Donny Schatz scored a pair of top-10 finishes during last weekend’s World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series return to Tony Stewart’s historic Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
Schatz stormed from the 16th to eighth Friday and from 19th to finish fifth Saturday behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J.
The Fargo, N.D., native ventured to Eldora looking to win at the famous half-mile for the first time since the 2009 King’s Royal. After qualifying 17th and finishing fifth in the opening heat, the five-time WoO champion had his work cut out for him in the 30-lap A-Feature. Schatz had a great start and was up to 12th early in the race. He continued to charge forward, reaching the top-10 on lap seven and then advancing to ninth the next lap. On lap 15, he worked his way into eighth and climbed to seventh on the next circuit. The charge continued on lap 17 when he passed Paul McMahan for sixth, but a yellow came out that same lap and nullified the pass. He lost two spots on the restart but was able to regain eighth on lap 21 and was within a car length of Kraig Kinser at the finish line for seventh.
Saturday Schatz was the 33rd of 34 cars to hit the high-banked, dirt oval for qualifying and he ended up 21st overall. The STP team made some adjustments on the No. 15 prior to the first heat and Schatz stormed from sixth to second in the eight-lap heat. He would start 19th in the 30-lap A-Feature and, for the second consecutive night, charged his way forward. During the final 10 laps, he had one of the fastest cars on the track and was picking off cars for position lap after lap. On the final lap, he pulled beside McMahan for fourth but couldn’t gain the spot at the finish. The run from 19th to fifth earned Schatz his fourth KSE Hard Charger Award of 2014.
Through 21 of the scheduled 92 races in 2014, Schatz is right in the thick of the championship battle. Four drivers at the top are separated by 22 points with Schatz’s 2,943 points good for fourth, 22 markers behind leader Joey Saldana. Schatz is tied with Brad Sweet and Daryn Pittman for most wins with three, and is second in top-fives with 18, one behind McMahan’s 19.
This week continues a busy month of May for the WoO STP Sprint Car Series competitors, who will race 12 times over the next four weeks. “The Greatest Show on Dirt” will make its first visit to Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway Wednesday before Friday’s stop at Wilmot (Wis.) Raceway. The week concludes with a race Saturday night at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.