Winning at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio was something six-time and reigning World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz has been trying to accomplish since July 2009. The Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver not only scored one win at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway this past weekend, he picked up two by sweeping the “Mother of All Sprint Car Weekends” Friday and Saturday at the famous half-mile dirt oval. Schatz wheeled the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J to a convincing triumph in Friday’s 30-lap A-Feature, then led all 30 laps in Saturday’s A-Feature to give him eight career wins at the track and eight WoO wins this season.
“I can’t say enough how good this Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance race team is,” Schatz said. “It starts with Tony Stewart giving us the chance to be out here racing. To win at his track, not only Friday, but Saturday, too — it’s not that often you see guys sweeping a weekend anywhere, let alone at Eldora. Like I said, it’s a testament to my guys — Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman. We’ve been trying to find a way to win at this place for a long time. They kept working at it, we did it Friday. Saturday, the car was really good and we had plenty of motor thanks to Ron Shaver and all of his guys. I wasn’t sure we were going to get Saturday’s show in, but everyone at the track did a great job so that we could race. The fans got to see a great USAC feature finish and then we were able to go out there and make it two straight. It was a really good weekend for us and we can’t wait to come back in July for the Kings Royal.”
Schatz led the Outlaws to Eldora for the first of three trips to the Western Ohio speedplant in 2015. He came into the weekend with six wins and the Fargo, North Dakota driver had finished second in his two most recent races at Eldora. The weekend began with Schatz turning the third-fastest lap in the field of 38 entrants in qualifying and racing from fourth to second in the third heat race. He started fourth in the dash and again advanced to second. In the 30-lap A-Feature, polesitter Kerry Madsen led the field to the green and took command during the early going. Schatz closed on Madsen as the leaders approached traffic and looked to be setting up to make a bid for the lead when a caution flag slowed his pursuit on lap six. Madsen pulled away on the restart, but Schatz steadily closed the gap on the leader and made his move for the lead coming out of turn two on lap 14. Despite Madsen’s bid to return to the top spot in turns three and four, Schatz motored past him and pulled away. He built a commanding lead over the next dozen circuits until a yellow on lap 26 bunched the field back up for a four-lap race to the finish. Schatz led the field back to green and was never challenged during the final laps and scored his seventh win of the season and first at Eldora since his 2009 Kings Royal triumph.
Mother Nature looked to be the biggest competition for Schatz Saturday with rain showers popping up late in the afternoon. The Eldora Speedway crew worked tirelessly after the precipitation stopped early in the evening and, once the track was worked into racing shape, Schatz qualified 11th in the field of 34 cars. He dominated both the third heat and six-lap dash to earn the pole position for Saturday’s 30-lap A-Feature. Schatz took the lead from the start by beating Jamie Veal into turn one and he continued his momentum during the opening circuits. Lap times were extremely fast and Schatz set a torrid pace out front throughout the race. Schatz took the white flag and looked to have the weekend sweep secured when a yellow halted his journey to victory. On the final restart, Schatz again was able to maintain the top spot and led the final two laps to capture the win.
The weekend sweep enabled Schatz to extend his lead in the WoO championship standings to 55 points over Shane Stewart. The eight wins are tops in the series this season, and Schatz also has the most top-fives with 15, top-10s with 21, and has led 160 laps.
The TSR team heads east for a weekend that features the first of three trips to Central Pennsylvania. Schatz will be in action Wednesday at Lincoln Speedway near Hanover, Friday and Saturday at historic Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg and Sunday at Weedsport (New York) Speedway.