Jason Oltmanns’ single car operation became the first team to take multiple Feature Race wins on the 2015 iSuperSpeedway.com Racing Series Season 4 campaign, with his first career win at the World Center of Racing. Oltmanns parked his #51 Best Buy Ford Fusion in Gatorade Victory Lane in Race 9 of the season, after qualifying into the A-Main through his respective Heat Race and via an eighth place finish in the Dash For Cash. The #51 started on the outside of Row 4 for the 40 lap main event which was shown LIVE on LSRTV.
Before the green flag dropped on the A Main Feature, the remaining drivers who had been unable to qualify in through the preliminaries (p12 <) had to qualify in through the B-Main event, which was 20 laps in length (1/2 of the A Main length).
Fan favorite Mark Jorgenson Jr. started in pole position after single car qualifying and went on to take the win in the B-Main in a spectacular finish featuring a one lap shootout. The race featured two caution flags, the last of which waved with five laps to go, setting-up the field for a 2.5 mile dash to the checkered flag. With 20 cars on the lead lap and only 16 tickets to the big show, it was guaranteed to be a thriller. Despite going flag-to-flag, Jorgenson did not have an easy time of it and had to throw a block to the top into the tri-oval to hold-off a charging Greg Hooks who had a push by Donnie Giarratano. The #88 edged-out the #2 by just .020s (see photo below), before the majority of the field wrecked in spectacular fashion just moments after crossing the line.
Jorgenson attempted to do something nobody has ever done in 4 seasons under the iSuperSpeedway banner: win the Feature A-Main after placing first in the B-Main. Carsten DiGiantomasso got his first checkered in the series in the Dash 4 Cash, placing him on the pole for the A-Main. Other big names including last week’s winner Josh Hanner, teammate Josh Ball, Wofford, Guerry, Flagg and more, were among the top 12 drivers locked into the show through the heats, placing the B-Main winner in 13th.
The race began with the top half of the 29 car field attempting to single file out early on. A race length of 40 laps, totaling just 100 miles, is relatively short compared to some A-Main events in the past that have exceeded 125 miles (eg Talladega). It was a cold and overcast afternoon in South Florida, with the resulting increased speeds and grip the drivers were able to risk a little bit more and be more aggressive . . . especially those who started back in the pack.
Pole-sitter Carsten DiGiantomasso slid back early after leading the field to the start, and never fully recovered. An early incident in the tri-oval damaged multiple cars at the tail end of the lead draft including the National Guard-inspired #92 of Rodd Mitten. Mitten’s machine came down on the nose of the #73 of Mark Brown, causing a scatter involving Jimmy Todd’s #18 Toyota on Lap Seven. However, no caution was thrown and it was Rodney Wofford’s #7 machine that went on to lead early on, down on the bottom of the race track.
Donnie Giarratano worked the outside lane with help from Seth DeMerchant. He and fellow Wicked Autosport teammate Wofford were trying to get all three of their cars into the chase by getting the win for the #2, as both Wofford and DeMerchant had already picked-up wins and were locked-in to a chase berth.
A huge melee ensued with 15 laps to go, after trouble at the front of the field saw Jorgenson (who was moving forward in an effort to make history) clip DiGiantomasso’s right rear quarter panel in an attempted side draft. The contact spun the #6 across traffic into the wall, collecting many heavy hitters in the bargain. Josh Ball’s car was destroyed, while the nights of Donnie Giarratano, Jorgenson and DiGiantomasso all but came to an end in the trouble as well.
When the virtual dust and sheet metal settled, Oltmanns found himself on top for the 10 lap to go restart. He duly led the field to green in front of Seth DeMerchant, Frank Buccialia, Rodney Wofford and Rodd Flagg. Wicked Autosport teammates DeMerchant and Wofford tried to rally an outside charge, but with minimal support on the high side, would come up short. Down the Daytona Superstretch coming to the white flag, Austin Caver found trouble after he was turned on the left rear in traffic by Jimmy Todd. Caver’s spin triggered a race-ending caution flag, only the second yellow of the race.
Oltmanns thus becomes the second driver on the season to take more than one checkered flag, but the first to take more than one win in the Features as opposed to endurance events. The win is the first of his career at Daytona, a location that – or the most part — has only been bad news for the most part for the #51 who has had his fair share at Talladega. With the #51 Best Buy Ford Fusion being a single car operation, in contrast to the other major teams trying to methodically get teammates wins to qualify for the chase, Oltmanns’ team can simply focus on winning races . . . as they just did. All of the top four finishers, and the drivers who dominated the race pace, had all already won on the season.
Oltmanns, who got his first win in Feature Race 6, was more than happy to take W number 2.
“It ended up working out pretty well, it would have been awesome for it to go green at the end . . . but I’ll take it, second win is pretty awesome,” he said in Gatorade Victory Lane. “Norstar Motorsports have been doing pretty well this year for a single car operation,” Oltmanns continued. “I owe a huge thanks to Frank tonight, he got me to the lead and stayed behind me through it.”
Oltmans plans on taking a few more wins before iSuperChase time, but is also content with having others win . . . well, others who have have already won, trying to keep the Chase field as small as possible when it comes down to game time.
Season 1 iSS Champion Frank Buccialia went on to finish second, after trailing Oltmanns when the yellow came out.
“It’s tough with the temps and the draft package, you (got to) be patiently aggressive” said Buccialia. “We had managed to get clear of the #32 (DeMerchant)” who was the lead car on the top lane. We were going to try to pull out and do something, but I was content with pushing Jason (Oltmanns) at the end.”
Buccialia’s goal in the All Star Race is to be up front, and win, simply put. The #94 team won just weeks ago in Feature Race 7, ensuring that team will have their opportunity to become the first to become a Two-Time iSuperSpeedway.com Racing Series, backing up their Season 1 championship.
“I was content with pushing Jason (Oltmanns) at the end.” — Frank Buccialia
Rounding out the podium was the #32 of Seth DeMerchant. Returning to the series in a full time position this year, he was sure to be a leading competitor, and nearly got his second win on the year before a yellow late dashed his hopes.
“We were saving the engine and were (going to) make a run off 4 so . . . we didn’t have the support we needed up top,” he explained. “We needed to save the engine to even have a shot, Frank was doing a great job pushing him (Oltmanns) on the bottom.
“We want to get all our cars in the chase, until we get to there, our goal is to get Donnie (Giarratano) a win for sure.”
If they succeed, Wicked Autosport would be the first team to get all its drivers into the Chase in ISS history.
The series takes a break from racing next this Friday for the Memorial Day Weekend, but return to action on Friday, May 29th at Talladega for the iSuperSpeedway All Star race. The All Star race, will feature drivers who have won a A-Main event in the last two seasons, prior All Star Race winners and Champions, along with five additional spots and a pair of provisionals based on the finishing order in the All Star Open that allows non-locked-in drivers to race for a spot on the grid. Coverage will as always be LIVE on LSRTV at 10:00pm EST/7:00pm PST.
For more information on the iSuperSpeedway.com Racing Series, visit isuperspeedway.com. For more information on upcoming LSRTV broadcasts, visit livesimracing.com, or through Facebook at facebook.com/livesimracingtv.