Last Lap Win For Meyers

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After picking up a very lucrative victory last Saturday night on his way to the inaugural Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Jason Meyers could not wait to climb back in his car and hit the track this weekend. He continued what has been a very solid week on Friday night, edging Donny Schatz in a thrilling finish to capture his fifth World of Outlaws A-Feature win of the season, to take home the $10,000 top prize, and in the process, became the first A-Feature winner of the Outlaws World Finals.

Meyers dove under Schatz exiting the third turn on the final lap, after using a strong run off the second corner that helped ultimately propel him to the lead, with Schatz battling back on the high side of the track exiting in the fourth turn. Meyers won a drag race down the front straight away to take the checkered flag by 0.155 seconds, before a very large and enthusiastic crowd that witnessed the historic event that saw the World of Outlaws compete for the first time ever on the same track on the same night with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

“We had a great race car tonight,” said Meyers, driver of the Primerica Financial Maxim. “I can’t say enough about the guys that stand behind us every day and all of our sponsors.”

Meyers started on the pole, after winning the Crane Cams Dash, and led at the drop of the green flag, entering the first turn, with Schatz taking the lead exiting the second turn. Meyers inched ahead of Schatz a couple of times during the 30-lap event, but each time it was Schatz being officially scored as the leader at the line. Meyers led one lap on the night, but it was the most important one, the last one.

“To drive by the (No.) 15 car is saying something,” said Meyers, a native of Clovis, California. “He made a little mistake in traffic and that is how we got him. We had a good car the whole race and were there at the end. I can’t say enough about D.J. Lindsey and Brian Bloomfield, (crew members) they are awesome. They are the chemistry that makes this team go around. I can’t wait to call home and tell my wife that we won.”

Early in the race, a number of battles ensued, as Tim Shaffer worked on Steve Kinser for several laps as the pair battled for the third position. A restart on the third lap after a caution, gave Kinser a chance to make a run on Meyers for the second spot, with the latter maintaining the runner-up spot. Just two laps later the yellow flag flew again.

While trying to chase down Schatz, Meyers had to endure five yellow flags, as well as a red flag. He used strong restarts each time to keep pace with Schatz in open track.

“We’re trying things every day right now, trying to get ready for next year,” explained the winner. “We are learning every day and we also learn things not to do, to make us do better. The biggest thing here is that this is a horsepower track. If you put a Charlie Garrett (engine) in there, it will run awesome. We haven’t had any problems with them all year, knock on wood, we have one race more tomorrow night. I am just very proud of everyone that is behind this team and very blessed for everyone that is involved.”

One of the scariest incidents of the night took place on the 14th lap, with Paul McMahan taking a wild ride off the second turn, reaching the top of the catch fence, in the midst of a violent flip. Also involved in the incident was Kerry Madsen. Both drivers were able to walk away from the crash.

For Meyers, patience was one of the keys in the 30-lap contest. He withstood several strong restarts by Schatz to keep pace, waiting for the perfect opportunity to present itself to make a run at the lead.

“Donny (Schatz) had a great race car and we had a good race car,” noted Meyers. “You weren’t going to drive by each other. The track really doesn’t permit that when you have two good cars. I knew I had to be there at the end and hoped we would get to lapped traffic. It was timing. It was bad timing for Donny and good timing for me. We did what we had to do and it worked out in our favor tonight.”

Schatz was in front for the first 29 laps on Friday night and while in dense lapped traffic on the last lap, misjudged what a lapped car was going to do, giving Meyers the opening he needed to make the move for the win. He wound up second.

“We’re still here to win the race,” said Schatz, driver of the ParkerStore J&J. “We knew coming in that we were in good shape. I just made a mistake and I wasn’t rolling like I wanted to. It’s tough to give one away, but it happens. What’s over is over. We are in good shape for tomorrow and we’ll go into tomorrow and try to win that one.”

Tim Shaffer started sixth and finished third on Friday night. He got around Craig Dollansky on the opening lap, followed by a pass of Shane Stewart, who won earlier this season with the World of Outlaws at Grays Harbor Raceway. While running fourth, the native of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania battled 20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser, lap-after-lap.

“This is a tough place,” said Shaffer, driver of the Casey’s General Store Maxim. “To start sixth, that is a pretty good run. There for a time, I thought we may have a shot at winning that thing if we would have gotten in lapped traffic. Jason (Meyers) did a great job and he snuck up and got (Donny) Schatz at the end. It was a great show to watch. My hat is off to my guys, they did a great job and gave me a good car.”

Steve Kinser ran in the lead pack all night and finished fourth aboard the Q Oil Maxim. He battled Shaffer early in the race and had an epic battle with Shane Stewart for several laps late in the race.

Shane Stewart aboard the Wirtgen Maxim continued his stellar 2007 season with another strong run, finishing fifth on Friday night.

The rest of the Top-10 was: Fred Rahmer in the C&S Lawn & Landscape in sixth, with Craig Dollansky in the Karavan Trailers Maxim was seventh. Lucas Wolfe was eighth in the Rick’s Auto Body Maxim. Daryn Pittman was ninth driving the Titan Garages Maxim. Jac Haudenschild earned the KSE Race Products Hard Charger Award after starting 23rd and coming home 10th.

Schatz’s runner-up finish was his 70th Top-10 finish of the season in the 74 A-Feature events that have been contested, and was good enough to help him officially clinch his second consecutive World of Outlaws championship. While he clinched the championship, true to racer’s form, he lamented over what could have been.

“We’ll just try to look at the positives, and the championship is a positive,” he said.

Schatz was battling a severe headache in the car, and was pleased to see the yellow flag fly, giving him a chance to catch his breath and gather his thoughts. Early in the race he maintained a consistent four to six car length lead, with Meyers staying close and patiently waiting for an opportunity to make a move.

“Every time we had the cautions, it really helped me,” said the native of Fargo, North Dakota. “I don’t what was going on. I had a chunk of dirt stuck in the liner between my head and the helmet and it just irritated me. It played havoc with my eyes. It kind of felt like when your leg falls asleep, it was kind of odd. It was my mistake and that’s the way it goes. I still should have won the race. I misjudged the lapped car on the last lap. I thought he would go across the race track and he didn’t.”

While he was battling his headache, Schatz also had to contend with track conditions that were tough on several drivers and their cars.

“It was slick and you really had to pound the cushion,” said Schatz. “It peeled up and it was rough and kind of felt like it would tear the front ends off the car. It was tough on the equipment. The tires really wouldn’t hook up to anything and would just spin. That is different, you usually don’t see that. We could have been a little better, but what’s done is done.”

With his third-place finish, Shaffer moved back into the ninth position in the championship standings ahead of Jason Solwold.

“Sometimes when you think you need one, you don’t get it and it works back and forth,” said the 1999 World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. “We were ok. When the car is that good, the cautions don’t bother me. I had a fun time tonight and everyone did a good job.”

The second turn caused some trouble for several drivers, with four total cars over the course of the night getting upside, coming off the corner.

“I was good in (turns) one and two and struggled a little in (turns) three and four, so it was the opposite for me,” said Shaffer. “This is a tough place. It is demanding and you have to have a good car. If you don’t, there is not much you can do.”

The 2007 World of Outlaws season concludes on Saturday, November 3 with the finale of the inaugural Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The event will be televised live on SPEED from 8-11 p.m. Eastern.

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