The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Models and Super DIRTcar Series kicked off the Can-am World Finals at the Dirt Track at Charlotte on Thursday night with qualifying for the Sprint Cars and Late Models, and heat races for the Big Block Modifieds.
The track was wide and tacky, which made for a fast race track as sprint cars were laying down laps under the 13-second mark and the track record was broken in the Super Late Model division.
Mike Mahaney started the weekend off on a high note by scoring a heat race win for Friday’s portion of racing action. Then Mahaney doubled up and picked up another heat race win for the finale on Saturday. The luck of the redraw will determine Mahaney’s starting position for both Friday and Saturday, but he is sure to be a contender in both features.
“Coming into this weekend, we were prepared,” Mahaney said. “We really did our homework last year, so we brought back just as good of a car, if not better. We had great starts in the first heat and were able to lead a few laps and win that one. Then we turn around and win our second heat race by a pretty decent margin. Hopefully we will have a good redraw position. We’re going to need a little luck on our side.”
Just Call Him 10-Time
Donny Schatz is now a 10-time World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion. All Schatz had to do was attempt to make a qualifying lap on Thursday night and the 2018 championship was his. That's exactly what Schatz did as he went eighth-fastest in Friday qualifying and fourth overall in Saturday qualifying.
The 10th championship for Schatz is his fifth straight World of Outlaws title. Schatz has 21 wins in 2018 with two races left on the calendar on Friday and Saturday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Schatz tweeted on Thursday night that it's an "unbelievable feeling to be able to say that I'm a 10-time World of Outlaws champion."
Unbelievable feeling to be able to say I’m a 10–Time @WorldofOutlaws Champion. This never gets old and we never take it for granted. Can’t thank everyone who’s helped us get here enough. #Honored pic.twitter.com/lgHG3sSWV5
— Donny Schatz (@DonnySchatz) November 1, 2018
Championship Contender Encounters Issues
On the other hand, Erick Rudolph did not start of the weekend on a positive note and his championship hopes have taken a hit. In his heat race, Rudolph lost power to his No. 25 big block modified and was quickly pushed back to the pits.
The team’s plan is to go to a back-up car for the remainder of the weekend.
“Something blew loose in the engine compartment,” Rudolph said. “We will have to go to a backup car, I guess, for the rest of the weekend.”
New Track Record Holder
Mike Marlar set a blistering pace for Saturday’s portion of qualifying. Not only did he set quick time, but he also set a new track record at The Dirt Track at Charlotte with a 14.536-second lap. Marlar will line-up on the front row for both of his heat races for
Friday and Saturday.
“The track was definitely fast and smooth, so you could get a good lap if your car was right and fortunately ours was really good there,” Marlar said. “We were able to hold it wide open all the way around the track and laid down a pretty good lap.”
“There’s some tough competition out there,” he added. “Some of the best of the best came here for this race, so the heat races and features are going to be stacked. We’ve got a front row starting spot for both of our heat races, so hopefully we can get a heat race win and start up front for the feature.”
‘The Law Firm’ Laying Down the Law
‘The Law Firm,’ Parker Price-Miller was a man on a mission in qualifying on Thursday. Price-Miller, coming out of the three-car Indy Race Parts camp this weekend, set quick time in both of his flights of qualifying and quickest overall for Friday’s portion of racing. He will start on the pole of both of his heat races on Friday and Saturday.
“It’s a good start to the weekend,” Price-Miller said. “This race requires such a good qualifying lap. It’s a fast race track and there’s a lot of good race cars here, so you will definitely want to start up front. A good qualifying effort like what we had makes my job a lot easier. We’re on the pole for both heat races and we just have to stay up front.”
-By Madison Mabry, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @MadisonMabry23
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com