Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz became the first World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman® Sprint Car Series competitor to reach four A-Feature triumphs this season after sweeping Friday and Saturday night’s FVP Western Spring Shootout at the Stockton (Calif.) Dirt Track.
Schatz raced the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance J&J to victory in Friday night’s 30-lap A-Feature, overtaking Brian Brown on lap 17 en route to his third triumph of the season and 207th of his career. The seven-time and reigning WoO champion followed up that performance with a charge from sixth in Saturday’s 30-lap finale to become a three-time winner in six starts at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds 3/8-mile, dirt oval.
“What a great weekend for this Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance team,” Schatz said. “I know everyone was disappointed with how things went in Tulare the weekend before, but all of us just kept working. This race team – Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti – is incredible. I guess that’s why they work for Tony Stewart, an incredible boss and person. We unloaded the car Friday night and just continued to make adjustments on it. We qualified well and were able to drive forward in the feature both nights. We had to search to find lines where the other guys weren’t. Just a great testament to the kind of team we have.”
After an uncharacteristically tough weekend in Tulare, Schatz and his Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance team responded by coming out and earning their first fast qualifier award of the season, topping Friday’s field of 32 cars. He finished second in the opening heat following a spirited battle with Sammy Swindell and transferred into the six-lap dash, where he started fourth and finished third. Schatz held third for the first 12 laps of the A-Feature before passing Brad Sweet for second. He stalked Brown for the next three laps before passing for the lead entering turn two on lap 16. Schatz pulled away from there, slicing his way through traffic during the final dozen laps to capture the victory.
Schatz returned Saturday with the goal of becoming the first driver to sweep an event in 2016 and also be the first four-time winner of the season. He qualified eighth in the 31-car field and raced his way into the dash by finishing second in heat two. The Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance team experimented with the car during the six-lap dash and Schatz finished sixth. In the 30-lap A-Feature, Schatz quickly jumped inside the top-five and, following a lap-nine restart, he grabbed fourth and then took third from Kerry Madsen five laps later. His sights then focused on leaders Joey Saldana and Daryn Pittman. He exchanged second with Pittman on laps 18 and 19 and seized the position for good on lap 22. Three laps later, he passed Saldana and pulled away from Pittman, who also passed Saldana late.
With 11 of 92 events complete, Schatz has earned four victories, seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s. He ranks third in the championship standings with 1,447 points and trails leader Sweet by 81 markers.
The 2016 WoO schedule resumes Wednesday when the series returns to Placerville (Calif.) Speedway for the second consecutive season. Schatz won last year’s 35-lap A-Feature at the quarter-mile, dirt oval.