January 7th, 2019
Outlaw Racing News
Williamson from Pole to Prosperity, Captures Season Opening Win
Talladega, AL - As ORS embarked on its third season after a short hiatus, the racing was as expected as the group thundered around Talladega Superspeedway Monday night. A ton of green flag racing, as well as, late race drama mixing in with the varying strategies, it would prove to be the right night for Daniel Williamson. The series veteran would go on to finally claim his first ORS win, and put the pressure on the field early in the championship hunt.
Williamsons' night even started off on the right foot, nabbing the pole to begin the night out front. However it would be for naught as an early caution would bring a chunk of competitors to pit road for early adjustments as a handful would stay out, handing the lead over to Jeff Peterson. Peterson, who started the night 7th, saw the advantage of being out front and took said advantage for nearly all of the opening stage. Leading from the restart to the green checkers, Peterson would stake his claim in the season opening stage win and the valuable points that come with it.
As the bottom line proved to be the prevailing line, a good restart could overcome the deficit with the right help. Something Kirk Kligerman would pounce on with the start of stage 2, as he and Ryan Lewis would use the high side to clear Peterson by the time the field came back to turn 3 on the opening lap from the restart. Even with multiple attempts to jump start a run around the outside, nothing ever truly came to fruition, as Kligerman would go on to lead all of stage two, and pick up his first stage win of the season.
Much like the stage before, the high side seemed to be the place to be on restarts with Peterson able to retake the lead coming back off the stage caution. Yet his time at the top would be brief, as a quick, and the races final caution, would halt the field just 2 laps into the stage. As some of the field would take the opportunity for a few extra laps of fuel. The lead would change hands after the restart, inserting Ryan Lewis into the leading role. Lewis would hold the lead until for the first time tonight, green flag pit stops would come into play. Whilst pitting under green conditions, contact between Lewis and Zach Gandee would force the pair into prolonged pit stops, and all but eliminate their chances at the victory. As the pit cycle worked its way through, the unlikely pair of Pacey Wigent and Aaron Dukes found a way to inherit the lead. As the laps wound down, the 2 truck duo would turn into 5 as Williamson, Matt Liptrap, and Sean Rice would run them down with 16 laps to go, choosing to ride behind the pair for several laps doing what they can to close the fuel deficit between the groups. With 12 to go, Williamson and group would move around the outside, of Wigent and Dukes to take the lead with one green flag pit stop remaining. It would be Williamsons' group ducking in first coming to 9 laps to go, as Wigent and Dukes would stick it out for several more laps before succumbing to fuel needs. The differing strategies would set Dukes up to take the lead for the first time tonight, as trouble hit Wigent before pit stops setting him several seconds back. Garnering a 3 to 1 advantage, Williamson with Liptrap and Rice in tow, easily closed the gap, and overtook the lonely 16 Toyota. With Dukes unable to provide any substantial help to the tailing drivers as he would begin sputtering on fuel coming onto the front stretch, Williamson would go on to lead the final 4 laps, and secure his first ORS truck series win in his third season. Matt Liptrap would take home the runner up spot, with Sean Rice in tow for third. Dukes would survive his fuel troubles to finish 4th, as Wigent would do the same to salvage a Top 5. Moving away from the superspeedways, Las Vegas lies in wait as we wait to see who will win it big in the diamond in the desert.
Outlaw Racing News
Mid Point Season Update:
Ontario, Canada - Once again, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park marks the beginning of the second half of the schedule of ORS' third season. Over the course of the first seven weeks, the competitive nature of the league has been at an all time high, with more and more drivers in contention week in and week out. The third season of ORS racing has shown to be its closest thus far. Only 6 races remain as we recap the first half of the year.
Starting off the season was Daniel Williamson, pulling out his first ORS win in the season opener at Talladega. As new drivers to the league, such as Kirk Kligerman, Sean Rice and Jeff Peterson flexed their muscle early with Kligerman and Peterson snagging stage wins in the opener and Rice notching his first ORS podium. Then it was off to the Diamond in the Desert, where Zach Gandee made his championship ambitions known with a dominating performance in Vegas. Gandees' efforts were paid in full, rebounding from a troublesome Talladega performance to snag the points lead by a mere 2 points over Williamson as the season shifted to Thunder Valley and the Bristol Motor Speedway. It was here, Aaron Dukes made his presence known, dominating much of the race until a late pit strategy went awry, opening the door for both Gandee and Pacey Wigent to stake their claim for fame. However Gandee faded down the stretch, leaving Wigent all by himself at the top and able to put together a winning run for our third different winner of the season. Dukes would rebound to finish the night third, that combined with 2 more stage wins, propelled Dukes atop the season standings by only a single point.
