McMahan wins inaugural Winter Heat feature

Paul McMahan in victory lane following his victory during the Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown at Cocopah Speedway. - Serena Dalhamer Photo
Paul McMahan in victory lane following his victory during the Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown at Cocopah Speedway. – Serena Dalhamer Photo

From Inside Line Promotions

Somerton, AZ — (January 2, 2015) — The opening night of the inaugural Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown lived up to its hype.

Paul McMahan bested a stout field of top-notch sprint car drivers from across the country on Friday night at Cocopah Speedway to score the $12,000-to-win prize. He also leads the points standings following the first of five nights during a nine-day period at the 3/8-mile oval.

“The race track was great,” McMahan said. “This was the first time I’ve ever been here. It kind of moves around all night long. It’s a great place, great facility, great event. Any time you can win it builds momentum. To win the first night out of 2015 with a brand new, experimental race car is phenomenal. We’re really looking forward to the rest of the week and the rest of the year.”

Night 2 of the Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown is Saturday with hot laps scheduled for 6 p.m. local time and Opening Ceremonies at 7 p.m.

McMahan was a front runner from the start of hot laps. He set the quickest time during warmups and then charged from sixth to win his heat race, which made him the high-points earner.

That lined him up on the outside of the third row for a qualifier. McMahan charged to a runner-up result, giving him a clear advantage in overall points and the pole position for the 30-lap feature.

However, Aaron Reutzel, who was making his 410ci sprint car debut, powered to the lead at the start of the main event.

The first caution of the race came on the second lap when Dale Blaney spun in turn three, where Willie Croft and David Gravel also came to a stop. Since a full lap wasn’t completed following Danny Lasoski’s power move from fourth to second place prior to the caution, McMahan and Joey Saldana moved back in front of Lasoski.

“I actually got very fortunate because I tried the top early and Danny Lasoski actually got by me on the bottom and the yellow came out so I got my spot back,” McMahan said. “After that I never wanted to move back off the bottom.”

Reutzel maintained the lead on the restart, but he brought out a caution of his own one lap later when it appeared that he made contact with the backstretch wall and cut down a tire.

That gave McMahan the lead, which he never relinquished. Saldana made a bid for the lead in traffic one third of the way through the race, but a red flag because of Christopher Bell and Reece Goetz flipping in turn three gave McMahan a clean track for the restart.

He caught traffic for the final time with 11 laps remaining, but wasn’t slowed as he methodically lapped up to 10th place.

“The guy ran third in the Outlaw points and he’s been with his crew chief for two years so they’re gonna be good,” Saldana said after finishing second. “If you’re going to beat him you’ve got to be better and I just wasn’t good enough to beat him. It was a very good, solid night for Rudeen Racing and I’ll take it.”

Lasoski maintained a podium position for most of the feature en route to a third-place finish.

“What a phenomenal event,” he said. “The race track, what more could you ask for? All we ask for is a top and a bottom and let the middle slick off, let the drivers and mechanics do their job and they did it tonight.”

Stevie Smith placed fourth and Roger Crockett rounded out the top five. Brian Brown advanced from 13th to sixth, Freddie Rahmer ended seventh, Seth Bergman eighth, Henry Van Dam ninth and NASCAR star Kasey Kahne capped the top 10.

Fellow NASCAR sensation Kyle Larson, who won the B Main, had climbed into seventh place before engine issues forced him into the infield with 10 laps remaining.

Saldana, Crockett, McMahan and Craig Dollansky each won a heat race with Kahne, Blaney, Reutzel and Sam Hafertepe Jr. claiming qualifiers.


Heat Race 1 (8 laps): 1. 26-Joey Saldana (1); 2. 51r-Freddie Rahmer (2); 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel (4); 4. 83-David Gravel (6); 5. 11k-Kraig Kinser (3); 6. 57-Dale Blaney (5); 7. 9r-Reece Goetz (8); 8. 82-Dusty Zomer (9); 9. 1s-Logan Schuchart (7).

