Tony Stewart-Curb/Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and the Arctic Cat/Ford Performance-backed team scored a pair of podium finishes with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series over the weekend. Schatz finished second in Friday night’s #BeForTheCrowns 30-lap WoO A-Feature at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. And the current WoO championship leader charged from seventh to third in Saturday night’s Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania.
“The goal for the weekend was to be in position to challenge for a couple of victories,” said Schatz, driver of the TSR No. 15 Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J. “The TSR guys put an awesome car under me Friday night and we were right there. That’s all you can ask for. We were good on Saturday night, too, and I was hoping we’d have some long, green runs to see what would happen in traffic. Unfortnately, there were a lot of yellows, but that’s racing and we’ll keep plugging away at it.”
Schatz and the TSR No. 15 team returned to Eldora Friday looking to continue their run of success at the historic, high-banked, half-mile dirt oval. Earlier in the season, Schatz raced to a pair of victories at “The Big E,” winning the finale of the #LetsRaceTwo weekend in May and the 34th annual Kings Royal in July. The evening started well as Schatz topped the second group of cars in qualifying to earn the pole position for heat three. The track surface was lightning fast for the heat races and Schatz led from start to finish to advance into the Craftsman Club Dash. He finished third in the six-lap dash and started the 30-lap A-Feature inside the second row. When the green flag waved for the A-Feature, Schatz would battle Jason Johnson for third during the opening laps while front-row starters Tim Shaffer and Shane Stewart set the pace. Shaffer grabbed control of the top spot and Schatz zeroed in on Stewart for second during laps six through 10. Stewart’s night came to an end with a flat right-rear tire on lap 13. Schatz restarted second and chased Shaffer the remainder of the race. He closed in on Shaffer late in the race, making a bid for the lead on the final lap, but came up short and finished second at Eldora for the second time this season.
The Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance Curb team traveled from Western Ohio to Western Pennsylvania for Saturday’s Commonwealth Clash. Schatz won the race last year and also won the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup at the track this past July. He was the 20th of 29 cars to circle the 4/10-mile, dirt oval in qualifying and ended up seventh on the grid. Schatz finished third in the opening heat to transfer directly into the 35-lap A-Feature. In the main event, Schatz started inside of the fourth row and was mixing it up early with Kraig Kinser and Jac Haudenschild as the three raced for sixth. He took advantage of a lap-eight restart and passed both Kinser and Haudenshild, as well as Daryn Pittman, to grab fifth. The following lap, he drove by Stewart to reach fourth behind David Gravel, Brad Sweet and Sheldon Haudenschild. Schatz held that position until lap 24, when he passed Haudenschild for the third. With Gravel and Sweet battling it out for the top spot, Schatz worked hard to join the fray. He closed in during the final five laps, but a pair of cautions late opened up the track for Gravel, and Schatz would finish third.
With 74 of the 92 scheduled races complete, Schatz continues to lead the 2017 WoO Championship standings. He has accumulated 9,812 points and holds a 94-point lead over Brad Sweet. The eight-time and reigning WoO champion also leads the series in wins with 18 and top-fives with 55. He and Sweet are tied for most top-10s with 63.
The Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb team will make its third appearance of the season in Central Pennsylvania at historic Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg for this week’s 55th annual Champion Oil National Open Thursday through Saturday night. The race is recognized as one of Sprint car racing’s crown jewels and annually the biggest Sprint car race in the Eastern United States. The results from Thursday and Friday nights will determine Saturday’s lineup based on combined points. Drivers are vying to be one of 24 cars competing in the 40-lap finale, which awards $50,000 to the winner. Schatz is the only driver in the history of the event to be a five-time winner. Thursday evening will also include the 30-lap Summer Nationals A-Feature that was rained out on July 22nd.
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