Notebook

Outlaw eyes on Pittman’s win streak

jutter@charlotteobserver.comMay 22, 2014 

— Sprint Cup driver Kasey Kahne is looking for a big night at the track Friday night but not in NASCAR.

Daryn Pittman, who drives for Kahne’s sprint car team, heads into Friday night’s Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track having won the last four World of Outlaws races.

Pittman’s winning streak is the longest since Jason Meyers won five in a row during his championship run in 2011.

The four-win run has propelled Pittman, last season’s series champion, into the series points lead. Pittman’s 12th place finish at Charlotte in the WoO World Finals last fall clinched the championship, his first as a driver and the first for Kahne as a car owner.

Grandstands open at 4 p.m. Tickets for the Showdown are $30 for adults and $10 for children ages 13 and under. For information, call (800) 455-3267 or go online at charlottemotorspeedway.com.

Voting begins in July: Voting for the National Motorsports Press Association’s Most Popular Driver award will launch in July as the association welcomes a new presenting sponsor for the 62-year-old program.

The Most Popular Driver Award is the only major NASCAR award determined solely by fan vote. The winner is announced during the annual Myers Brothers Luncheon held in conjunction with Champions’ Week activities in Las Vegas.

“We sincerely appreciate the interest expressed by so many fans surrounding the Most Popular Driver program during the past few months,” NMPA president Kenny Bruce said. “Their continued participation, passion and loyalty are the reason for the program’s amazing success and longevity.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. collected his 11th consecutive NMPA Most Popular Driver Award in 2013 as NASCAR fans cast more than 1 million votes throughout the season.

Ready for a wedding: Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond, longtime Fox Sports analysts on NASCAR broadcasts, will be absent from Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday in order to participate in their respective daughters’ weddings, which are being held on the same day and at their respective family homes in Tennessee and North Carolina.

The men, who paired for the 1982 and 1985 Cup Series championships and 43 wins, didn’t realize their daughters had chosen the same wedding date until a few weeks ago.

“We always thought the same way when we raced together, and we still read each other’s minds when we’re on the air together for Fox,” Waltrip said.

Price wins round 1: The transport drivers of the Cup Series began their 2014 season in the Pilot Flying J Truck Driver Challenge last week at the zMax Dragway in Concord with Jamie Price of Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 team coming out on top in NASCAR Chicane No. 1.

Tom McCrimmon, of Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 team, was second and Greg Sorber, driver for Team Penske’s No. 22 team, was third. Price and McCrimmon have won a combined three Truck Driver Challenges.

Walk with stars: Coca-Cola Racing Family Members Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Elliott Sadler and Darrell Wallace Jr. will participate in Friday’s Coca-Cola Family Track Walk, which begins at 2:30 p.m. at CMS.

Any fan with a ticket to Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 can take part. The event serves as a fundraiser for Speedway Children’s Charities. Fans without 600 tickets can still participate in the track walk with a $20 donation.

Sit and wait: Seven Cup teams received 15-minute practice penalties on Thursday for failure to get through the inspection line in a timely fashion during previous race weekends.

Drivers Reed Sorenson and Ryan Truex received penalties from Kansas race weekend while drivers Aric Almirola, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Dave Blaney, Josh Wise and Brian Scott received penalties from last weekend’s all-star event.

Utter: (704) 358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter.

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