LIMA — The Brad Doty Classic has grown to be a very special race to sprint car drivers.
The nation’s best sprint car drivers, known as the World of Outlaws, come to the Limaland Motorsports Park each year in hopes of taking home the trophy, along with the $10,000 grand prize.
For 43-year-old Paul McMahan, winning Wednesday’s 26th annual Brad Doty Classic, was more than likely the most emotional victory of his racing career.
“To win this race is just one of the highlights of my career,” McMahan said. “Brad (Doty) has been a hero of mine since I was a little kid. Everything I’ve ever done, from my first race car paint job to my first uniform, has been done after Brad Doty. Then to come here and win this race after many years of trying just means the world to me.”
Sammy Swindell, who started on the front row with Shane Stewart, dominated the 40-lap race early on.
McMahan started in the fourth row and worked his way up to Swindell. With less than 10 laps to go, McMahan seized the opportunity to get around Swindell. McMahan passed Swindell for the lead on the low side in the middle of turn one and two.
“We had a good race car. We were trying to bide our time, following Sammy (Swindell),” McMahan said. “I got close to him in lap traffic, but every time I got there, a yellow would come out. I tried the middle a little bit. Then, I got a good run off the corner and got him. Once I got the five-to-go sign, I ran it as best as I could for the last five laps. Fortunately, we became the victor.”
Swindell fell back in the closing laps and finished seventh.
Kerry Madsen, who hails from Australia, finished second to McMahan. For Madsen, this was his 22nd top-five finish of the year.
McMahan is from Elk Grove, California. He has been racing with the World of Outlaws for six full seasons.
Wednesday’s win for McMahan was his third win of the season and the 21st of his career.
However, out of his three wins on the year, winning the Brad Doty Classic is definitely the highlight of McMahan’s season as well as his career.
“Me and Brad have been friends for a long time,” McMahan said. “I got to know him after he got hurt. I didn’t know him really well while he was racing. We call each other and text each other every once in awhile. It’s nice to have him here to let him know how much he means to me.
“As soon as I got the checkered flag, I knew I had this thing won. I had tears coming down my face. … That’s just what this race means to me.”
TRACK RECORD SET IN QUALIFYING
During Wednesday’s qualifying, David Gravel from Watertown, Connecticut, broke the track record when he clocked a time of 10.411 seconds. There were 18 other drivers that also broke the previous track record with Gravel claiming the fastest time.
“The track was awesome,” Gravel said. “Our car was really good and the track was very even through the whole qualifying. So, they had it prepared very well and we just took advantage of it.”
In the main feature, Gravel finished 15th overall.