The lead that would only grow, as Dukes would shock the field at Gateway with a dominating performance, sweeping the stages and the win to raise his points lead to eleven points heading into the Tricky Triangle. Five weeks of fighting finally saw Ryan Lewis emerge victorious. Having a strong truck most of the season, luck had been against the 41 team until breaking through for his first top 5 at Bristol. Even with a 2 second deficit to Zach Gandee in the final 10 laps, Lewis overcame everything to triumph over the field for his first win, and the fifth different winner of the season, to finally move into the top 5 in points. Gandee who ran well throughout the Pocono event cut Dukes' point lead to just 7 going into week 6. With everything bigger in Texas, the drama reached its peak thus far in the season. While not only producing the closest finish in ORS history, Dukes saw his pole and Stage 1 win erased with 8 laps left in Stage 2 with engine failure relegating him to a 13th place finish. All the while, Pacey Wigent used a late caution to overcome what could've been a disastrous finish, to make a move in the final corner to pull off his second win of the year by a mere .007 of a second over Ryan Lewis. Gandee would falter to fourth in the final laps, but with his stage 2 win, he would move to hold the championship reigns yet again by 3 points. As the points lead changed hands for the third time this season, Canadian Tire would prove to be its fourth. As the favorite heading in, Dukes would dominate from wire to wire, much in the same vein as the previous year. Maximizing points at Canadian Tire allowed Dukes to not just retake the championship lead, but also open up the largest points lead thus far this season, albeit only 16 points.
After the last few weeks Dukes has taken the lead in Poles with 3, while Gandee, Lewis, Wigent, and Williamson are all even with one. Dukes and Wigent also lead the league in wins with 2, as Gandee, Lewis, and Williamson all share with one, by far being one of the most diversified opening halves ever with 5 different winners. No surprise that consistency breeds excellence as the top 2 in points also tie in the most Top 5's as Dukes and Gandee both have 6, Wigent has 5, as Lewis, with strong runs as of late has 4. Williamson, as well as newcomer Sean Rice each have 3. Dennis Boggess and Matt Liptrap both have 2 apiece. The only stat without parity thus far has been stage wins, as once again Dukes maintains a large lead with 8 so far this year, while Gandee holds strong as the only other person with multiple with 3. Ryan Lewis, Jeff Peterson, and Kirk Kilgerman all have a stage win each to their name.
With 6 races remaining in the season, Dukes sits atop the standings by 16 points over Gandee in 2nd. Wigent with work to be done after an unfortunate engine failure this past week is still 3rd, 27 points back. Ryan Lewis has rebounded nicely after a rough start to only be 38 points back in 4th. Rookie to ORS, Kirk Kligerman has been a staple of consistency, regardless of only recording 1 Top 5, he has consistently ran well in stages, racking up an impressive 29 stage points to put him 5th in the standings 54 points back. Sitting just outside the Top 5 is Daniel Williamson, after missing a handful of races, still sits 6th, 65 points out. Another newcomer in Sean Rice sits 7th in points with several impressive runs this season, just 7 points behind Williamson. 11 points behind Rice in 8th is Matt Liptrap, also with a race or two missed has shown good speed most of the year, with a podium to his name at Las Vegas. Just 3 points in back of him is Dennis Boggess in 9th, with several Top 5's to his name, and showing marked improvement from the season before. Boggess has faced some bad luck when its come to finishing some of the races in which he's had strong trucks. Rounding out the Top 10 in points is Brett Stack who when he's been at the track has shown good speed, however with several missed races this season, finds himself 98 points back after the halfway point.
With 7 weeks down, this season in ORS is revving up to be its most exciting thus far. A lot of drivers tracks remain as we pick up with Iowa Raceway on the 25th of February, and begin the downhill grind to Michigan.
Outlaw Racing News
Dukes Outlasts Gandee to Snatch Back to Back
Newton, IA - Strategy and fuel conservation sure played its part throughout much of the nights race, yet in the end it was a good old fashioned slugging match for the final 42 laps. Aaron Dukes and Zach Gandee fought nose to tail over the course of the final run to the checkers, exchanging the lead several times before Dukes would wrestle away the lead with 8 to go, and not relinquish it back. Pulling away in the closing laps, Dukes would go on to claim his third ORS win of the season, and extend his points lead going into the final 5 races.
