Defending Lincoln Speedway champion Danny Dietrich led every lap of the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Series feature on Thursday night at the Pigeon Hills oval.
"These guys are tough," said a jubilant Dietrich after finishing a celebratory wing dance on top of his Gary Kauffman-owned Sandoe's Fruit Market No. 48 in Victory Lane at Lincoln. "And I have respect for all of them. Hopefully, we can continue this luck into tomorrow and Saturday (at Williams Grove)."
Luck did play into Dietrich's night. A little girl from the stands drew the No. 8 pill for the inversion, placing Dietrich on the pole for the dash. His subsequent win in the six-lap dash put him on the pole for the 35-lap A main.
Earlier, Dietrich came out late in time trials and turned a lap of 13.918 seconds, good enough for the 14th-quickest time and placing him on the pole for his heat.
By virtue of his second-place finish in the dash, five-time Outlaw champ Donny Schatz started beside Dietrich in the front row and challenged Dietrich for the lead the entire way. Thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing that saw Schatz stay within a car length of Dietrich forced fans to their feet from laps 15 through 26.
It wasn't until after a Lap 27 caution for a spinning Craig Dollansky that Dietrich was able to pull away, crossing about four car lengths in front of the STP No. 15 of Schatz. The two caught lapped traffic as they crossed under the checkered flag.
"That was all joking around," said Dietrich about his bold talk this week on the Internet. "But to back it up feels great."
"I want to thank all the fans for coming out," Dietrich said. "This is the best track in the country to race and see a race."
The crowd was so huge that the 50-50 winner won more than Dietrich, who pocketed $6,000. Proceeds from the 50-50 drawing were donated to the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing.
Sammy Swindell came from sixth starting spot to finish third, with Tim Kaeding (in his first-ever Lincoln run) and invader Brad Sweet completing the top five. Three-time 2013 Lincoln winner Brent Marks was sixth. Daryn Pittman earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after maneuvering from 17th to seventh. Rounding out the top 10 were Lincoln points leader Fred Rahmer, invader Sam Hafertepe Jr. and Brian Montieth.
Sammy Swindell set quick time over the 43-car field with a lap of 13.617-seconds (99.141 mph). Kaeding, Dietrich, Schatz and Marks each claimed a heat race, with Jason Sides winning the C Main and David Gravel taking the B Main Last Chance Showdown.