The beat goes on for Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and his Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team on the rugged 2015 World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series Tour. The six-time and reigning WoO champion became only the second driver to win two WoO A-Features on the same day at two different tracks by parking the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J in victory lane at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway Sunday morning just after 2 a.m. local time, and then again Sunday night at Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota.
“All I can say is, what an incredible group of people I am surrounded by on this Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team,” said Schatz after earning his 12th and 13th WoO A-Feature triumphs of 2015. “No matter what the challenge is, they find a way to come out on top. They gave me a great car at Knoxville Saturday both early in the night and after the rain delay. They left the track close to 3 in the morning, drove five hours to South Dakota, and then went right to work on the car so we were ready tonight. The will to win they have is incredible. It feels great to be part of what’s going on here. Thanks to Tony Stewart and our partners Bad Boy Buggies, Chevrolet Performance and Curb Records. We can’t wait to get back to the track Tuesday.”
The weekend started with the Outlaws making their debut at Crawford County Speedway in Denison, Iowa. With 33 cars in the field, the Outlaws went with a new format that divided the cars into two groups. Schatz qualified third in the second group and started third in heat three. He finished second and transferred into the 30-lap A-Feature, where he started 10th. A rain shower after the dash added moisture to the already fast 3/8-mile dirt oval, but Schatz found a way to move forward. The Fargo, North Dakota driver picked off positions during the first 10 laps to reach sixth, and then things got interesting late in the race that went nonstop. While Kerry Madsen and Shane Stewart exchanged the top spot on lap 22, Schatz had them in his sights. He closed in as laps wound down but couldn’t work his way past Joey Saldana to grab the final spot on the podium and finished fourth.
Saturday’s Mediacom Shootout at Knoxville Raceway was the Outlaws’ lone stop at the historic half-mile dirt oval prior the 55th annual Knoxville Nationals in August. Schatz, winner of eight of the last nine Nationals, was looking for his 23rd career win at Knoxville. He was the 16th car to make a qualifying lap in the first group and ended up fifth. Schatz won both heat one and the dash after starting on the outside of the front row. A 30-minute rain shower after the dash turned into to a nearly three-hour delay. Mother Nature threw another wrinkle into the night just after 2 a.m. when the field assembled for the famous four-abreast parade lap. Fog began to roll into the track but it didn’t slow Schatz, who went side-by-side at full throttle with Justin Henderson for nearly two laps on the locked-down surface. Schatz secured the lead and eventually opened up an advantage, but with each lap the fog got thicker and thicker. A caution on lap nine slowed the race briefly and, when a yellow flew on lap 15, the checkered flag was thrown because it was determined that it wasn’t safe for the race to continue.
Following the marathon at Knoxville, the Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team turned its focus to snapping a winless draught at Huset’s that dated back to July 2007. Schatz put out notice early that he had a fast machine by turning the fastest laps in qualifying and earning his second quick time of 2015. He finished third in the opening heat and advanced from sixth to fourth in the dash. Paul McMahan took the early lead in the 35-lap A-Feature and Schatz used the high side in turns one and two to launch himself into second. Daryn Pittman and Shane Stewart were able to get around Schatz while he was searching the track for speed between laps eight and 15. McMahan and Pittman got caught up in an accident on lap 19 and turned the lead over to Stewart with Schatz in second on the restart. Stewart paced the field for the next six laps until Schatz passed him coming down the frontstretch. One final caution bunched the field, but Schatz pulled away to score his 13th win of the season, 185thWoO A-Feature of his career and third WoO triumph at Huset’s. With the two wins on the same day, Schatz matched Sammy Swindell’s feat of 1992.
The results continued a remarkable start to the season for Schatz and the TSR team. Through 34 races, they have won 13 times, finished inside the top-five 24 times and earned 31 top-10s. Schatz has increased his lead in the championship standings to 182 markers over Shane Stewart.
The TSR team will be back in action Tuesday when the Outlaws make their debut at Granite City Speedway in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota. The tour then continues in the Upper Midwest with stops Friday at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota and at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, South Dakota Saturday.