Photo Credit: Mike Spieker | Speedway Shots
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (June 15, 2018) – Donny Schatz’s dominance on his home soil continued Friday night at River Cities Speedway with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series. Schatz collected his 10th career Outlaws win at the high-banked three-tenths mile clay oval in front of a capacity crowd.
After finishing second in the Sears Craftsman Dash, Schatz rolled off on the outside of the front row for the 40-lap A-main. Kerry Madsen jumped out to the early lead over Schatz from the pole position and showed the way in the opening laps.
Several cautions plagued the first half of the feature, which kept the leaders out of lapped traffic.
At the midpoint of the race, the leaders finally encountered the tail of the field. Schatz, who had remained within striking distance of Madsen throughout the race, erased the gap with 25 laps complete.
Schatz made a strong three wide move to pass two lapped cars down the back straightaway and put Madsen in his crosshairs. The following circuit, Schatz went to the top of turns three and four and drove around the outside of Madsen to take the lead.
Schatz quickly dove back to the preferred racing groove on the bottom of turns one and two as Brad Sweet and Daryn Pittman challenged Madsen for second.
Madsen fell to Sweet with 11 laps to go, but Sweet had nothing for the nine-time and defending World of Outlaws champion. Schatz comfortably cruised to his 11th Outlaws win of the season and seventh win at River Cities in the last nine races.
“There was nothing easy about that one,” said Schatz in victory lane. “That bottom was tricky, and my car was extremely tight. If I got to do it over, there is definitely a lot I would change on the car, but we got the win and that’s all that matters. I knew tire wear was going to be an issue. You didn’t want to chunk your tire out and, man, I really killed it in the heat and in the dash and those were short races. All these wins are special. You never know when your last one is going to be.”
Schatz was also in action with the NLRA Late Models. After picking up a highly-contested heat race win, Schatz rolled from the front row for the 25-lap feature. Schatz battled inside the top three for the majority of the race, briefly taking the lead at the halfway point. In the late stages of the race, Schatz faded back a bit and finished in fifth.
“I had fun. It’s a new car,” said Schatz of his new Rocket chassis. “It was good in the heat when the track was a little wet. In the feature I was slipping a bit, but you’re going to have that with a new car.”
Schatz wraps up the first weekend of racing in North Dakota Sunday at Nodak Speedway in Minot, N.D. with the World of Outlaws.