Up to Speed: 1st Leg of the Northern Tour for World of Outlaws at River Cities Speedway

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Donny Schatz (15) and Daryn Pittman (9) race side by side during World of Outlaws action. (Mark Miefert Photo)

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — June 12, 2018 — The 1st Leg of the Gerdau Recycling Northern Tour for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series is set for Friday, June 15 at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D. The 2018 season marks the 12th consecutive year the series has visited the always thrilling high-banked bullring. Donny Schatz has won six of the last eight races for the Outlaws at the track. This edition of Up to Speed sets the stage for 1st Leg of the Northern Tour for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series.
The track
River Cities Speedway is a high-banked, three-tenths-mile. The track record of 9.269-seconds at 116.517 mph was established by two-time Outlaws champion Jason Meyers on August 21, 2009.
 
Past winners
Donny Schatz has won six of the last eight World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series races at River Cities Speedway. The North Dakota native had a four-race win streak at the track snapped last June by David Gravel.
 
Schatz returned to the winner’s circle in August of 2017 in the 2nd Leg of the Northern Tour. Schatz has won nine Outlaws races at River Cities Speedway in his career to lead all drivers.
 
Daryn Pittman, the 2013 series champion, won at the track in 2014. Kraig Kinser also has won at River Cities Speedway.
 
An amazing track record
Donny Schatz has competed in each of the previous 21 World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series events at River Cities Speedway and has finished in the top-10 in each and every one. Of those 21 top-10 runs, 19 are top-five performances. Schatz’s worst finish at the track in Outlaws action is a pair of sevenths. Last year, he finished third in June and rebounded for a win in August. Schatz doubled up that night, also winning the companion NLRA Late Model race.
 
Streak breaker
David Gravel snapped Donny Schatz’ two-year reign on River Cities Speedway last June by picking up his first win at the track. Gravel has seven top-10 finishes at the track in nine starts, with two of those being top-fives. Prior to winning last June at River Cities, the Connecticut native had finished second at the track in June of 2016.
 
Consistency is key
Daryn Pittman, Brad Sweet and Shane Stewart have all been very consistent in their respective careers at River Cities Speedway. Pittman won at the track in 2014, which was one year after he claimed the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series championship. Pittman has nine top-10 finishes in 12 starts at River Cities. Sweet, who is Pittman’s teammate at Kasey Kahne Racing, has seven top-10 runs in 10 starts, with five of those being top-five performances. Stewart has five top-10s in seven starts, with a pair of top-fives, including a third in 2015.
 
Plenty of laps
Jason Sides has competed in nearly all of the previous World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series events at River Cities Speedway. The veteran driver has made 19 starts at the track, dating back to 2007. The veteran driver has nine top-10 finishes at River Cities, with a pair of those being top-five, including a runner-up finish in June of 2011.
 
Veteran presence
Kraig Kinser has also been in attendance for the majority of the races contested by the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at River Cities Speedway. The third-generation driver has made 16 starts at the track over the last 11 seasons. Kinser won at River Cities in 2011 and has eight top-10 finishes at the venue.
 
Suits their style
Jason Johnson and Greg Wilson have excelled on smaller tracks over the years and both have had some success at River Cities Speedway. In a limited number of starts, Johnson has three top-10 finishes at the track, including a fourth-place effort in his debut at River Cities in 2015. He was fifth last August at the track. Wilson has a pair of top-10 finishes, including last June in the 1st Leg of the Northern Tour.
 
Building a notebook
Logan Schuchart and Jacob Allen, who are teammates at Shark Racing, have been racing with the Outlaws at River Cities Speedway in 2014. Schuchart has made seven main event starts at the track and recorded a pair of top-five finishes in 2016. Schuchart entered this season with six career World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series A-Feature wins. Allen, who is Hall of Famer Bobby Allen’s son, is Schuchart’s teammate at Shark Racing. He led the opening four laps of the main event at the venue last June, before contact with the wall led to a flip, which ended his night. Allen has competed in six main events at River Cities Speedway.
 
The next generation
Sheldon Haudenschild, Brent Marks and Clyde Knipp are among the younger drivers competing with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series. The trio combined has made just a handful of starts at River Cities Speedway. Haudenschild and Marks each picked up a top-10 finish last year at the track. Marks finished eighth in June, while Haudenschild was eighth in August. Knipp qualified for his first A-Feature event at the track in June.
 
No rookie here
While he is in the midst of his first full season on the road with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, Ian Madsen is certainly no rookie when it comes to racing at River Cities Speedway. The Australian has made four starts with the Outlaws at the track, with a best finish of eighth in 2014.
 
A strong local contingent
Leading the way for the local drivers is multi-time track champion Mark Dobmeier, who is the winningest sprint car driver in River Cities Speedway history. The Grand Forks native is a perfect three for three in the win department at his home track this season. Also expected to challenge the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series is Thomas Kennedy from Winnipeg as well as Austin Pierce, Jade Hastings, Jordan Adams and Wade Nygaard among others.
 
Tickets for the 1st Leg of the Gerdau Recycling Northern Tour for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at River Cities Speedway onFriday, June 15 can be purchased online at slspromotions.ticketforce.com or by calling 815-344-2023. Tickets can also be purchased at the River Cities Speedway track office, area ticket outlets and at the track on race day.
 
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