BARBERVILLE, Fla. (February 10, 2022) – It took Donny Schatz until June 18th to claim his first win of the 2021 season. In 2022, Schatz put a tally in the win column on opening night. Schatz put the Advanced Auto Parts / Ford Performance No. 15 in the lead for all 25 hair-raising trips around the fast, tacky, and choppy Volusia Speedway Park.
Schatz grabbed the lead on lap one over pole sitter Aaron Reutzel and quickly opened up a comfortable advantage. Late race cautions kept the field bunched up in the closing stages and allowed defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson to place a bid for the lead with four to go. Larson snuck around Schatz in turn two, but the Ford-powered J&J of Schatz came charging back down the back straightaway to regain the point in turn three.
Schatz ran a clean final three laps to pull away from Larson and claim his 23rd career win at Volusia.
“I’d rather land on the other side of the fence than run second,” said an excited Schatz after the race of the battle for the lead.
“It all starts with night one and you really need to get that first win out of the way as soon as possible,” Schatz said after his fifth career season-opening victory. “Starting on the outside (of the front row) was a blessing for us with the way it rolled out. I didn’t want to run down in the rough stuff, but there at the end I knew I had to if I wanted to win.”
With the win, the 10-time World of Outlaws champion heads into Friday night’s event at Volusia Speedway Park with the points lead.