Photo by Travis Branch/Frank’s Photos
FARGO, N.D. (September 24, 2018) – Donny Schatz and the Tony Stewart Racing No. 15 team made the 2,300 mile haul from California to Ohio for Friday’s BeFour the Crowns Showdown at Eldora Speedway.
Coming into the night, Schatz had won four of the five events held at Eldora Speedway in 2018, but the “Big E” wasn’t as kind to the nine-time and defending World of Outlaws champion on Friday. A less than ideal result in time trials yielded a sixth-place finish in the heat; one spot shy of transferring into the A-main. Schatz then finished fifth in the Last Chance Showdown, one spot shy of a transfer position once again.
That forced the current series point leader to take a provisional for the first time since September 9, 2017, which placed him in the 25th starting position for the 30-lap main event. Schatz began moving forward and picking off positions at the drop of the green flag. Multiple racing grooves around the high-banked half-mile allowed Schatz to drive all the way up to 13th at the checkers.
On Saturday night, the series made another visit to Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Penn. The Commonwealth Clash got off to a better start for Schatz with a seventh-place effort in time trials. The Fargo, N.D. driver finish second in the heat and earned the third starting position for the main event after a podium run in the Sears Craftsman Dash.
After battling with Brad Sweet and Logan Schuchart early on for third, Schatz eventually moved forward to get by Daryn Pittman for second. Schatz then reeled in Tim Shaffer and completed a textbook slide job in turns one and two to take the point on lap 22.
Schatz held the lead until Sweet came charging back with seven laps remaining. Using a lapped car as a pick, Sweet took the lead in turns three and four as they completed lap 29.
Schatz had one last chance to regain the lead on a late-race restart, but couldn’t clear the Kasey Kahne Racing No. 49. Schatz came home in the second spot to collect his 45th top five of the season.
“The track was tricky. Second isn’t bad, especially considering the night we had at Eldora. I didn’t have much grip and I’m not going to use Brad up or run myself off the track,” said Schatz of the late-race restart after his runner-up finish at Lernerville. “Luckily, I have these [crew] guys behind me and we’ll have more grip next time we come back”
Schatz’s lead in the World of Outlaws points currently sits at 218 over Sweet.
The World of Outlaws head to the famed Williams Grove Speedway this weekend for the Champion Racing Oil National Open. Schatz is a five-time champion of the National Open, collecting wins in 2012, 2007, 2005, 2004 and 2000. In the 2017 edition of the event, Schatz finished second behind David Gravel and set Quick Time in time trials over the 42 car field.
“Our thoughts continue to be with the family and friends of Greg Hodnett and the Heffner Racing team,” continued Schatz. “He was a great competitor and an even better person. He will be greatly missed.”
9/21/18 – Eldora Speedway:
Qualifying (Flight B): 10th; Heat: 6th; B-Main: 5th; A-Main Start/Finish: 25th/13th
9/22/18 – Lernerville Speedway:
Qualifying: 7th; Heat: 2nd; Dash: 3rd; A-Main Start/Finish: 3rd/2nd
2018 World of Outlaws Stats:
Top Fives: 45
Top Tens: 57