The winning streak reached five for Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and his Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team Saturday night following their 16th World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series A-Feature at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, South Dakota. The six-time and reigning WoO champion followed last week’s triumphs at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway and Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota with wins Wednesday at Granite City Speedway in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota and Friday at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota to continue their incredible start to the 2015 WoO campaign.
“I can’t say enough for this Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team,” said Schatz, driver of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J. “From Tony Stewart to our sponsors to the three guys – Rick Warner, Steve Swenson, and Eric Prutzman – and everyone involved, it’s so fun to come to the track every day. The racecar they put under me every night is unbelievable. I’m sure there are probably better racecar drivers out there who could handle it, but I’m the lucky guy who gets to drive it right now. Hats off to them, they just do a phenomenal job from the start of the night to the end. The longer the race goes, it just seems like it gets even better. They’re on their A game right now.”
Schatz led the Outlaws to Granite City Wednesday after Mother Nature pushed the race back one day. He was fast out of the box, turning the second-fastest lap around the 3/8-mile dirt oval in the Outlaws’ debut at the track. After advancing from fourth to third in the second heat and from fifth to fourth in the dash, he started the 30-lap A-Feature on the outside of the second row. Danny Lasoski took the lead from the pole while Schatz battled Shane Stewart for third. Joey Saldana was able to get by Schatz on a restart eight laps into the race, but Schatz came on late in the race, passing Logan Schuchart for fourth and Saldana for third with eight laps remaining. He spent the next four laps closing in on Lasoski and Stewart and, with three laps to go, the top three were navigating through heavy traffic. Stewart grabbed the lead from Lasoski and, on lap 28, Schatz took second coming out of turn two, then passed Stewart the next lap heading into turns one and two. Schatz pulled away on the final lap to earn his 14th win of the season and increase the number of tracks where he has won a WoO A-Feature to 73.
Two night later, the team was back in action at River Cities. It was the first of three races this season in Schatz’s home state of North Dakota. Schatz timed in second-fastest in Group A and finished fourth in the second heat. He raced from fourth to second in the dash to earn a front-row starting spot in the 40-lap A-Feature. Dusty Zomer got the jump on the start but, within two laps, Schatz made his move for the lead and began setting a torrid pace. While most of the competitors were working the bottom groove around the high-banked, quarter-mile dirt oval, Schatz was ripping the cushion and driving away from the rest of the top-five. He had built nearly a half-lap lead when a yellow slowed the action on lap 31. Schatz again pulled away during the final nine laps to earn his 15th win of the season and fifth of his career at River Cities.
Saturday, the Outlaws made their debut at Dakota State Fair Speedway, and Schatz was again one of the fastest qualifiers. He was the first car to make a qualifying lap around the half-mile, dirt oval and ended up third in the field of 28 cars. Schatz raced to victory in the third heat and picked up a spot in the dash to start third in the 30-lap A-Feature. In the main event, Schatz got a strong initial start and was all over leader Daryn Pittman, but an accident on the frontstretch led to a complete restart. Pittman took command and was followed by Brad Sweet on the opening lap before Schatz began his pursuit of victory number 16. Schatz drove past Sweet and then pressured Pittman, and the two exchanged the lead on lap five. Pittman held off Schatz for two more laps before Schatz surged by to take the lead on lap 10. Once in front, Schatz methodically worked his way through lapped cars and led the rest of the race to collect his fifth win in a row, 16th of the season and 187th of his career.
Schatz continues to lead the championship standings with 5,278 points and has a 196-point lead over Stewart. His 16 wins, 27 top-fives and 34 top-10s are most by any driver.
The TSR team resumes action Wednesday at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Michigan before competing Friday at 34 Raceway in Burlington, Iowa and Saturday at Beaver Dam (Wis.) Raceway.