Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance saved their best for last over the weekend, dominating Saturday night’s World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman® Sprint Car Series 35-lap Commonwealth Clash A-Feature at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania. The seven-time and reigning WoO champion drove the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance J&J to his 23rd triumph of the campaign after finishing second and fourth earlier in the week.
“This Bad Boy Off/Chevrolet Performance car was really fun to drive,” Schatz said. “This race team worked really hard and it paid off. We had a couple of things change on us both Wednesday night and Friday at the Four-Crown during the feature and we wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. We were good in the dashes and early in the feature, but not at the end. Anytime you give these guys the opportunity to change something, it’s always for the better. We just had to bide our time tonight and it paid off. Everyone puts so much emphasis on the starts, but they never pay a race off the starts. You have to make sure you’re good at the end. That’s something the guys Tony Stewart has put around me do an awesome job at.”
Schatz debuted the #ThinkPink scheme Friday at Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio and looked poised to earn his first victory in the WoO portion of the Four-Crown Nationals. He qualified fourth in the second group of 42 cars and was strong in the fourth heat race, winning it convincingly after an early side-by-side battle with Daryn Pittman. The reigning Kings Royal winner raced from fifth to second in the Craftsman Club Dash to earn a front-row starting position for the 30-lap A-Feature. In the first two attempts to start the race, Schatz took the lead from Pittman but, each time, on track incidents deeper in the field nullified the starts. In the third attempt, Schatz again took the lead, but once again the start didn’t count because of an accident. A 10-minute delay followed to repair the fence before the race was finally underway. Pittman took command of the race on the fourth restart while Schatz battled Shane Stewart for second. Stewart ultimately took the position with a slide job in turns three and four and Schatz held the third position for most of the race. A caution with four laps remaining bunched up the field, but it did help the chances of the TSR No. 15 as both Logan Schuchart and David Gravel passed Schatz when the race went back to green. Schatz got back by Gravel in the next corner, and then raced with Pittman for third during the final three laps.
Stewart would score his eighth victory of the season ahead of Schuchart, Pittman and Schatz.
The Outlaws’ weekend doubleheader concluded with Saturday’s return to Western Pennsylvania and the scenic Lernerville Speedway. Schatz, who finished second in July’s Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup, was looking to finish one position better and earn his seventh career WoO victory at the half-mile, dirt oval. The Fargo, North Dakota pilot was the second driver to circle the track against the clock and would post the seventh-best lap in the 35-car field. Schatz raced to victory in heat three and grabbed one of the eight positions in the Craftsman Club Dash. Schatz started fourth in the dash and spent a good portion of the six-lap race battling Tim Shaffer for third before finishing fourth. Schuchart and Brad Sweet led the field to the green in the 35-lap main event and Schatz followed the duo during the opening two laps. He took second from Sweet following an early restart and then grabbed the lead from Schuchart on lap 14. Once in front, Schatz drove away from the field lapping up to eighth position and winning by 7.620 seconds over Schuchart and Sweet.
The victory was his 23rd of the season and 227th of his career. It also pushed his advantage in the 2016 WoO championship standings to 284 points over Pittman. Through 74 races, Schatz leads all drivers in victories with 23, top-fives with 55 and top-10s with 70. Only nine races remain in this, his 20th season of competition with “The Greatest Show on Dirt.”
The focus this week turns toward the $50,000-to-win Morgan Hughes National Open at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Schatz is the only driver in the race’s 53-year history to win the event five times. The event includes three nights of racing beginning Thursday and culminating with a 40-lap A-Feature Saturday night.