Heat Race 2 (8 laps): 1. 11c-Roger Crockett (3); 2. 23-Seth Bergman (6); 3. 2l-Logan Forler (4); 4. 77x-Wayne Johnson (9); 5. 99-Skylar Gee (5); 6. 42-Kyle Larson (2); 7. 1a-Jacob Allen (7); 8. 98-Matt Jensen (8); 9. 22-Mason Moore (1).

Heat Race 3 (8 laps): 1. 51-Paul McMahan (6); 2. 5h-Dakota Hendrickson (1); 3. 33v-Henry Van Dam (7); 4. 11-Steve Kinser (2); 5. 21-Brian Brown (5); 6. 15h-Sam Hafertepe Jr. (3); 7. 74x-Josh Hodges (4); 8. 55-Bud Walberg (DNS).

Heat Race 4 (8 laps): 1. 7-Craig Dollansky (1); 2. 51s-Stevie Smith (2); 3. 3c-Willie Croft (4); 4. 33-Danny Lasoski (6); 5. 9-Kasey Kahne (3); 6. 31b-Christopher Bell (7); 7. 94-Ryan Smith (5); 8. 88n-D.J. Netto (8).

Qualifier 1 (10 laps): 1. 9-Kasey Kahne (1); 2. 51-Paul McMahan (6); 3. 51s-Stevie Smith (4); 4. 42-Kyle Larson (7); 5. 3c-Willie Croft (3); 6. 1s-Logan Schuchart (8); 7. 77x-Wayne Johnson (5); 8. 99-Skylar Gee (2); 9. 74x-Josh Hodges (DNS).

Qualifier 2 (10 laps): 1. 57-Dale Blaney (1); 2. 21-Brian Brown (3); 3. 26-Joey Saldana (5); 4. 83-David Gravel (3); 5. 5h-Dakota Hendrickson (4); 6. 1a-Jacob Allen (7); 7. 23-Seth Bergman (6); 8. 22-Mason Moore (9); 9. 98-Matt Jensen (8).

Qualifier 3 (10 laps): 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel (4); 2. 33-Danny Lasoski (3); 3. 31b-Christopher Bell (2); 4. 7-Craig Dollansky (5); 5. 9r-Reece Goetz (1); 6. 11c-Roger Crockett (6); 7. 82-Dusty Zomer (7); 8. 55-Bud Walberg (DNS).

Qualifier 4 (10 laps): 1. 15h-Sam Hafertepe Jr. (1); 2. 11k-Kraig Kinser (2); 3. 11-Steve Kinser (3); 4. 51r-Freddie Rahmer (5); 5. 33v-Henry Van Dam (6); 6. 88n-D.J. Netto (8); 7. 2l-Logan Forler (4); 8. 94-Ryan Smith (DNS).

B Main (15 laps/8 transfer): 1. 42-Kyle Larson (6); 2. 11-Steve Kinser (1); 3. 31b-Christopher Bell (5); 4. 15h-Sam Hafertepe Jr. (2); 5. 77x-Wayne Johnson (4); 6. 3c-Willie Croft (3); 7. 9r-Reece Goetz (8); 8. 1s-Logan Schuchart (11); 9. 82-Dusty Zomer (13); 10. 2l-Logan Forler (7); 11. 22-Mason Moore (18); 12. 88n-D.J. Netto (10); 13. 1a-Jacob Allen (9); 14. 99-Skylar Gee (12); 15. 94-Ryan Smith (DNS); 16. 55-Bud Walberg (DNS); 17. 74x-Josh Hodges (DNS); 18. 98-Matt Jensen (DNS).

