Tony Stewart-Curb/Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and the Arctic Cat/Ford Performance-backed team scored three consecutive podium finishes with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series this past weekend in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The eight-time and reigning WoO champion charged from 10th to second Thursday night in the Clash at the Creek at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minnesota and followed that with consecutive third-place finishes in the FVP Platinum Battery Showdown at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wisconsin. The finishes behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance extended his consecutive top-five streak to five and 17 in the his last 18 starts.
“We are out here to win races, so we aren’t content with where things ended up this weekend,” said Schatz. “The Arctic Cat/Ford Performance guys are doing a great job. I thought maybe we would have a shot at Kraig (Kinser) at Deer Creek, but he did a really good job late in the race. At Cedar Lake, the top three cars were the same both nights and we were a third-place car both nights. We made some improvements early in the night, but just didn’t have anything for them late in the race. We’re trying to win races and continue to chase a championship. These are long seasons and you are going to have ups and downs. You just want to keep the downs at a minimum. We’ll be back in action Tuesday night and see if we can move up a couple spots.”
The Clash at the Creek had to be completed Thursday one week after the program was originally on the schedule. After completing three laps of the 40-lap A-Feature Mother Nature forced race officials to postpone the remainder of the race. Schatz restarted the race ninth and advanced up into the top-five by lap eight. Two laps later, he was in fourth and climbed up to third on lap 15. He passed David Gravel for second on lap 18 and set his sights on leader Kinser. Schatz closed on Kinser several times, but wasn’t able to mount a pass for the lead.
The weekend doubleheader at Cedar Lake provided Schatz the opportunity to compete at one of the tracks he first learned his craft. The North Dakota native first raced at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval in 1994 and has been back at least once every year since except for the 2006 season. He was looking to pick up his 11th career win at the track and worked his way in contention for the win both nights. The final result at the end of both Friday and Saturday’s 40-lap A-Feature was a victory by Kerry Madsen over Brad Sweet and Schatz.
Through 44 of 92 scheduled races complete, Schatz has accumulated 6,232 points and leads the championship standings over Sweet by 80 points. The eight-time and reigning WoO champion also leads the series in wins with 13 and top-fives with 35.
Weekend Race Notes:
• Thursday’s second-place finish at Deer Creek Speedway marked the fourth time in eight career starts at the track where he came home second.
- With his third-place finishes Friday and Saturday at Cedar Lake, Schatz ran his consecutive podium run at the track to seven.
- In Saturday’s program, Schatz earned his fourth fast qualifier award of the 2017 season.
The Arctic Cat/Ford Performance team returned to their Brownsburg, Indiana shop following Saturday’s race to prepare for a four-race week in Ohio. It begins with Tuesday’s 28th annual Brad Doty Classic at Attica (Ohio) Raceway Park. Last July, Schatz started 15th and charged to victory. Sprint car racing’s “Month of Money” begins Thursday when the Outlaws return to Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. It starts with Thursday’s “Joker’s Wild” event followed by Friday’s “Knight Before the Kings Royal” and the weekend culminates with Saturday’s 34th annual Kings Royal which pays $50,000 to the winner. Schatz followed his Brad Doty Classic triumph by finishing second in both the Joker’s Wild and Knight Before the Kings Royal A-Features before earning his third career Kings Royal victory.