The run of second-place finishes came to an end Sunday night for Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and the Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team. The six-time and reigning World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series (WoO) champion led all 25 laps at Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, New York and scored his 21st WoO A-Feature triumph of the season. The triumph came after second-place finishes in Tuesday’s Don Martin Silver Cup and both Summer Nationals A-Features at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
“It hasn’t felt like we’ve had a very good day lately, I guess,” Schatz said after earning his 193rd career WoO A-Feature victory. “We’ve had respectable finishes, but this is where we want to be, we want to be winning. I guess you have to go through those stages where you’re learning a little bit, get beat, try to get up on your game a little bit. I’m happy to get a win for everybody involved with this team. From Tony Stewart to Bad Boy Buggies and Chevrolet Performance, they give us the chance to be out here racing, and my three guys – Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman – just keep working and working and working.”
The weekend started at Williams Grove with the opening night of the Summer Nationals. Schatz piloted the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J to victory at the famous half-mile dirt oval in May and was looking to continue carrying the torch for the Outlaws as they took on the famous “Pennsylvania Posse.” Schatz qualified fifth in the second qualifying group and raced to victory in both the third heat and the dash to earn the pole position for the 25-lap A-Feature. Joey Saldana took the early lead and set the pace for the first eight circuits before Schatz took command on lap nine. He would hold the top spot for the next eight laps until Danny Dietrich was able to make his move for the lead on lap 18. Schatz tried everything during the final stages of the race to get back in front but would come home second behind Dietrich.
Saturday’s Summer Nationals finale was next on the schedule and another shot for Schatz to add to his impressive list of victories in 2015. He qualified fifth and won the third heat for the second consecutive night to secure a spot in the six-lap dash. He picked up one position in the dash and started the 30-lap A-Feature in the fifth position. After dropping back to seventh early in the race, Schatz began working his way forward as the race progressed. When a red flag stopped the action with three laps remaining, Schatz had climbed to third. With just three laps to make his bid for victory, Schatz passed Aaron Ott for second on lap 28 and tried to track down Stevie Smith on the final lap, but he would have to settle for second again.
The Outlaws headed to New York for the annual July Sunday-night stop at Lebanon Valley. Schatz started the night with three career WoO A-Feature wins at the high-banked, half-mile oval. After Mother Nature delayed the start of the program with a brief shower, Schatz was on a mission. He qualified third overall before finishing second in heat three. He won the dash convincingly to start the 25-lap A-Feature from the pole. Schatz set a torrid pace from the drop of the green flag and was able to maneuver his way to victory to continue a run of 17 consecutive WoO points races where he’s finished either first or second.
The TSR team will look to build on Sunday’s triumph with three races in Canada starting Tuesday at Oshweken (Ontario) Speedway. Races Friday at Brockville (Ontario) Speedway and Saturday at Autodromme Drummond in Drummond, Quebec complete the team’s first run on Canadian soil in 2015. Last year, Schatz won all five races in Canada.