Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz concluded the month of May with a pair of top-six finishes in World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman® Sprint Car Series action during the Memorial Day weekend. The seven-time and reigning WoO champion raced the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance J&J to a fifth-place finish Friday in the Circle K/NOS Energy Drink Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and, Monday, he finished sixth in the 35-lap WoO A-Feature at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway.
Schatz closed the gap in the WoO championship standings with his 21st and 22nd consecutive top-10 finishes of the season. Through 31 races, the Fargo, North Dakota racer leads the series with seven A-Feature wins, seven KSE Hard Charger Awards and 29 top-10s. He has accumulated 4,254 points to rank second in the championship, 37 markers behind Brad Sweet.
Schatz led the Outlaws to the Charlotte area looking to defend his 2015 Outlaw Showdown triumph. He opened the program by qualifying 13th in the field of 25 cars and started fifth in heat one. A last-corner pass of Sweet earned Schatz a third-place finish and the seventh-starting position in Friday’s 30-lap A-Feature. It was the 42nd main event Schatz had qualified for at the 4/10-mile, dirt oval and he spent the first 10 laps battling his way from ninth into eighth before the first of two cautions. During the next three laps, he bounced between eighth, seventh and sixth before holding the sixth spot until lap 24, when the action slowed for another caution. Schatz dropped back to seventh on the restart but raced past Logan Schuchart and Joey Saldana on laps 26 and 27, respectively, to reach fifth. He closed on polesitter Daryn Pittman for fourth during the final laps but couldn’t get past him and finished fifth.
WoO rookie Greg Wilson raced past Shane Stewart on the final lap to become the 11th different winner in 2016.
The Outlaws capped a busy month of May with Monday’s annual stop in southeast Indiana at the high-banked, 3/8-mile dirt oval in Lawrenceburg. Schatz entered the race as the winner of two of the previous three WoO events at Lawrenceburg. He qualified sixth in the 34-car field before finishing third in the second heat. Schatz started the 35-lap A-Feature outside of row five and got a great start, advancing four positions on the opening lap. A caution following the first lap forced another double-file restart and, this time, Schatz was squeezed by Joey Saldana, forcing him to take evasive action, which allowed three drivers to pass the TSR Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance J&J. He held 10th until lap seven, moved from ninth to eighth on lap 12, and then passed Sweet for seventh on lap 20. Schatz reached sixth on lap 24, when he drove around Christopher Bell and spent the final 11 laps tracking Kyle Larson and Pittman. He wasn’t able to advance further and finished sixth.
Stewart out-dueled Rico Abreu for most of the 35-lap feature to capture his third WoO victory for 2016.
Schatz and the Outlaws return to action Friday at Fremont (Ohio) Speedway, where he has won the previous two WoO races. In 2013, Schatz raced from sixth to win and, in October 2014, he started 11th and stormed to victory. The weekend continues with the Outlaws’ visit to I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Michigan, where Schatz has finished first in 2014 and second in 2015 in the last two WoO races at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval in Western Michigan.
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