Donny Schatz tries to get through the first lap crash at Dodge City in the Boot Hill Showdown opener. (Ken Simon photo)

DODGE CITY, KS (June 22) – The story has been pretty consistent for Donny Schatz this season. On Friday night, the current point leader and four-time World of Outlaws champion had to dig himself out of a hole and charge forward in the A-Feature event. Schatz, who had the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J contacted both in his heat and the A-Feature, never gave up and charged to a fifth-place finish in Friday’s Boot Hill Showdown.

The night started with Schatz hitting the track 17th in the field of 31 cars. He turned the ninth-best lap when he went out, but the Fargo, N.D., native was beaten by four drivers that followed him and he ended up 13th. One spot out of the heat inversion, meant he’d start fifth in the opening heat. Trouble started quickly as the Swindell’s (Kevin and Sammy) started a melee that collected Schatz. The STP crew made repairs and Schatz charged from ninth to third and narrowly missed taking second from Sammy at the stripe.

With the the finish, he was qualified for the 30-lap A-Feature. He started 13th and trouble struck again as Kevin Swindell was again involved in an accident that collected Schatz and Kraig Kinser. Schatz was able to keep going, but raced the entire 30-lapper with damage. He worked his way from the midpoint of the field and worked his way all the way up to fifth when the race was complete, earning him his series-best fifth KSE Hard Charger Award of 2012.

His TSR teammate Steve Kinser won the race and closed the gap in the championship standings. Schatz now leads Kinser by six points heading into Saturday night’s Boot Hill Showdown finale at Dodge City Raceway Park.