FARGO, N.D. (September 26, 2022) – The World of Outlaws’ trip from the West Coast to the East Coast made a stop in Ohio over the weekend. A visit to Eldora Speedway for the BeFour the Crowns Showdown on Friday and an appearance at Sharon Speedway on Saturday made up the weekend schedule.
Donny Schatz looked very strong both nights, recording a pair of podium finishes.
After a disappointing end to the West Coast swing at Keller Auto Speedway on Sept. 16, where Schatz finished 23rd after making contact with the wall, the Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing team came out swinging on Friday night at the Big E.
Starting 12th on the grid for the feature, Schatz put on a show driving through the field to become a contender for the win late.
Schatz’s move of the race came on the lap 10 restart when he went from 8th to running three wide for second in a half lap. He filed into fourth before driving around the outside of point leader Brad Sweet. The following circuit, Schatz drove by James McFadden for the runner-up position.
Schatz then went to work on taking the lead, searching all over the Eldora Speedway to find a way around Rico Abreu. In doing so, he lost a spot to McFadden before taking the checkers in third.
“We just needed to be better there at the end. It’s a recurring problem – struggling at the end of the race,” said Schatz matter-of-factly after the race. “We had one good restart there where I was able to get around a bunch of cars. That’s really what got us close to the front. From there, I could hang with them for three or four laps and then I just stalled out. All you can do at that point is run the wing back and try to keep the tires underneath it.
“All in all, we got a respectable finish and the Carquest guys worked really hard. We would have liked to have got a win, but Rico did a really good job and didn’t make any mistakes. I tried a few things to get by him and that ultimately cost us a spot, but second or third, it’s all the same. It’s not a win.”
The Carquest/Ford Performance team then made the five-hour trip overnight from Eldora to Sharon Speedway for Saturday’s event.
Schatz was fast right from the start, timing in fourth and winning both the heat and the dash to earn the pole position for the A-main.
Brad Sweet snuck around the outside of Schatz in turn two on the opening circuit and never looked back. Schatz ran second for all 35 laps, holding off Sheldon Haudenschild and David Gravel at the checkers.
“I don’t know that we were missing anything tonight,” admitted Schatz post-race. “The Carquest crew gave me a great car. I just didn’t think the groove was going to go to the top like that. The track was really good through the middle all night and that’s kind of what we were banking on. Brad got to the top first and I kept trying to make the middle work and that really wasn’t the key. Once we got up to the top, it wasn’t like we were terrible.”
Despite not getting a win over the weekend, Schatz was still pleased with the performance of his team.
“The guys put together a new car for this weekend so when you can start out strong like this with a new car, it’s a positive. We are looking forward to next weekend.”
A $75,000 payday is up for grabs next week as the Outlaws head to Williams Grove Speedway in Pennslyvania for the National Open. Schatz will be eyeing his seventh National Open title.
In the series points battle, Schatz was just two points behind Haudenschild for fourth entering Keller Auto Speedway on Sept. 16, but lost ground after the DNF. However, Haudenschild suffered issues on Friday night at Eldora and finished behind Schatz at Sharon on Saturday. The gap is now back to just four points going into this weekend’s action.
Schatz and the entire Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing team would like to thank all of their great partners for their continued support!
2022 World of Outlaws Results:
Top Fives: 25
Top Tens: 48