BILLINGS — World of Outlaws driver Daryn Pittman likes competing at Big Sky Speedway.
And for good reason.
The veteran driver has raced to victory during the circuit’s stop at the semi-banked, three-eighths-mile clay oval the past two summers.
Overall, Pittman has three wins at the track located 16 miles north of Billings on Roundup Road as he also captured a World of Outlaws victory at the track in 2005.
The 40-year-old 2013 World of Outlaws champion will be aiming for his fourth overall win — and third consecutive — at the track when the series stops at Big Sky Speedway on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
“We always seemed to run really well there and it suits my driving style,” Pittman said. “You always are excited for tracks you’ve won at before, or tend to run good at.”
While Pittman has been a frequent winner at the speedway, on Saturday night he won’t be taking anything for granted.
“Just because you’ve run good there doesn’t guarantee anything,” he said. “But from a confidence standpoint, it helps to run at tracks you’ve run well at.”
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series was also scheduled to race at Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, South Dakota, on Friday before “The Brawl at Big Sky Speedway” on Saturday.
Entering the race in South Dakota, Pittman was fourth in the points standings with 6,392 and had two victories in 46 starts this year. He had placed in the top-5 21 times. Ten-time series champion Donny Schatz of North Dakota leads the points standings with 6,652.
“It’s not where we expect to be,” Pittman, who lives in Indianapolis, said. “Some of the numbers aren’t where we are used to or where we want them to be, but it’s been OK.
“We have higher expectations to be a little better, but it could obviously be a lot worse.”
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The first time Pittman, a native of Owasso, Oklahoma, drove a sprint car was in 1996. He started on the World of Outlaws tour in 1999. While Pittman has experienced success racing at Big Sky Speedway, he remembers when the circuit competed at MetraPark Raceway. The old horse racing track at MetraPark was converted into a race track and utilized by the circuit four straight years beginning in 1999.
“I’m old enough I’ve been to the Metra,” Pittman said. “We raced there several times several years back during the fair running the big half-mile. I’ve been doing this awhile and I remember those days.
“It was fun and a great atmosphere. They used to get a great crowd.”
The atmosphere surrounding the race during the fair was fun for the drivers and spectators, but Pittman said the track at Big Sky Speedway is superior to the one that was offered at MetraPark.
“The dirt on the half-mile wasn’t very good. Big horse tracks don’t produce great racing. This race track is miles and miles better than that was. We put on a great race there for sure.
“We always have action-packed races there and it’s a lot smaller and that typically fits our type of racing better.”
This year the World of Outlaws schedule started in Barberville, Florida, on Feb. 8. It will end Nov. 9 at the Can-Am World Finals in Concord, North Carolina. Pittman said some drivers fly to races, others travel with the race car and some tour the country in a motorhome. Pittman, his wife Mandy and their two daughters travel in a motorhome.
“We’ve been to most of the places several times, but it’s something we enjoy for sure,” he said.
The Outlaws stop in Billings in 2017 was the series’ first since 2008.
Pittman has enjoyed the fan support in Billings.
“The fans have been great there,” he said. “We had a pretty big break from not being there and the last couple year’s it’s been pretty good.”
NOTES: Brad Sweet is second in the points with 6,628 points. … The Big Sky Brawl at Billings is the circuit’s only stop in Montana. … The winner will receive $10,000. … The first World of Outlaws race at Big Sky Speedway was in 2004. … The pit gate opens at 2 p.m. and the grandstands at 4 p.m. Hot laps begin at 6:30 p.m. … Along with the Outlaws, WISSOTA Street Stocks will be racing. … Tickets can be purchased online at slspromotions.ticketforce.com or by phone at 815-344-2023 and at the track on race day.