KNOXVILLE, IA – Donny Schatz knows that when he races at the famed Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway his chances of success are generally pretty good. For the better part of the last 12 seasons, the famed half-mile, dirt oval has been the site of some of his best performances behind the wheel of a World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series racecar.
On Saturday night, the five-time and reigning WoO champion rolled into Knoxville and once again showed the competition the fastest way around the track. Schatz wheeled Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance from the seventh-starting position and drove his third consecutive win at the track and career victory number 16 at Knoxville.
“This place is just unique, and we’ve come here so many times in the past and were so terrible and then one day figured it out,” said Schatz, after leading the final eight laps of Saturday’s 25-lap A-Feature. “These guys on this STP team do a phenomenal job and when it works it seems like it works at a lot of places.”
Schatz, who has won six of the last seven Knoxville Nationals A-Mains, started the night by qualifying 15th in the field of 51 cars. He raced to victory in the fifth heat and advanced one position in the dash from eighth to seventh. In the feature event, he moved up to sixth within the first couple of laps and then restarted on the outside of row three on lap five. The Fargo, N.D., racer moved into third on the restart and began chasing down leaders Brian Brown and Craig Dollansky. He passed Brown and then set his sights on Dollansky as the leaders began working lapped traffic. Schatz could run both the high groove and around the bottom, turning up the heat on Dollansky. He made his move for the lead coming out of turn four racing into the lead, which he would not relinquish on lap 18.
A red flag slowed the action on lap 19 and then another on lap 20. Schatz raced away from the pack during the final five laps to earn his third WoO A-Feature victory of 2013 and fifth win of the season in the No. 15 STP.
The track was just so good on the bottom,” continued Schatz, who also won May WoO stops at Knoxville in 2007, 2008 and 2009. “You had to go where they weren’t. I passed some guys on the top and then just took advantage when Craig (Dollansky) made a mistake. We’ve got a really good team and it was a total team effort here tonight.”
Schatz and his STP team now turn their focus to a busy run through the east starting Wednesday at Lincoln Speedway in Hanover, Pa., before two races at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg. Schatz, who became the only five-time winner of the Morgan Hughes National Open last September at Williams Grove, will be looking to continue his strong month of May that has included a pair of top-four finishes at Eldora Speedway and Saturday’s victory at Knoxville.