Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz continues to make World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman® Sprint Car Series history in this, his 20th season of competition with “The Greatest Show on Dirt.” Schatz completed an almost perfect weekend behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance J&J, scoring a pair of wins in his home state of North Dakota to become the first driver in WoO history to win 20 A-Features in four consecutive seasons.
The seven-time and reigning WoO champion returned home with streaks of two straight WoO wins in 2016, five consecutive North Dakota WoO wins, three straight wins at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, and four in a row at Nodak Speedway in his hometown of Minot. All four streaks are still intact as Schatz scored a flag-to-flag victory in Friday’s second leg of the Gerdau Northern Tour at River Cities and led all 35 laps Sunday night in the Gerdau Magic City Showdown at Nodak.
“It doesn’t get any better than that,” Schatz said following his hometown victory Sunday night. “When you are a kid, like these kids here in the crowd, and you dream of doing something, that’s me. I’m standing here living my dream. Everybody all the time asks me how I am doing, and I’m living my dream. Thank you, fans, for being part of it.”
Schatz gave the North Dakota fans plenty to cheer about this weekend beginning with his dominating performance from start to finish at River Cities. Schatz was the fastest qualifier in the field of 40 cars, won the first heat, led every lap of the dash to earn the pole position and paced the field for all 40 laps of the main event to win his 19th WoO A-Feature and his first “clean sweep” of the 2016 campaign. Schatz worked lapped traffic masterfully, finding ways to keep Brad Sweet, Logan Schuchart and Mark Dobmeier behind him en route to completing the two-race sweep at the high-banked, quarter-mile dirt oval for the second year in a row.
Two nights later, Schatz led the Outlaw brigade back to his hometown in north central North Dakota. Schatz was the 18th car to make a qualifying lap and promptly turned the fastest one around the 3/8-mile, dirt oval. His time on top of the charts lasted only about a minute as Shane Stewart was the next qualifier, and he went just a bit faster to take the top qualifying honors. Daryn Pittman edged Schatz in the second heat and Schuchart paced the dash ahead of Schatz but, in the feature, it was a familiar story. Schatz took the lead from Schuchart on the opening lap and again showed incredible savvy maneuvering lapped traffic. A late restart took away a two-second advantage, but Jason Johnson wasn’t able to keep up with Schatz on the final two circuits and he parked the TSR No. 15 in victory lane for the 20th time this season and fifth consecutive time at the facility.
“I appreciate every win we get,” Schatz said. “They are all special and they are all good. The trophies are awesome and so are the people. Everything about racing in your home state and in your hometown is great. I’ll tell you what’s really great: it is this race team. Tony (Stewart) has assembled a remarkable bunch, and these guys (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti) deserve to be standing here. The racecar they prepare each day is incredible. I’m the lucky guy who gets to drive it and looks good. Their hard work is what pays off and gets us to victory lane.”
With 66 races complete and 21 remaining, Schatz continues to set the pace in the WoO championship standings. He has amassed 8,767 points and has a 271-point advantage over Sweet. Schatz also leads the series in wins with 20, top-fives with 47, top-10s with 60 and nine KSE Hard Charger Awards.
The TSR team will travel to the state of Washington this week for the Outlaws’ annual Labor Day Weekend Outlaw Energy Showdown Friday and Saturday at Skagit Speedway in Alger. Monday, Schatz will return to Gray’s Harbor Raceway Park in Elma, Washington, where last year he won his 200th career WoO A-Feature.