Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz became only the second driver in World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series (WoO) history to win 30 A-Features in a single season Saturday night at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan. Schatz made a dramatic late-race push in the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J to claim the victory by .138 seconds over Daryn Pittman.
“Nothing like leading one corner, but I guess it’s the right corner to lead,” Schatz said following his second consecutive win at Berlin. “Daryn had a good car. He was going through traffic so well but, the last laps there, the track started changing off. My car started getting a little bit better and we kind of expected a little bit of that. I honestly didn’t think we were going to get him. The last couple of laps, I just drove it as hard as I could without trying to get myself in too much trouble. I was hoping we would be able to get him coming off four. We were just kind of locked down around the bottom and were able to get by him. This feels great. It’s a privlegde to drive for Tony Stewart, Bad Boy Buggies and Chevrolet Performance and work with the guys on this team.”
With the victory, Schatz joined Steve Kinser as the only two drivers in WoO history with 30 wins in a single season. Kinser won 31 in 1992 and also topped 30 wins in 1987 with 46, and 1991 with 36. The win for Schatz also pushed his lead in the 2015 WoO championship standings to 459 over Shane Stewart in his quest for a seventh WoO championship.
Schatz opened the weekend Friday at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, competing in the Four-Crown Nationals. He qualified 10th in the field of 32 competitors before winning the second heat race. After finishing fifth in the dash, Schatz started the 30-lap A-Feature inside the third row. The fifth WoO A-Feature of the season at Eldora went nonstop for 30 laps and Schatz finished fourth behind winner Greg Wilson, Shane Stewart, and Rico Abreu.
The team traveled northwest for Saturday’s Berlin Brawl at the dirt-covered, half-mile asphalt track. It was the Outlaws’ second appearance at the track and the second time Schatz would be the final qualifier in the field. He turned the second-fastest lap out of 28 competitors and followed that by racing to victory in the second heat. He started fifth and advanced to third in the dash. The track conditions were a challenge and, before the dash, the team strategized for the 30-lap finale. Logan Schuchart took the early lead before Pittman gained the lead on lap six. Schatz passed Schuchart for second on lap eight and tried to keep Pittman in his sights. Pittman was checked out for most of the race, but traffic late in the race provided Schatz with the opportunity he was looking for. For most the feature, the high line through turns three and four was the preferred groove, but Schatz was able to make the bottom work on lap 29 and closed in on Pittman as the two raced down the backstretch. Pittman went high entering the corner and Schatz dove to the bottom and, when they came out of turn four side-by-side, Schatz had the momentum to beat Pittman to the checkered flag.
The win continued Schatz’s remarkable 2015 WoO campaign and marked the 45th time in 69 starts that he has finished either first or second. He also improved his streak of races without a DNF (Did Not Finish) to 172, a testament to the efforts of both Schatz and his TSR team of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman.
This week, the TSR team travels to Central Pennsylvania for the 53rd Morgan Hughes National Open at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg. The event has been expanded to a three-day program with complete shows Thursday and Friday. Saturday’s program will be lined up by points drivers accumulate during the first two nights. Heat races and a dash will set the field for Saturday’s 40-lap A-Feature that pays $50,000 to the winner. Schatz is the only five-time winner of the prestigious event.