CHICO, CA – Five-time and reigning World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz was looking to have some consistency with a couple of nights of WoO action in California this past weekend. The driver of the Tony Stewart Racing No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J charged forward Friday night at Stockton 99 Dirt Track, but couldn’t avoid a lapped car Saturday in the Mini Gold Cup, resulting in his third DNF of the season.
A standing-room only crowd welcomed the Outlaws to Stockton 99 Dirt Track. The newly constructed track provided some solid action, and Schatz proved to be one of the drivers able to move forward. He qualified sixth in the field of 44 cars, but found himself starting third in one of the most decorated heat lineups of the season. He started behind his TSR teammates Steve Kinser and Tony Stewart and next to three-time WoO champion Sammy Swindell. Schatz finished fourth, which qualified him for the A-Feature, but didn’t get him a spot in the dash.
In the 30-lap A-Feature, Schatz was able to run high and low in the corners and despite a number of cautions for accidents, he just kept plugging away. He worked his way into the top-five and didn’t stop until he ran out of laps while running third. The finish was his third top-five finish this season.
Saturday marked the return of the Outlaws to Chico for the Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway. Schatz entered the event as the defending race winner and despite a late draw (38th out of 42 cars), he was able to crack the top-16 and make the heat inversion. He would chase his boss, Tony Stewart, in heat three and then moved from ninth to sixth in the six-lap dash. In the A-Feature, he was solidly running seventh for most of the race before disaster struck on lap 34 when he collided with a lapped car entering turn three. The contact sent the STP machine flipping upside down and resulted in terminal damage to the No. 15 and Schatz was credited with 19th.
The California tour continues Friday at Merced Speedway where Schatz will look to challenge for his second WoO victory of the season and improve his position of fifth in the point standings.