KNOXVILLE, Iowa (July 12, 2021) – Donny Schatz’s debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is now in the rearview mirror. The 10-time World of Outlaws champion was in a position to collect a top 10 finish during a green-white-checkered restart when a 15-car pile up collected Schatz.
Talking with @DonnySchatz after his night ends in a late @NASCAR_Trucks pileup at Knoxville Raceway. pic.twitter.com/GjeNnw7tXc
— Jamie Little (@JamieLittleTV) July 10, 2021
Schatz climbed from his Little Giant Ford F-150 uninjured and was credited with a 32nd place finish. Still, Schatz was excited and grateful for the opportunity to compete in a NASCAR event.
“I had a great time. It was a wonderful opportunity and everything was great right up until the crash at the end,” said Schatz. “I’m glad I got to run the entire race. The experience of running 150 laps was awesome. I think everybody with NASCAR and Knoxville Raceway did a great job.”
On lap 40, Schatz led the field to the green flag at the start of Stage 2 as he was the first driver to stay on the track at the completion of Stage 1. Schatz remained inside the top five for a few laps, but ultimately fresh rubber paid dividends for the competitors as Schatz faded outside of the top 10.
“I got myself in a couple good spots. We stayed out at the end of Stage 1 because we felt like the tires were good and that was the right call,” he said. “I just needed to keep more heat in the tires or just get a better restart. I got myself off the groove out of turn two and I got freight trained and put myself in a bad spot.”
The race was plagued by 14 cautions, all of which jumbled up the running order as the inside line was the dominant groove. On most restarts, Schatz had the disadvantage of lining up on the outside groove.
A late-race caution flew following the first overtime restart, which again put Schatz on the outside row. As the race resumed, the car in front of Schatz got sideways which triggered a big chain-reaction incident.
A total of 15 trucks came to a grinding halt at the entrance of turn one. Schatz suffered multiple heavy impacts, ending his night race with two laps to go.
“You had to be in the bottom groove for those restarts. Not being in the bottom was the factor that caused us to be in that crash,” said Schatz. “I’m just glad it wasn’t any worse than what it was. A lot of stuff got wrecked. I don’t think there were many trucks that didn’t have damage, but that’s the way those guys chose to race.”
?: We just know a lot of trucks were involved in this #NASCAROvertime pileup. ?#CornBelt150 | @knoxvilleraces pic.twitter.com/EEC4w2TfOf
— NASCAR Camping World Trucks (@NASCAR_Trucks) July 10, 2021
Following Friday’s NASCAR race, Schatz traveled to Wilmot, Wisconsin where he picked up a third-place finish with the World of Outlaws.