Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz charged forward in both World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman® Sprint Car Series Texas Outlaw Nationals events this past weekend at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas. Schatz raced the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance J&J from 19th to eighth Friday and 13th to fifth in Saturday’s Ted Johnson Memorial main event.
After picking up a win in each of the past two seasons at the site of the Outlaws’ inaugural race back in 1978, Schatz was looking to make it three consecutive seasons with a Texas-sized triumph at Devil’s Bowl. The seven-time and reigning WoO champion qualified 18th in the field and started sixth in the opening heat. The night didn’t get better in the heat when two cars in front of him got stacked up coming out of turn two and left him with no place to go but really high coming down the backstretch. He fell to eighth and wasn’t able to advance back into a transfer position and was forced to run the B-Feature. In the 12-lap Last Chance Showdown, he chased Jacob Allen for 11 laps before taking the lead coming to the white flag. The win earned Schatz the 19th position on the starting grid for the 25-lap A-Feature. He was a rocket in the first four laps, advancing to 10th. A pair of cautions slowed his pursuit during the next eight circuits as he bounced between eighth, ninth and 10th position. He held ninth from lap 12 to lap 20 when he seized eighth, where he would run the final five laps of the race.
Joey Saldana drove the Roth Motorsports No. 83 past Daryn Pittman on lap 22 and pulled away during the final three laps of the 25-lap A-Feature for his second victory of 2016.
The Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance team returned to the half-mile, dirt oval Saturday night for the Ted Johnson Memorial. The night started eerily similar to Friday when Schatz timed in 22nd. The difference came in the opening heat, when he was able to advance from seventh to as high as fourth in the first five laps of the heat. He finished fifth and started the 30-lap A-Feature inside of row seven. He was inside the top-10 two laps into the race and held seventh from lap five through eight, when the first caution slowed the race. He lost a position on the restart and spent most of the race in eighth. A lap-22 restart provided an opportunity as Schatz charged into seventh and then sixth on lap 24 and up to fifth on lap 25. He made five solid laps to close the race but wasn’t able to get past David Gravel for fourth at the end of the 30-lap race.
Shane Stewart took the lead from Pittman entering turn three on lap 23 and led the final six laps to score his second victory of the season in the No. 2 Larson/Marks Racing car.
Through 19 of the scheduled 92 races, Schatz is tied for most victories with five and he has earned 12 top-five finishes and 17 top-10s. He ranks third in the championship standings with 2,570 points and trails leader Brad Sweet by 107 markers.
The 2016 WoO schedule continues tonight with the Outlaws’ first stop at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Arkansas in more than 20 years. Schatz has not previously competed at the high-banked, quarter-mile dirt oval, but is a two-time winner in the state of Arkansas with wins at Batesville Speedway and Riverside International Speedway.