Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser earned three top-10 finishes in World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series action over the weekend while his teammate Donny Schatz picked up a pair of top-fives as the duo raced its way through Illinois and Wisconsin. A second-place finish Friday night at LaSalle (Ill.) Speedway highlighted the weekend for Schatz, who also charged from 13th to fourth Saturday at Beaver Dam (Wis.) Raceway. Schatz was racing for victory Sunday at Cedar Lake Speedway in Somerset, Wis., before being involved in an accident.
The TSR driver returned to LaSalle Speedway for the first time since 2010 Friday, and Schatz was fast from hot laps on. He paced the field in hot laps and was one of two cars under the previous track record in qualifying. The five-time and reigning WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion finished third in heat two and fifth in the six-lap dash. While most of the competitors were using the high line during the 40-lap A-Feature, Schatz was able to use both the top and bottom grooves. He worked his way up to second by lap 15 and pressured leader Tim Kaeding throughout the remaining laps. Schatz got beside Kaeding several times, but wasn’t able to get close enough to make a bid for the lead as the two sliced their way through traffic, and he followed Kaeding to the finish.
The Outlaws’ stop at Beaver Dam Saturday was their 20th appearance at the Central Wisconsin facility. Both drivers went late in the qualifying order, but each was able to crack the top-10. Schatz ended up ninth and started the opening heat on the outside of row one. Contact with polesitter David Gravel before the start of the race damaged the front axle on the STP No. 15, and Schatz had his hands full during the 10-lap heat. He would finish third, which was one spot out of transferring to the dash. In the 40-lap A-Feature, he started 13th and was on a charge again, finding a line that most of the other drivers were not using. The Fargo, N.D., racer drove his to way to fourth to earn his series-leading sixth KSE Hard Charger Award.
The weekend concluded Sunday night with the Outlaws’ annual stop at Cedar Lake Speedway, a 3/8-mile dirt oval where each Schatz won early in his career in WISSOTA action and scored a pair of WoO wins in 2008 and 2009. Schatz ended up qualifying 11th and led the early portion of heat two before finishing second to Sammy Swindell. He raced from ninth to fifth in the dash and was on the move again in the 35-lap A-Feature. Schatz climbed up to second and pressured leader Joey Saldana by the race’s midpoint. Just as he was making his bid for the lead, a trio of lapped cars was involved in an accident right in front of the leaders. When Schatz stopped for the red flag, he was contacted by another car. WoO officials claimed he was part of the accident and was forced to the rear after his STP crew made repairs. Schatz rejoined the field in 18th with 11 laps remaining and resumed his charge back to the front. During the next three laps, he moved back up to 13th before he clipped the inside berm and flipped. His crew would again make repairs, and he finished 18th.
Sunday’s finished knocked Schatz back to third in WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings. He has 5,213 points and trails leader Daryn Pittman by 141 points and is 11 behind Paul McMahan for second. Schatz continues to lead the series with seven A-Feature wins in 2013.
The WoO STP Sprint Car Series will open July with three races this week. Wednesday, the series returns to Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, S.D., before heading to Dodge City (Kan.) Raceway Park for the two-night Boothill Showdown Friday and Saturday.