Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz made it two wins in two World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series starts last week to continue his quest for an eighth WoO championship during this his 20th season of competing with “The Greatest Show on Dirt.”
First, it was a dominating flag-to-flag victory behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Off Road/ Chevrolet Performance J&J at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Nebraska last Tuesday. And Sunday night, the Fargo, North Dakota resident nearly pulled off a clean sweep as he established a track record, won his heat and captured the 40-lap A-Feature in the Outlaws’ debut at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.
The victories increased his WoO series season-leading total to 18 and pushed his lead to 250 markers in the championship standings with 23 races remaining on the schedule. Sunday’s race at Angell Park was special for many reasons, including the fact Ted Johnson, the late WoO founder, first saw the Midgets perform the four-abreast parade lap at the historic 1/3-mile dirt oval, and it was not lost on Schatz.
“This is a fun place,” Schatz said after making Angell Park the 79th different track where he’s won a WoO A-Feature. “It has a ton of history and is very unique. I didn’t really know what the track was going to do. There was a top for a little bit and then a bottom. We were actually able to make the middle work, as well. It was great to see a great crowd here tonight on such short notice for a race. I love seeing all of the people and enthusiasm for our sport.”
The event was added to the schedule less than two weeks ago, but a standing-room-only crowd welcomed the Outlaws to the facility for the first time. Schatz was the sixth car in the field of 37 to make a qualifying lap and he made a strong first impression by establishing besting the track record with his lap of 11.718 seconds. He led all 10 laps of the first heat to earn a position the six-lap dash, which set the first four rows of the starting lineup for the 40-lap A-Feature. When the No. 6 inversion pill was drawn for the dash, Schatz knew he had his work cut out for him. His crew of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti adjusted on the car and sent him back out for the dash and he promptly charged from sixth to third.
In the 40-lap A-Feature, Schatz didn’t waste any time making his move from the second row as he quickly was side-by-side with polesitter Daryn Pittman for the lead. The two raced closely during the first 10 laps with Pittman maintaining the top spot despite several attempts by Schatz to get by. As the two maneuvered traffic, Schatz got stronger and was on the verge of taking the lead when a yellow flag slowed the action. It took two attempts to resume the race and that’s when Schatz made his move for the top spot on lap 18. He paced the field through traffic as the race continued with Pittman staying close, but Schatz pulled away during the final five laps of the race to capture his second victory of the season in Wisconsin.
“This race team is unreal with what they do with this racecar when they unload every night,” Schatz said. “It was fast right out of the box and got us qualified well and we normally don’t qualify that well. It feels good to finally have your name on a track record. The car worked better on the bottom in the feature. The top, I would get rolled over and a little bit too tight. I’ve been driving a Late Model the last three nights and I think that gave me a heads-up on what rolling on the right-rear feels like. The top was tricky. In (turns) one and two, it was right up against the fence and you had to hit it just right to be able to keep your speed. The racetrack was just awesome. We had a good race with Daryn (Pittman). He had a good pace early and I wasn’t sure if we would be able to keep up with him. The longer we went, the better the car got.”
The focus for Schatz and his TSR team now turns to a pair of races in North Dakota this weekend. He’ll race Friday night at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks and Sunday in his hometown of Minot at Nodak Speedway. Schatz, who drove his Dirt Late Model to victory last Friday at River Cities Speedway, will look to continue his winning ways in his home state where he won the Outlaws’ 40-lap thriller at River Cities earlier this season and the Outlaw’s August stop at Nodak the last three seasons.