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Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service, Published June 22 2013

Darrah captures World of Outlaws victory in Grand Forks on Friday

GRAND FORKS – Cody Darrah was down on himself after giving up the lead to Tim Kaeding midway through Friday night’s World of Outlaws 40-lap feature at River Cities Speedway.

But he received some words of encouragement from his crew later in the race.

Darrah sailed by Tim Kaeding on a restart on Lap 35 to take the checkered flag before nearly 5,000 fans – a win that was his first of the season on the country’s top Sprint car circuit.

Kaeding passed Darrah on a Lap 19 restart and held the lead until a red flag came out on Lap 35.

“These restarts are hectic at this place,” Darrah said. “This place gets so technical. The way the track is shaped it’s hard to get your car right into Turn One. On that restart, I fell back to fourth. I was kind of beating the ground until that red flag.

“My crew guys didn’t say ‘if,’ they said ‘when this restart goes, you go.’ That was the best time to hear that. That gave me some confidence to get on it. We snuck by Tim in Turn 2 and blocked him in Turn 3.”

After passing Kaeding on Lap 35, Darrah had to survive one more restart two laps later.

Darrah’s victory celebration honored sprint driver Jason Leffler, who died last week in a race in New Jersey.

Darrah, who started on the pole, re-fired his car on the front straight-away and did a couple of 360 spins in Turn 3 to the delight of the 5,000 fans.

“That was for Jason,” Darrah said.

The feature had its share of yellow and red flags. The nastiest wreck came on Lap 18 when Joey Saldana – who captured the first WoO feature at RCS in 2007 – launched his No. 71 sprint off Turn 2 and crashed hard into retaining wall.

Saldana was running second when he crashed. He was shaken up but walked away from the crash.

Kaeding finished second, 1.064 seconds behind Darrah, who drives for Kasey Kahne Racing.

Steve Kinser finished third, followed by Donny Schatz, the winner of the WoO’s last two features, Kraig Kinser and Mark Dobmeier.

Dobmeier, who timed in seventh, won his heat race, passing Steve Kinser with a couple of laps to go.

Chris Shirek, another RCS regular, won his heat race as well. He bolted out to the lead on the first lap and was never challenged. Saldana was second while Daryn Pittman – the series leader – was third.

Sammy Swindell turned in the fastest lap of the night during qualifying, posting one of his two qualifying laps in 10.151 seconds. Schatz was second at 10.222. Dobmeier was seventh quickest at 10.535.

There were 36 sprints that checked into the RCS pits.

The NRLA late models also competed as Joey Pederson won the feature. Dustin Strand finished second, followed by Chris Olson, Tom Corcoran and Mike Balcaen.

The World of Outlaws return to RCS on Aug. 16. They’re scheduled to race tonight in Fergus Falls, Minn.

Nelson is the Sports Editor for the Grand Forks Herald