The victory total for Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and the TSR Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team reached 29 over the weekend following their victory in the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series 62nd annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California.
Schatz, the six-time and reigning WoO champion, started the week by winning his 200th career WoO A-Feature Monday (Sept. 7) at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington and made it two straight Wednesday with another win at Cottage Grove (Oregon) Speedway. Schatz returned to Silver Dollar Speedway Friday as the most recent WoO winner at the quarter-mile dirt oval with his Mini Gold Cup triumph in March. He was looking to keep both streaks going Friday during the opening night of the Gold Cup event. Schatz qualified fourth in the second flight and raced to victory in the fourth heat race. He started eighth in the dash and was challenging for fifth when he cut his right-rear tire. After his Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance crew replaced the tire, Schatz finished eighth and would start the 30-lap A-Feature outside of row four. His charge to the front was methodical as he worked his way around the treacherous track. He moved into fifth on lap 18 and, six laps later, reached fourth by passing Kerry Madsen. During the final five laps, he closed in on D.J. Netto and Joey Saldana but couldn’t advance further and finished fourth.
Schatz returned Saturday night with hopes of earning his first Gold Cup victory in 11 years. The Fargo, North Dakota driver dominated the 2004 Gold Cup, leading all 40 laps, and he was looking to add the prestigious Gold Cup to his remarkable 2015 accomplishments. He qualified fifth in the second flight and raced to victory in heat three. Schatz moved up two spots in the dash to earn the sixth starting spot. When the green waved, Schatz was on the prowl jumping up on the cushion and working his way up to fourth. On lap four, he moved into third and, the next lap, he took second and set his sights on race-leader Saldana. The duo maneuvered through traffic during the next 20 laps and Schatz searched for a way around Saldana. His relentlessness paid off as he was finally able to grab the top spot with a low move in turns three and four on lap 29. Schatz would pull away during the final 10 laps to take the victory.
The final night of the West Coast swing was a return to Antioch Speedway. Schatz was looking to earn his first WoO triumph at the track in his eighth appearance at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval. He qualified fourth, finished second in the first heat and charged from fifth to second in the dash. Schatz and Saldana shared the front row and Saldana paced the field for the first four laps before Schatz drove around him to lead lap five. He was in control for the next four laps before action was halted because of an accident. During the stoppage, disaster struck Schatz as his right-rear tire began losing air pressure. By the time the field was restarted, his tire was going flat. A pinhole caused by debris was determined to be the culprit. He relinquished the lead and his Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team replaced the tire. Schatz restarted 20th and worked his way back to 11th.
With 15 races remaining in the 2015 WoO season, Schatz holds a 418-point advantage over Shane Stewart and tops the series in wins with 29, top-fives with 53, and top-10s with 61.
The TSR team travels back to the Midwest this week and returns to action Friday at Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer, Iowa. Saturday night, it will race at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minnesota. Schatz is a four-time winner at Clay County and is looking for his first victory at Deer Creek.