BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND – For the third consecutive calendar year, Sprint car champion Donny Schatz has won his final race of the year in Australia. Schatz, the eight-time and reigning World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion, raced to victory Friday night in Round Seven of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway in Brisbane.
“It always feels good to win, but after the start we had on Boxing Day, this one feels just a bit better,” said Schatz. “I can’t thank Lannie (Nichols) and the guys over at Paul Morris’ shop for getting this new car together. Things went really well tonight. I’m happy to be standing up here and looking forward to building on this night.”
Friday’s race was the second of six races for the Fargo, North Dakota native and followed a difficult first night of action on Boxing Day. Schatz was involved in a crash early in the 35-lap A-Main that sent him flipping several times and resulted in a severing damaged No. 15 J&J. The team spent the past couple of days building a new J&J and Schatz adapted to it quickly Friday night. He qualified second in his group in the field of 33 competitors and then raced from seventh to second in heat three and won heat four after starting eighth.
Schatz raced from third to first in the dash and with the victory elected to take the invert challenge, giving up his pole position starting spot and instead inverting the field by 13 cars. He was on the move early in the A-Main, which was originally scheduled for 40 laps, but had to be cut to 35 because of time constraints. He climbed to 10th by lap four and seventh four laps later. On lap 10, Schatz was up to fifth and his ascent in the field continued. He reached second on lap 15 and set his sights on leader David Murcott. During the next two laps, the duo exchanged the lead and Schatz took the top spot for good on the 17th circuit. He pulled away during the final half of the race and captured the win.
The victory closes out an incredible 2016 for Schatz, which included 25 WoO A-Feature wins during his 20th season with “The Greatest Show on Dirt”, a pair of Archerfield wins to start the campaign last January and an Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions win in February at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida. His victory total for the season reached 30 Friday and also includes a NLRA Dirt Late Model victory at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Schatz will open 2017 Sunday at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway for the annual New Year’s Day meeting before racing with the World Series Sprintcars at the track Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night.