Outlaws’ Paul McMahan wins Winter Heat opener; Kasey Kahne 10th, Kyle Larson 15th


World of Outlaws veteran Paul McMahan captured Friday’s feature win at Cocopah (Ariz.) Speedway in the opening night of the five-night Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown.

McMahan, who has also claimed the early Winter Heat points lead, was strong all night in the desert. He won his opening heat race and then finished runner-up in his qualifier to take pole position for the A-Main.

Aaron Reutzel seized the lead from him to begin the 30-lap feature, which was put under caution on the second lap by a multi-car incident.

One lap after the subsequent restart, Reutzel found trouble when he cut down a tire after apparent contact with the backstretch wall. That handed the lead to McMahan, and he never gave it up the rest of the way en route to a $12,000 payday.

“The race track was great,” McMahan said in a statement. “This was the first time I’ve ever been here. It kind of moves around all night long. It’s a great place, great facility, great event. Any time you can win it builds momentum.

“To win the first night out of 2015 with a brand new, experimental race car is phenomenal. We’re really looking forward to the rest of the week and the rest of the year.”

Joey Saldana, Danny Lasoski, Stevie Smith, and Roger Crockett rounded out the Top 5 finishers.

Meanwhile, NASCAR stars Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson had mixed fortunes in their Winter Heat openers.

Kahne picked up a 10th-place finish in the A-Main, while Larson, the reigning Sprint Cup rookie of the year, finished 15th due to reported engine issues late.

Afterwards, both Kahne and Larson expressed hopes of improving in tonight’s races at Cocopah:

Opening ceremonies for Night 2 of Winter Heat are expected to begin later this evening at 9 p.m. ET.