TIRE TROUBLES COST SCHATZ GOOD RUN AT CEDAR LAKE
NEW RICHMOND, WI (July 6) – When things aren’t going your way, sometimes all you can is just keep plugging along. Donny Schatz isn’t having the kind of season he was shooting for with the World of Outlaws (WoO), but the four-time champion just keeps digging. Friday night at Cedar Lake Speedway, it was another roller-coaster ride from start to finish behind the wheel of the Tony Stewart Racing No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J. In the end, Schatz was credited with a 13th-place finish, but there were points when it looked like he was surely going to be a top-five finisher.
Qualifying has been a struggle for most of the 2012 campaign and that continued Friday at the 3/8-mile dirt oval. He was the sixth car to make laps around the track for qualifying and he ended up 18th on the final grid out of 28 competitors.
The result was a sixth-starting spot in the third heat, which just happened to include Steve Kinser, Sammy Swindell, Tim Kaeding and Craig Dollansky. Getting to second was going to be a tall order, but Schatz first had to deal with Brooke Tatnell. After a restart, Schatz zoomed up to fourth. Another restart proved to be the fortune the team was looking for as Kinser was called for jumping the start. This put Schatz in second and he finished there to earn a spot in the dash.
Schatz raced from 10th to sixth in the dash and started the 35-lap feature event outside of row three. He was on the move early in the race passing Joey Saldana and Mark Dobmeier to grab fourth. He then closed on Cap Henry for third and made a couple of attempts at passing him, but couldn’t complete the passes.
A caution with seven laps to go seemed like a good thing as it would allow Schatz one more shot at the leaders. Unfortunately, instead of going forward on the restart the car went back position by position as Schatz tried everything to hold on. His right-rear tire went bald and he had no grip the final seven laps and ended up 13th.
“We had a crazy night,” admitted Schatz.”I felt like in the heat and dash we had things going our way. Even at the start of the race, I was really good, but it just kept getting worse and worse. I didn’t know what happened there at the end, but I can see that we used up the right rear tire and I had nothing left. We’ll keep after it and see if things can work out different tomorrow.”
Schatz will continue his run through Wisconsin with the Jim Boyd Memorial at Beaver Dam Raceway on Saturday night.