Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – BARBERVILLE, FL – He wasn’t the dominant car in the feature, and was the second driver from the Keystone State to cross the finish line, but Danny Dietrich nearly had a perfect night in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series finale of the DIRTcar Nationals.
Dietrich was the fastest in time trials to open the night and proceeded to drive away with his heat race win. He then finished third in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash to line up third for the 30-lap A-Main.
Once there, it looked like he would come away with a top five finish, but then, the Gettysburg, PA pilot began to work his way towards the podium. Then, with just two laps remaining, the driver who looked to have the feature in the bag, Donny Schatz, slowed with an ignition box problem.
That put the 48 on the back tail tank of new leader Logan Schuchart. Could Dietrich get past the Shark Racing driver? The answer was no as he had to settle for the runner-up spot at the finish. However, Danny was quite okay with that.
“We just made huge gains all week here,” Dietrich said. “I’m just proud of my guys and, this just shows, you come down here (to Florida), you get focused.”
Focused indeed was the Gary Kauffman team who finished their trip with three consecutive top 10 runs. It’s been a great progression for this group who hasn’t been in a B-main in Florida in two years.
“This just shows that Jake (his crewman) and I communicate really well,” he said. “This was a win to us. To run second and be able to race with Logan and Brad (Sweet) and Donny (Schatz), it makes us really pleased as we head home.”
Compared to the way the track was during time trials, Dietrich had an idea on what conditions were going to be during the feature event. However, with track crews reworking the surface before the main began, the track still threw a bit of a curve ball at him.
“We knew it was going to get slicker,” he said. “We didn’t know how wet it was going to be right out of the gate so we kind of went in between.”
Was this the right set up?
“We tried something the other night and it didn’t work at all,” he said. “So we just went back to what we had been doing because that had seemed to be working really well.”
How important was track position at Volusia Speedway Park Sunday night?
“We just realized we had to get ourselves in position,” he said. “We learned tonight that if we put ourselves in a good position, I think we have a chance. Tonight, Logan was just extremely good and so is done when they both get out front.”
Did he think he had a shot at the winner on the final restart with two laps to go?
“I tried to give it a shot there on the last restart,” he said. “However, with his clean air and having to drive through the slick, it wasn’t the place to be. Maybe next year we can get a gator.”
With Florida Speedweeks over for Dietrich and company, their schedule now shifts to PA Posse territory with their next scheduled race being February 20th at the Lincoln Speedway for the annual lid-lifter, the Icebreaker 30. However, with an open weekend coming up February 12-14 for the team, you never know if, or where, they might show up.