MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (October 3, 2020) – The Champion Racing Oil National Open at Williams Grove Speedway was arguably the biggest Sprint Car race in the world in 2020 as it boasted a $75,000 top prize.
When the bright lights came on Saturday night at the big, fast half-mile oval, Donny Schatz delivered.
Schatz came into the event as the most successful driver in National Open history and added to his already legendary status as he picked up his unprecedented sixth career National Open title, topping a field of over 50 of the best sprint car pilots in the country.
“It feels good to win. At the start, I didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Schatz after the race. “We tried something in the dash and it wasn’t all that great. We changed it back after that. Scuba did a great job and made all the right calls. We’re standing here (in victory lane).”
Schatz started the 40-lap feature in the fourth starting spot and moved by Jacob Allen for third on the opening lap. From there, the 10-time World of Outlaws champion rode behind Logan Schuchart and David Gravel.
A handful of cautions plagued the race in the early stages, but Schatz found a way around Schuchart on the lap 12 restart. Schatz immediately went to work on Gravel for the lead.
The driver of the CARQUEST / Ford Performance No. 15 caught Gravel on lap 18 and patiently waited until lap 21 before placing a successful bid for the lead.
Schatz opened up a 1.6 second lead over Kyle Larson following the mandatory fuel stop with 15 to go. However, Larson found his groove in the final stages.
With lapped traffic ahead, Larson was able to reel in Schatz on the final lap. Larson pulled even with Schatz in turns three and four, but just as he did he bounced off the outside wall. That gave Schatz the advantage out of turn four and that’s all he needed to win the race back to the checkers.
The win was Schatz’s 21st at Williams Grove and his fifth of the season.
Schatz sits third in the point standings, but has closed the gap between himself and point leader Brad Sweet from 98 at the beginning of the weekend to 70 points with seven events remaining.
“You’re going to have years like this – it’s racing,” said Schatz of his 2020 season, which has not lived up to his high expectations. “When you’re building things from the ground up, you’re going to expect to have problems, you’re going to expect to have failures, you’re going to expect to have things not go the way you want them. These guys have worked their tails off – all the guys at Ford. All of our partners have stuck behind us in what we consider being in the ditch. But we’re excited. Tony (Stewart) has given us all the resources he can. I’ve got a great group of guys behind us.”
Next up, the World of Outlaws continue their swing through Pennsylvania with a pair of visits to Port Royal Speedway on Oct. 9-10.
World of Outlaws results:
Top Fives: 21
Top Tens: 37
Photo by Trent Gower Photography