Donny Schatz closed out the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series  stretch of eight races in 10 nights with three races top-six finishes in California. Schatz continued his championship aspirations by finishing sixth and fifth at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico and  fourth at Antioch Speedway. The five-time WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion charged forward in the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J both nights of the 61st annual Gold Cup Race of Champions, then closed the weekend with his series-best 53rd top-five finish Sunday. 

Schatz ventured to California looking to win the prestigious Gold Cup for the first time in nearly a decade. The 2004 Gold Cup champion began his quest for his 21st victory of the season by qualifying 18th in the field of 40 cars. He finished sixth in heat three and had to earn his spot in the A-Feature by racing his way through the B-Feature. Schatz patiently worked his way forward in the 30-lap A-Feature, climbing as high as fifth late in the race and challenging Kinser for fourth before Kyle Hirst snuck past him with two laps remaining. Schatz would finish sixth and earn his 22nd consecutive top-10 finish.

In Saturday’s Gold Cup finale, Schatz ended up 20th in qualifications and in heat four, he started fifth and drove his way to second to earn a transfer spot into the 40-lap A-Feature. Schatz started 19th in the 40-lap A-Feature and spent the first half of the race deep in the field before he began one of his patented marches forward. With 10 laps to go, he was inside the top-10 and worked his way into fifth by lap 35, where he would finish.

Following two nights in Chico, the Outlaws made their way to the Bay area for the final California stop in 2014 at Antioch Speedway. Schatz was the first car to make a qualifying lap on the high-banked, 3/8-mile dirt oval and he ended up seventh overall. A dominant victory in heat one followed and earned the STP driver one of the eight spots in the dash. He started sixth and advanced to fourth in the dash to earn a second-row starting spot in the 30-lap feature. On the ensuing restart, Schatz was able to avoid disaster after nearly being contacted by Shane Stewart heading into turns one and two. Schatz bounced off a heavy cushion and continued in fourth. The race went nonstop following the early caution and Schatz would hold fourth throughout.

Schatz leads the Outlaws back to the Midwest this week with a 196-point lead in the 2014 WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings. He has 10,374 points and leads the series with 20 wins, 53 top-fives, 67 top-10s, 392 laps led and 12 KSE Hard Charger Awards. Kinser ranks eighth in the standings with 9,172 points.

Next on the schedule is Friday’s return to Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer, Iowa, and Saturday at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minnesota.