Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz entered last weekend’s World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series season-ending World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway with a career-best 22 WoO A-Feature victorious. The five-time WoO champion also entered the final two races of the 2013 season trailing Daryn Pittman in the season-long championship standings by 52 points.
Schatz seemingly did everything he could behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP Gas Booster/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J to close ground in the championship during the three nights of action on the 4/10-mile, dirt oval, but the Fargo, N.D., resident came up 14 points short of winning his sixth career WoO championship.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that we’re not getting the championship trophy tonight with the type of season we had,” Schatz said during Sunday’s WoO championship banquet in Concord, N.C. “I am proud of the performance that this team put forth over the whole year. I had a lot of fun racing and being with a great group of people. For everyone involved, from our sponsors to all the great fans out there, we made some great memories this year. I congratulate Daryn Pittman and the Kasey Kahne Racing team on winning this year’s championship. We put up some incredible numbers this season and are looking forward to trying to top them in 2014.”
The World Finals concluded the 73-race WoO campaign that began in February during Florida Speedweeks. Schatz kicked the Charlotte event off Thursday in impressive style during two qualifying rounds. He turned the second-fastest laps during both sessions in the same STP Gas Booster car he raced from 21st to first at Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals in August. Those results allowed him to chop eight points into Pittman’s lead heading into Friday’s action, which he started by racing to a second-place finish in heat two. Schatz raced from fifth to fourth in the dash and started fourth in the 30-lap A-Feature. He made a quick move into second on the opening lap and then stalked race leader Brian Brown for the first 10 laps. On lap 13, he took the lead with a move around the outside in turn two. From there it was smooth sailing as Schatz set a blistering pace and raced away to score his seventh career win at The Dirt Track and 23rd WoO A-Feature of the season. The victory, coupled with Pittman’s sixth-place finish, enabled Schatz to enter the final race of the season trailing by 32 points.
The championship would come down to the final night of the season, and Schatz knew he was going to need some help. He finished third in heat two and sixth in the dash to qualify for the final 30-lap A-Feature of the season. To win the championship, Schatz needed to finish 17 positions in front of Pittman. Schatz raced from sixth to third in the main event, while Pittman started 10th and finished 12th. Schatz was able to take 18 points off the lead, but Pittman earned the championship by 14 points, the closest margin in series history.
Schatz will have a couple of weeks off before heading to New Zealand to begin his International Tour with a pair of races at the end of November. More details will follow with his complete off-season racing schedule.
His STP crew will return to Indiana and focus on preparations for the 2014 World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series season, which begins Feb. 14 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla.