SCHATZ OPENS GOLD CUP WITH VICTORY
CHICO, Calif (Sept. 6) – Donny Schatz knew if he was going to have a chance to win Saturday night’s 59th annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway things had to go well in Thursday’s opener. The driver of the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J had nearly a perfect night which included a victory in the 30-lap A-Feature.
“We had a really good night and the guys on this team really gave me a car for the feature that was really drivable,” said Schatz following his second consecutive World of Outlaws win in Chico. “We had a good race car from the start of the night. Kyle (Larson) was setting a pretty good pace on the cushion, but I figured I’d have a chance by working the bottom. We did and came out on top. Like I said, these STP guys have been working really hard and we’ve been running good, but you need wins too.”
Schatz started the night by qualifying second in the field of 44 cars. He finished third in the second heat and fifth in the dash. After starting the main event fifth, the four-time WoO champion began working his way forward following an early restart. He used the bottom to get past Tim Kaeding and Sammy Swindell then set his sites on leader Larson. The two traded the lead folioing a lap 10 restart and then Schatz seized command during the final 10 laps and pulled away to pick up his 120th career WoO A-Feature victory.
The Gold Cup is a points-based race which is lined up on Saturday based on points earned Thursday and Friday. With his night that totaled him 542 points out of possible 550, he is off to a good start. The Fargo, N.D. racer will come back Friday for another complete show including qualifying, heats, a dash and another 30-lap A-Feature.
The victory also moved Schatz back on top in the 2012 season championship battle. He entered the night trailing Craig Dollansky by 32 points and by virtue of qualifying second and finishing 19 spots better he takes over the top spot with only 14 points races remaining.