Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz concluded the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series 11-race California tour with a pair of top-four finishes last weekend at Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford and Perris Auto Speedway. The six-time and reigning WoO champion charged the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J from 16th to fourth Friday in Hanford and finished third Saturday in Perris.
The weekend concluded five weekends of action in the Golden State for the Outlaws. It was a successful tour for Schatz, who picked up four wins, finished inside the top-four eight times and grabbed the top spot in the championship standings following his March 28 victory in the Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico. With 17 of the 88 scheduled nights of racing completed, Schatz leads the standings by 23 markers over Shane Stewart and has a series-best five wins, 11 top-fives and 15 top-10s.
Schatz led the Outlaws to Keller Auto Speedway Friday following his triumph last Sunday at Calistoga Speedway. The Fargo, North Dakota racer, who topped the field at the 3/8-mile dirt oval back in 2013, started the evening by qualifying 17th in the field of 27 entries. He raced from sixth to fourth in the second heat to transfer into the 35-lap A-Feature, where he started on the outside of row eight. While Stewart and fellow front-row starter Bud Kaeding battled for the early lead, Schatz picked his way through the field. A number of early cautions provided restart opportunities for Schatz and he took advantage of them. He was up to 10th by lap eight and made a big move on a lap-11 restart and climbed into the top-five. Schatz would ultimately work his way past Kaeding and finish the main event fourth. The drive from 16th to fourth earned Schatz his first KSE Hard Charger Award of the season.
Stewart led all 35 laps and became the fourth driver with multiple victories in 2015.
Schatz and the TSR team traveled south to Perris Auto Speedway Saturday for the Outlaws’ annual appearance at the half-mile, semi-banked dirt oval. After qualifying fifth, Schatz raced to victory in the opening heat and started the dash on the outside of the front row. He raced to a convincing triumph in the six-lap dash to earn the pole position for the 30-lap A-Feature. Kerry Madsen and Schatz exchanged the lead twice on the opening lap of the A-Feature with Madsen taking the spot. Schatz had a thrilling battle for second with Joey Saldana and Paul McMahan during the next circuit. Saldana would take second and, one lap later, grab the lead while Schatz battled McMahan, Madsen, Stewart and Brad Sweet. At one point, Schatz was sixth before coming on late to pass Stewart, Madsen, and Sweet to grab third.
McMahan passed Saldana with two laps remaining and held on to become the ninth different driver to score a WoO A-Feature triumph in 2015.
The focus now turns to Texas for Schatz and the TSR team. They will travel to Devils Bowl Speedway in Mesquite for the two-night Texas Outlaw Showdown Friday and Saturday. Last April, Schatz won the opening night of the Texas Outlaw Showdown. It was his first career victory at the track where the Outlaws hosted their first-ever race back in 1978.