SCHATZ NEARLY WINS FROM 17TH AT DEER CREEK
SPRING VALLEY, MN – It was just the kind of race every fan wants to see. The winning pass comes on the final lap and everyone goes home happy. Well, usually the driver that finished second isn’t’ happy, but on Saturday night that was Donny Schatz. He might have been slightly unhappy that he didn’t win, but he wasn’t upset about finishing second Saturday night in the World of Outlaws 35-lap FVP Clash at the Creek at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn.
Schatz raced the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J from the 17th-starting position and into the lead on lap 34, but race-long leader Craig Dollansky got back past him heading down the backstretch on the final lap. Dollansky would then take the bottom groove and held off Schatz for the win. The runner-up finish was his 11th of the season and continued a streak of five consecutive finishes of first or second for Schatz.
“Right now, we’ve got things going,” said Schatz, who leads the WoO standings with 10 races remaining in the 2012 season. “We are doing our best to win races and doing our best to finish second when we can’t win them. We know there is a long way to go, and we have quite a few big races still coming up. These STP guys are doing the right things and making the right adjustments. They have a lot figured out and it’s a good time for everything to be coming together.”
A late qualifying numbers didn’t help his chances as he was the 26th of 28 drivers to circle the 3/8-mile dirt oval. The surface was rapidly going away and the four-time WoO champion ended up 17th overall. He finished fourth in heat two, and in the feature, he had the STP machine on a rail charging into the top-10 early in the race and continuing to climb with each lap. He took second from Joey Saldana with three laps remaining. Then he used the low line to take the lead from Dollanksy coming out of turn four as the duo completed lap 34. Dollansky was able to get back past Schatz on the backstretch and then took the low line to victory.
The finish allowed him to maintain a 96-point lead heading into Wednesday’s race at Eagle Raceway. The event was originally scheduled for April, but fell victim to rain. The TSR crew will then travel to Eldora Speedway for Friday’s race, which kicks off 4-Crown weekend. The following night, they’ll return to Lernerville for the Commonwealth Clash, a race Schatz won in 2010 and finished second in last year.