ROSSBURG, OHIO (May 5) – Five-time and reigning World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz led the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) contingent during the two-night Outlaw Thunder event at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Schatz drove the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J from 24th to fourth in Friday’s 30-lap A-Feature and finished third in Saturday’s main event.
Schatz entered the two-night program at Eldora Speedway looking to end a 14-race winless streak at the high-banked, half-mile dirt oval. Things didn’t get off to the best start for the Fargo, N.D., racer as he was the final car to make a qualifying lap. Schatz ended up 26th in the field of 39 cars. He finished sixth in the second heat and would have to earn his position in the 30-lap A-Feature by racing through the Last Chance Showdown. Schatz started eighth and used a late pass for fourth to qualify for the main event. He was a man on a mission during the A-Feature, charging from the 24th starting position up to fourth, earning his third KSE Hard Charger Award of the season.
The momentum carried over to Saturday night for Schatz. He qualified 13th, finished second in the opening heat and raced from eighth to fifth in the dash to earn the fifth starting position in Saturday’s 30-lap A-Feature. He quickly jumped up to fourth on the first lap and drove the high line near Eldora’s famous concrete wall during the opening laps. Schatz made his move by working the low line in turns one and two. He passed Paul McMahan for third on lap 10 and, two laps later, took second from Brian Brown and the lead from Brad Sweet heading into turn four. Unfortunately for Schatz, a yellow flag came out before he crossed the finish line, so the lap didn’t count and he was put back to third behind Brown and Sweet for the restart. When the race resumed, he passed Sweet and set his sights on Brown. A caution with seven laps remaining eliminated any need for the leaders to deal with lapped traffic the rest of the way. On the ensuing restart, Daryn Pittman was able to dive under Brown and Schatz to take the lead. Schatz pressured Brown the rest of the way but finished third.
Kerry Madsen of Keneric Racing won Friday’s A-Feature, and Pittman earned his fourth A-Feature win of the season Saturday.
Following the results of last week, Schatz ranks third in the 2013 WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings with 2,529 points. He trails leader Pittman by 171 markers after 19 of 85 scheduled nights of racing.
Next up for TSR is a pair of single-night programs this weekend – Friday at Elko (Minn.) Speedway and Saturday at historic Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway.