Photo credit: Trent Gower
FARGO, N.D. (October 1, 2018) – One of Sprint Car racing’s crown jewel events was up for grabs over the weekend with the 56th running of the Champion Racing Oil Williams Grove National Open. Donny Schatz was looking for his sixth career National Open title, but the weekend got off to a rough start after timing in 12th quick in Flight A.
Schatz finished fourth in his heat and transferred into the main event by way of his fourth-place finish in the Last Chance Showdown. The nine-time and defending World of Outlaws champion started 22nd on the grid for the 27-lap main event, which honored the late Greg Hodnett.
Schatz began picking off cars at the drop of the green flag in his march forward. The current series point leader made his way up to the 10th position by the checkered flag, which earned him the night’s KSE Hard Charger award.
Saturday night’s National Open finale went much smoother for the Tony Stewart Racing No. 15 team. Schatz went fourth quick in Flight A in time trials before winning his heat and finishing third in Sears Craftsman Dash No. 2. The Fargo, N.D. driver was running inside the top 10 on lap 12 of the feature when he made heavy contact with Brad Sweet, who had spun to a stop at the exit of turn two.
Schatz was able to rejoin the race at the tail of the field for the ensuing restart, while Sweet, who is second in World of Outlaws points, was done for the evening.
Despite damage to his machine, Schatz was able to move forward and salvage a 14th-place finish.
“Overall it was a tough weekend for us, but my Tony Stewart Racing guys never gave up,” said Schatz. “I’m looking forward to getting back to Fulton on Saturday. We’ve had some success there in recent years. Hopefully, we can have a good run and put ourselves in position to get back to victory lane.”
In the six previous World of Outlaws events at New York’s Fulton Speedway, Schatz leads all drivers with two wins. Schatz’s most recent win at the high-banked one-third mile dirt oval came in 2016. In last year’s event, Schatz drove from eighth to third in the A-main.
With 10 events remaining in 2018, Schatz holds a 234 point lead over the Kasey Kahne Racing No. 49 of Sweet.
9/28/18 – Williams Grove Speedway:
Qualifying (Flight A): 12th; Heat: 4th; B-Main: 4th; A-Main Start/Finish: 22nd/10th
9/29/18 – Williams Grove Speedway:
Qualifying (Flight B): 4th; Heat: 1st; Dash #2: 3rd; A-Main Start/Finish: 6th/14th
2018 World of Outlaws Stats:
Top Fives: 45
Top Tens: 58