Auto Racing: McMahan conquers The Creek
SPRING VALLEY — A World of Outlaws Sprint Cars championship is likely too far out of reach for Paul McMahan. That's not an entirely terrible thing for the Elk Grove, Calif., native, though.
SPRING VALLEY— A World of Outlaws Sprint Cars championship is likely too far out of reach for Paul McMahan.
That's not an entirely terrible thing for the Elk Grove, Calif., native, though.
McMahan can go all-out for victories on a nightly basis, just as he did Saturday at Deer Creek Speedway during the sixth annual World of Outlaws Clash at The Creek.
The 43-year-old driver of the CJB Motorsports No. 51 Sprint Car led the 35-lap A Main from start to finish, holding off youngster David Gravel in the waning laps to capture $10,000.
"Everyone on the CJB team gave me a great car," said McMahan, who started on the pole next to Gravel. "I was a little concerned about starting the race on the bottom, but I was able to slide up around David.
"We were racing hard; that's what we do. I'm sure my wife is at home doing a happy dance."
McMahan notched his sixth win of the season and first since Aug. 1 in the Prelude to the Ironman at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo. He finished third in the WoO points standings last season, when he won four races and had a series-best 17 fast qualifying times.
He sits in third place in the standings once again this season, trailing leader Donny Schatz and second-place driver Daryn Pittman, who won the WoO championship last season. McMahan is close to 300 points back of Schatz.
On Saturday, though, McMahan had opened up a massive 1.65-second lead when a caution came out on lap 19. He jumped back out to a big lead on the restart and pulled ahead of Gravel by nearly a second. With about seven laps to go, McMahan got bottled up behind Kraig Kinser and watched his lead dwindle.
But with three laps remaining, two-time Clash at The Creek winner Joey Saldana— who was running in third place the entire race— had a rear tire shred coming out of Turn 4, bringing out another caution.
Saldana's crew was able to get the tire changed and he was able to salvage an 18th place finish, the first time he's finished outside of the top five at Deer Creek.
For Gravel, who set the track record during time trials with an 11.416-second lap, the late-race caution meant his chance at a fifth victory of this season had narrowly eluded him.
"I had a chance with three to go," Gravel said, "then a yellow came out. I would've liked to see the green stay out, but I guess it just wasn't my night. I finished the race with a hole in my tire; to do that and finish second, I'm glad the race wasn't 40 laps."
Kerry Madsen, whose brother Ian won the Clash at The Creek last year, started 10th but worked his way up through the field to finish third.
"The track was great, but extremely tricky," Madsen said. "Every time you tried to be aggressive, you'd find a hole you weren't expecting. But it was an exciting race. We started 10th and got up to third … that's fantastic."
Elk River native Craig Dollansky and Pittman rounded out the top five.
Schatz, the series points leader, finished seventh. Top Rookie of the Year contender Brad Sweet finished sixth and earned the hard charger award after starting 16th.