Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz capped a busy June and opened July with a pair of World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman® Sprint Car Series victories and his series-leading ninth KSE Hard Charger Award. Schatz led every lap of the inaugural Outlaw Clay Classic last Wednesday at Rockford (Ill.) Speedway before charging from 19th to seventh aboard the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance J&J Saturday and leading the final 14 laps Sunday at Badlands Motor Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota.
“I feel awesome,” Schatz said following his 215th career WoO A-Feature victory. “It feels great to drive Tony Stewart’s racecar. These guys are incredible at what they do. We had the right starting spot at Rockford and took advantage of it and, this weekend here at Badlands, we just kept working. We didn’t qualify well Saturday but found a way to move forward and tonight this Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance car was really good. I’m excited to get back in it next weekend.”
Schatz and the rest of the Outlaws closed a 12-race June with by making their first visit to Rockford Speedway, which is a paved oval that was covered with Illinois River clay. Schatz qualified fifth in the field of 26 competitors and raced his way into the dash by finishing second in heat two. The dash inversion draw put Schatz on the pole for the six-lap race and he led every lap to earn his third pole position of the season. With the rough conditions, the A-Feature was changed from 40 to 30 laps and, for the third time this season, Schatz won from the pole position, leading all 30 laps. The victory was his 11th of the season and Rockford became the 78th different track where he has scored a WoO A-Feature victory.
The schedule continued with a pair of complete shows Saturday and Sunday at Badlands Motor Speedway, formerly called Huset’s Speedway, a facility where Schatz raced regularly prior to joining the Outlaws full-time in 1997. An early draw put Schatz behind early in Saturday’s program as he qualified 16th out of 20 cars in his group. He raced from eighth to fifth in heat two to transfer into the 40-lap A-Feature. The Fargo, North Dakota driver steadily raced his way forward from the 19th starting position. He climbed to 12th on lap 21 and reached 10th with six laps remaining. His late surged continued and he picked up three more spots to finish inside the top-10 for the 40th time this season.
Sunday’s finale got started a little better for Schatz as he timed in fifth in the first flight of 20 cars. Finishing second in heat two put him in the dash, where he started and finished fifth. In the 40-lap A-Feature, Schatz started fifth and held the fourth position during the opening 16 laps before passing Dusty Zomer for third. He took second from Rico Abreu on lap 26 and passed polesitter Joey Saldana coming out of turn two to lead lap 27. During the final dozen laps, Schatz pulled away from Saldana and scored his fourth career WoO A-Feature at the 1/3-mile, dirt oval.
Through 45 nights of action, Schatz has accumulated 6,250 points and leads the championship standings by 95 points over Brad Sweet. His 12 wins, 30 top-fives, 41 top-10s and nine KSE Hard Charger Awards are most by any driver this season.
Schatz and the Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance team will return to action this weekend near Minneapolis when the Outlaws make their annual stop at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wisconsin Friday and Saturday. Last July, Schatz won the opening night of the FVP Outlaws at Cedar Lake main event to give him four career WoO triumphs at the 3/8-mile high-banked, dirt oval.