Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and his Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance team closed out a busy July slate of World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman® Sprint Car Series action by finishing second Saturday night in the O’Reilly Auto Badger 40 at Wilmot (Wis.) Raceway. The finish aboard the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance J&J was the series-leading 29th podium finish this season for Schatz and his 12th consecutive top-five run as he chases an eighth WoO championship.
The weekend opened with the Outlaws’ return to Hartford (Mich.) Speedway for the first time since the fall of 2011. Schatz qualified fifth in the field of 18 competitors and won the second qualifying race to secure a spot in the dash. Before the dash pushed off, rain began to fall and ultimately the event had to be postponed until Sept. 21.
Schatz led the Outlaws back to Wisconsin Saturday to finish out the month of July. It was the Outlaws’ third visit to the 3/8-mile dirt oval. Schatz was the 30th driver to make a qualifying lap and the seven-time and reigning WoO champion turned the second-fastest lap. He led all eight laps of the second heat to transfer into the dash. An eight inversion pill put him in the fourth row of the eight-lap dash. He advanced from seventh to sixth and started the 40-lap A-Feature outside of row three. Polesitter David Gravel led from the onset while Schatz maneuvered his way into the top-five. The Fargo, North Dakota driver grabbed third on lap three and took second on lap five with an eye on tracking down Gravel. A caution on lap six provided Schatz with the opportunity to start next to Gravel, but he wasn’t able to take over the top spot. Restarts on lap 17 and 21 resulted in the same outcome. During the final run of 19 laps, Schatz was able to cut into Gravel’s lead on a several occasions but wasn’t able to get close enough to make a bid for the victory. It was the second time Schatz finished in the runner-up spot at Wilmot – the first came in 2008 – and the 10th time in 2016 he has finished second.
With 56 races complete, Schatz continues to lead the WoO championship standings. He has amassed 7,801 points and has a 243-point advantage over Gravel. Schatz also leads the series in wins with 15, top-fives with 41, top-10s with 53 and nine KSE Hard Charger Awards.
The TSR team returned to the race shop following Saturday’s race and will continue preparations for this weekend’s Ironman 55 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Missouri, and next week’s 56th annual 5-Hour Energy Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway. Last season, Schatz won the opening night of the Ironman doubleheader and finished third in the finale.