts for Blaney. He explained after the race that he’d been struggling most of the week coming into Friday. He finally ran well, which had him feeling good, but lost the race in the end.
“We haven’t really run as well as I would have hoped,” said Blaney. “We were kind of scratching our heads here. Tonight we had a good night, but I feel like I let all my guys down. All we needed was one more lap. I put myself in a bad situation getting into one and second it is.”
Meanwhile the points leader with one night remaining in the inaugural Winter Heat Series continues to be Paul McMahan after he scored a third-place finish. He said his car got too loose as the race went on, but he believes he and his crew can figure it out on Saturday to score the inaugural championship and start off 2015 as strong as possible.
“When I came down here I didn’t even know they had a points deal for this,” McMahan said on the NSSN broadcast. “This is an event that’s going to be huge one day. We go home Sunday hopefully with a big check and a big trophy.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor- Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Joe Orth Photo
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