A Main (30 laps): 1. 51-Paul McMahan (1); 2. 26-Joey Saldana (3); 3. 33-Danny Lasoski (4); 4. 51s-Stevie Smith (5); 5. 11c-Roger Crockett (9); 6. 21-Brian Brown (13); 7. 51r-Freddie Rahmer (8); 8. 23-Seth Bergman (10); 9. 33v-Henry Van Dam (7); 10. 9-Kasey Kahne (11); 11. 15h-Sam Hafertepe Jr. (20); 12. 1s-Logan Schuchart (24); 13. 3c-Willie Croft (22); 14. 5h-Dakota Hendrickson (15); 15. 42-Kyle Larson (17); 16. 87-Aaron Reutzel (2); 17. 9r-Reece Goetz (23); 18. 31b-Christopher Bell (19); 19. 77x-Wayne Johnson (21); 20. 7-Craig Dollansky (6); 21. 11k-Kraig Kinser (16); 22. 11-Steve Kinser (18); 23. 83-David Gravel (12); 24. 57-Dale Blaney (14).

(Top 24 in passing and finishing points in the heat races were inverted in the qualifiers. The top 16 in passing and finishing points following the qualifiers locked into the A Main.)


1. 51-Paul McMahan 199; 2. 26-Joey Saldana 193; 3. 33-Danny Lasoski 187; 4. 51s-Stevie Smith 185; 5. 11c-Roger Crockett 180; 6. 21-Brian Brown 177; 7. 51r-Freddie Rahmer 175; 8. 23-Seth Bergman 169; 9. 33v-Henry Van Dam 167; 10. 9-Kasey Kahne 166; 11. 15h-Sam Hafertepe Jr. 163; 12. 3c-Willie Croft 158; 13. 5h-Dakota Hendrickson 157; 14. 87-Aaron Reutzel 156; 15. 1s-Logan Schuchart 153; 16. 42-Kyle Larson 152; 17. 31b-Christopher Bell 147; 18. 7-Craig Dollansky 147; 19. 9r-Reece Goetz 146; 20. 11k-Kraig Kinser 143; 21. 77x-Wayne Johnson 143; 22. 11-Steve Kinser 141; 23. 83-David Gravel 138; 24. 2l-Logan Forler 125; 25. 82-Dusty Zomer 122; 26. 88n-D.J. Netto 117; 27. 1a-Jacob Allen 116; 28. 22-Mason Moore 116; 29. 99-Skylar Gee 114; 30. 94-Ryan Smith 110; 31. 55-Bud Walberg 107; 32. 74x-Josh Hodges 105; 33. 98-Matt Jensen.


Dates: Jan. 2-3, 6, 9-10, 2015

Track: Cocopah Speedway in Somerton, Ariz.

Prize: $12,000-to-win, $1,000-to-start each night (Jan. 2-3, 9-10); $5,000-to-win (Jan. 6); approximately $250,000 total prize money

Type: 410ci sprint cars

Times: Pit gate opens at 11 a.m.; main gates open at 2 p.m.; hot laps at 6 p.m.; Opening Ceremonies at 7 p.m.


Fans can purchase tickets by clicking


SPEED SPORT Productions will be broadcasting live Pay-Per-View video of the Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown for $27.95 per night. Visit http://www.SPEEDSPORT.TV/live for more information. The event will also be taped for a pair of one-hour delayed television broadcasts via MAVTV.






The inaugural Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown will showcase the top sprint car drivers in the world in sunny Southwest Arizona during the first two weekends of January in 2015. The four weekend races pay $12,000 to the winner and at least $1,000 to every driver who advances to the main event with the midweek show paying $5,000 to win.


A $10,000 points fund will be split among the top-five finishers. The champion will receive a $4,000 bonus with drivers finishing second through fifth each offered $1,500. A driver will earn points throughout heat races, qualifying races and main events during the five events. A competitor must attempt to race in all five Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown races to be eligible for the points fund.


Cocopah Speedway is a semi-banked, 3/8-mile dirt track located in Somerton, Ariz. It has a concrete wall perimeter, television-quality lighting and the pits are located outside turns three and four. There is also dry camping free of charge on the property. For more information, visit


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