Donny Schatz was near-perfect last weekend as he led led his fellow World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series competitors to his home state of North Dakota for a pair of races. Schatz, who returned home fresh off his incredible victory in the 53rd FVP Knoxville Nationals a week earlier, led every lap behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J in Friday’s 40-lap A-Feature at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, and then took the lead from his TSR teammate Steve Kinser with five laps to go Sunday night at Nodak Speedway in his hometown of Minot to complete the weekend sweep.
“I can’t thank the STP guys enough for the car they have been putting underneath me,” said Schatz, who has seven wins in his last 12 WoO A-Feature starts. “They just keep digging harder and harder. Their will to win has really pushed us to this level. We came to North Dakota with a lot of momentum after winning Knoxville, but everyone keeps pushing harder. The track Friday was lightning fast and we took the lead from the start and never looked back. At Minot, the bottom was really good so we had to be patient. Steve was setting an extremely fast pace. I simply tried to stay close to him and see if I would have a chance to get past him. Luckily, I did with five to go and we got the job done from there. We can’t wait to get back on the track next weekend in Edmonton.”
Friday’s race at River Cities was the second stop this season at the 3/10-mile high-banked, dirt oval. Schatz qualified third in the field of 43 cars and won a thrilling race with Daryn Pittman in the dash to earn the pole for the 40-lap main event. The A-Feature went nonstop and Schatz maneuvered his way through the field meticulously and only encountered one problem during the race. With four laps to go, the five-time and reigning World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series champion made contact with a lapped car but was able to keep the STP machine going straight and would go on to win his 15th WoO A-Feature of the season.
The weekend concluded Sunday at Nodak Speedway, where the Outlaws raced for the eighth time. Prior to Sunday, there had been seven unique winners. But Schatz, who won the Outlaws’ 2012 stop in his hometown, was looking to become the first two-time winner there. He timed in second overall in the field of 32 cars before finishing third in the second heat. Schatz finished second in the dash and started the 35-lap A-Feature from position two. Cody Darrah started on the pole but had an electrical problem as the field was approaching the green flag, which brought out a caution. Schatz out-dueled Tim Kaeding for second midway through the race and then chased Steve Kinser around the 3/8-mile dirt oval. With five laps to go, Kinser slid high and opened the door for a lead change. Schatz seized the moment and raced away to victory.
The weekend sweep allowed Schatz to continue to pile up impressive numbers. He continues to lead the series in wins with 16 and top-10s with 47 and has closed the gap in the 2013 WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings. Schatz trails Pittman by 42 points as the series continues its annual late-summer swing through the West.
The WoO STP Sprint Car Series will venture north of the border for the second time this season this coming weekend. The TSR teams will travel to Edmonton, Alberta for two nights of action in the seventh annual Oil City Cup at Castrol Raceway.