Even early on in the event, Dukes and Gandee seemed to have that leg up on the competition. While Dukes would snag the pole in qualifying, and going on to lead the opening 58 laps of the race. The shoe was on the other foot by the end of stage 1. After green flag stops in the first stage, Dukes and Gandee were separated by a little over a second and a half before the full strength of Gandees' number 19 Toyota kicked in. Closing into just under a second with 12 laps to go in the stage. It was then Dukes would catch some battling lap traffic, which would all but erase the 1 second advantage he held over Gandee. After clearing the final lap truck of the bunch, Gandee pounced out of turn 2, pulling inside of Dukes as the two would fight door to door for several laps before Dukes would eek back ahead with 4 to go. Gandee not much for giving in would pull back underneath the number 16 Toyota of Dukes once more coming to 2 to go. Once again side by side, Gandee would finally clear the nose of Dukes out of the final turn coming to the green checkers. Gandee would lay claim to the stage win in dramatic fashion, marking the 4th stage win for Gandee this season.
By the start of stage 2, Gandee would find himself again following the 16 of Dukes after getting loose out of turn 2 off the restart allowing Dukes to reclaim the lead. While tracking the 16 back down, the race would see its first caution, 7 laps into the stage. With the restart coming with 49 laps remaining in the stage, only a handful of drivers looked at the opportunity for fuel conservation to carry them to the end. As Dukes would jump to an early half second lead as Gandee and other front runner Ryan Lewis were embattled, that advantage would quickly shrink. Dukes would let the two by in turns 3 & 4 faltering quickly from the lead trying to play the almighty fuel mileage game. While Dukes fell, Lewis took the opportunity to lead a handful of laps before Gandee would reclaim the lead with 42 laps to go in the stage. As the laps wound down, many would begin the pit cycle to make it to the end. It wouldn't be until under ten laps to go, the leaders gave in to fuel and made their stops. When all was said and done, Dukes would inherit the lead with 8 to go, with Cody Reeves the next closest person on track 20 seconds back also conserving fuel to make it to the end. Going the longest run of the night, Dukes would see the green checkers under power, whilst Reeves would begin to sputter on the final lap falling to 4th in the stage as Gandee and Lewis made their way by for 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The final stage saw green flag racing mimic much of the first two. Dukes and Gandee found their way out front with a sizeable gap, with Gandee resuming the lead early in the stage. In fact, pulling out to a nearly full second advantage by the time the races second caution flew. Restarting with 50 to go, we would only see 3 laps of green before falling under the races third and final caution of the night. Even with 3 laps of green, this caution saw all of the leaders come back to pit road to top off on fuel, and see several take 2 tire stops to gain some track position. One of those being Dukes, allowing him to retake the top spot on the restart. As racing resumed with 43 to go, Dukes again strode out to just under a second advantage while Gandee and Lewis fought hard for 2nd. Gandee would eventually win out, and begun his chase down of Dukes for the race lead. In shades of stage one, Dukes would slowly watch his second advantage wither away, finally relinquishing his lead to Gandee with 22 to go. Though Gandee tracked Dukes down from a little over a second back, he would not be able to pad his lead once retaking it. Never getting more than a 5 truck length gap over Dukes as the run ran on. As 20 to go, slowly turned to 15, and the to 10 to go, tires slowly inserted themselves into the equation. As one of the longest green flag runs of the night, it became a question of who had the tires for the final 10 laps of the run. As the top two took 8 to go, the answer revealed itself as Dukes dove below Gandee out of turn 4, completing the pass as the two came off turn 2 with 7 to go. Over the course of those final 7 laps, Dukes would drive off to a 2 second lead as Dukes would comfortably cross the checkered flag for his third win of the season. Gandee would only be able to watch, after having what many considered the strongest truck all night, as the number 19 Toyota would come home 2nd for his 7th Top 5. Dennis Boggess would play the late pit strategy perfectly, short pitting his way to a podium finish, and climbing to 8th in the standings. Michael Montgomery, filling in for an absent Lee McQuain, drove his number 98 Toyota to an impressive 4th in his first race with ORS. Ryan Lewis would round out the Top 5, after having to give in to fuel in the final run. Lewis would use his 5th Top 5 of the year to move into 3rd in points. Next week we remain under the cover of night and the Charlotte Motor Speedway for Week 9 of the ORS season.