KANSAS CITY, KS – The run through the Midwest last weekend included some ups and downs and a little weather to deal with as well for Donny Schatz and the Tony Stewart Racing team. The five-time and reigning World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series champion earned a pair of top-10s at 34 Raceway (Burlington, Iowa) and Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS) before Sunday’s scheduled event at I-80 Speedway (Greenwood, Neb.) was canceled because of rain.
After finishing ninth last Wednesday at Kokomo, Schatz returned to 34 Raceway hoping to finish one spot better than he did when the Outlaws last raced at the 3/8-mile dirt oval near the Iowa-Illinois border. Schatz led 15 laps of the 35-lap feature event back in 2009 before finishing second and his goal was to score his sixth win of the year on Friday.
He timed the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance backed J&J ninth in the field of 43 cars and scored a convincing win in the opening heat. Unfortunately, he couldn’t move forward in the dash and ended up starting the 34-lap A-Feature seventh. Things didn’t go well early for the Fargo, N.D., racer as he dropped back to 12th at one point before surging forward. He used the high groove following a pair of restarts to get back into the top-10 and then one by one picked off drivers until he reached fourth. Then he closed in on third place Joey Saldana, who also had his sights on Paul McMahan, who was in second. Despite making several runs at Saldana, Schatz would finish fourth.
Twenty-four hours later, Schatz returned to Lakeside Speedway where he had posted a pair of sixth-place finishes in 2010 and 2011 and a 10th-place finish last year. He qualified fifth in the field and raced into second in heat two to capture a spot in the dash. For the second consecutive night, he couldn’t advance in the dash and during the 30-lap feature, he raced between seventh and ninth. He would finish ninth, his 24th top-10 finish in 31 WoO A-Feature starts in 2013.
After holding second in the standings for a week, he and Paul McMahan exchanged the position following Saturday’s run at Lakeside. Schatz ranks third and trails leader Daryn Pittman by 146 points heading into this week’s races at Jackson (Minn.) Speedway Friday and Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway Saturday.