– After a rough opening three rounds of “The Road to Dirt Cup”, Bixby, OK native turned Indianapolis, IN resident, Shane Stewart, charged around Tim Kaeding late in the feature Monday night, to score the popular win during the first ever 410ci sprint car race at the Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, OR.
“We had had an absolute horrible week up until tonight (Monday), so it was awesome to finally get a win in the 57,” said Stewart.
With just 16 cars in the pit area, Stewart stopped the clocks with the quickest time during qualifications, his third fast time effort in the four nights of the week.
A fourth place finish in the dash, put his Finley Farms/Pro Bilt Construction/Palmero Properties/Blackwell Consolidation machine in the second row of the feature behind Jonathan Allard and Tim Kaeding, the only two drivers to pick up wins in the previous three nights.
Quickly gunning into the second position behind Kaeding, Stewart hounded the driver as he looked to pounce on any opening.
On the 12th lap, Stewart made his move, and got around the early leader, and grabbed the lead, which he would not relinquish.
Over the final eighteen circuits, Stewart continuously stretched his lead as he got through light lapped-traffic and picked up his first win of the week, and his first aboard the Silva No. 57 in 2012.
“We have had a bizarre week, and it’s just nice to get a win finally,” said Stewart. “I started the week off by making a mistake in Chico, and then we had a couple nights of horrible luck, so this really is a nice momentum boost for us.”
Leading up to the victory Monday night, Stewart has had his ups and downs, some his fault, and some not.
Kicking off the action packed week was a Friday night stop in Chico, CA, and Stewart was one of the strongest cars in the pit area from the early goings.
Timing in with quick time, and then winning the dash, Stewart put the Silva Motorsports/Lucas Oil Products/A.R.T. machine on the front row of the feature.
On the first lap, Stewart experimented with the top of the speedway, and slid off and was forced to the back of the field, and ultimately ended up with a DNF.
“We had a strong car all night in Chico, I just used poor judgment and tried the top of the race track, when there was nothing up there, and ruined our night.”
Saturday night, the Stewart and Silva duo headed north to the Southern Oregon Speedway in Medford, OR, and it was another forgettable night for the reigning Lucas Oil ASCS National Champion.
A poor qualifying, and heat race effort put Stewart in the LCQ, and he did transfer, but would have more bad luck in the feature.
Starting in the middle of the pack in feature, Stewart seemed to rebound from his earlier struggles as he began picking off cars at will.
As he moved up to the fourth spot late in the feature, Evan Suggs made contact with the No. 57 car resulting in a spin, and a trip back to the pit area.
“We weren’t good early in Medford, but we were going pretty good in the feature, but unfortunately somebody else’s mistake cost us a good finish,” Stewart continued.
Sunday night the team returned to a track where they seemed to have continuous success at together, the Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage Grove, OR.
Timing in quick time, Stewart would get through his heat, where he would win the dash, and start on the front row of the star-studded feature.
Jumping out into the lead, Stewart worked himself to a decent sized lead as Jonathan Allard, and Tim Kaeding got through traffic and began chasing him down.
Stewart’s dismal luck would continue as he would fall into the second spot, briefly, before being sidelined with motor woes as he went up in a ball of smoke.
“After having three night’s in a row like we had, it was really unbelievable,” Stewart said. “It looks like something got up and knocked our valve cover off and puked out all the oil, and forced us into the infield.”
The Silva Motorsports team thanks Lucas Oil Products, A.R.T. Speed Equipment, Pro Bilt Construction, Palmero Properties, Finley Farms, Car and Fleet, OMP Racing, Wesmar Racing Engines, , Shift Creative, Amerikote, XYZ, Hoosier Tire, Pro, Banshee Graphics, Dan Olson Products, K&N Filters, RE Technologies, Weld, Schoenfeld Headers, Butlerbuilt Seats, Vortex Wings, CP Pistons, Cometic Gaskets, Huggins Cams BR Ignitioneering, Blackwell Consolidation, and Petersen Media for their partnership in 2012.
ON TAP: Stewart and his Silva Motorsports team will now head north to Skagit, WA for the 26th Annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup scheduled to go green on Thursday June, 14th. Last year Stewart dominated the first two preliminary nights before scoring a fifth place finish on Saturday night.
STAY CONNECTED: For all of the latest news on Shane Stewart visit his website at www.shanestewart.com or become a fan of his on facebook at www.facebook.com/ShaneStewartRacing.