Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz continued his blistering pace in World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series action, picking up two more wins over the holiday weekend. The five-time and reigning series champion has been on a tear since winning his seventh Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals Aug. 10, and earned his 18th and 19th WoO A-Feature wins of the season on consecutive nights. The driver of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J closed August with Saturday’s A-Feature at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash., then started September with a victory Monday night at Grays Harbor Raceway Park in Elma, Wash.
“We are just trying to do the best we can,” said Schatz, who tied a single-season career high for wins with 19. “I finally got a win at Skagit Saturday and that was big. It was the one place that eluded me for a long time, but no longer. We weren’t happy with how things went Friday there (finishing 11th), and the STP guys just went back to work. We set fast time and won the feature. They gave me a car that was phenomenal and it got better as the A-Feature went along. On Monday, we may not have had the best car but we won the race. The track really moved up to the top and the lapped cars made it a little tricky. Daryn (Pittman) got by me when I was trying to get by a lapped car, but we were able to capitalize on a restart to get the lead back. It’s always good to win. With seven nights of racing in a row, it feels good to start with a victory.”
The weekend opened with a complete program at Skagit, and Schatz missed the heat inversion after qualifiing 16th. Things didn’t get any better in the first heat, but but he won the Last Chance Showdown to transfer into the 25-lap A-Feature. Schatz was racing between 14th and 16th for much of the event before coming on at the end and reaching 11th.
The finish for Schatz was his first outside the top-10 since July 3 at Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, S.D., and he wasted little time putting it behind him. He paced the 29-car field in qualifying Saturday to earn his third fast qualifier award of the year. He raced from sixth to third in the dash and worked his way into the lead on lap 18 of the 35-lap main event. The victory was his fourth triumph in the last six WoO A-Features and was the 142nd A-Feature win of his career.
The Outlaws returned to Grays Harbor Raceway Park Monday for the traditional Labor Day race. Schatz qualified sixth and Kinser posted the 10th-best lap around the 3/8-mile clay oval. Kinser raced the Bad Boy Buggies machine to victory in the opening heat and Schatz finished fifth in heat three. Both drivers qualified for the dash and the draw for the lineup put Schatz on the pole. He outdueled Pittman for the win and would share the front row with the driver he’s chasing in the championship standings. Kinser would start the 30-lap A-Feature ninth. Schatz led the first 12 laps before Pittman took advantage of Schatz being held up by lapped traffic to take the lead on lap 13. A lap-17 restart not only gave Schatz a second chance, and when Pittman stumbled on the restart, Schatz retook the lead for good.
With 61 races completed in the 2013 campaign, Schatz leads the series with 19 wins and 51 top-10s and is tied with Pittman for most top-fives with 38. Schatz has accumulated 8,291 points and trails Pittman by only 20 markers with 16 races remaining.
The Gold Rush Tour continues with six consecutive nights of racing. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night, the Outlaws will compete in Oregon before heading south to California. The two-night 60th annual Gold Cup Race of Champions will be held Friday and Saturday at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif., and action concludes Sunday at Antioch (Calif.) Speedway.