FARGO, N.D. (May 8, 2023) – Donny Schatz had his strongest weekend of the 2023 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars Series season last weekend at Eldora Speedway for the #LetsRaceTwo event. Schatz collected a pair of podium finishes, highlighted by a second place run on Saturday. As a result, he jumped up three positions in the season standings, sitting 168 points out of the lead in sixth.
After battling for position inside the top five all race long on Friday night, Schatz crossed the line in third. Schatz battled with Rico Abreu for second for much of the race before drifting back a bit and having to contend with Brad Sweet to hold on to third. Schatz was able to fend off the charge from Sweet in the closing stages, and once again found his groove around the low side of the speedway. Schatz was reeling in both Abreu and leader Logan Schuchart in the final laps, finishing third by just a car length behind Abreu.
The podium finish for Schatz snapped a streak of finishes outside the top ten and gave him his first top five since Magnolia Motor Speedway on March 25th.
“We were kind of hanging in there at the end. I knew it was going to be like that about 10 laps in. I had to get the wing back just to stay with them. We can work from there. It’s a respectable finish for the night and we’ve got another opportunity tomorrow,” said a seemingly locked-in and focused Schatz post-race.
The Carquest / Ford-Performance team came back equally as strong on Saturday night.
Starting 11th on the grid for the feature, Schatz had his work cut out to make his way up to the front.
Schatz went to work on the field right at the drop of the green flag. He ran sixth as the first caution flew on lap seven. From there, he kept working his way forward, finding himself in third at the second caution on lap 12 of 30.
As the race resumed, Schatz worked by David Gravel for second before passing Abreu for the lead on lap 18. Abreu came fighting back, however, and regain the point on the following circuit. Schatz remained within striking distance the remainder of the race, but went on to finish second.
“These Carquest guys keep digging. There is no quit in them, that’s for sure,” said Schatz after the race. “Everybody needed (a weekend like) this – our team, all of our partners. The car felt pretty decent here this weekend, but we’ve always had good finishes here at Eldora.”
The next time the World of Outlaws return to Eldora, it will be for the historic Eldora Million in July.
“Before the feature, the team and I talked and the next time we come back here it pays a lot more money, so we figured we better try everything we could throw at it tonight to see if it was going to work and, man, what an improvement from last night,” said Schatz. “We were able to pass cars and get through the field, and not just start up front.”
Coming into the weekend, Schatz had finished outside of the top 10 in seven of the last eight events. Back-to-back podium finishes were a great boost of morale for the Tony Stewart / Curb-Agajanian Racing team.
“I don’t think there is anybody on the planet that needs a little bit of momentum after a string of 12th place finishes,” Schatz admitted. “There were a lot of variables in there that played a factor. Some of them were controllable, some of them were not. On my end, I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been kicked in the head and kicked in the gut out here and I’m used to it. Good drivers are and that’s what gets you to win a championship. But our team works so hard and they really needed this to get that momentum back. Hats off to them and everybody on this whole team.”
The World of Outlaws head back to Pennsylvania this weekend, with a stop at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown on Wednesday before the Morgan Cup at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg on Friday and Saturday.
Schatz and the entire Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing team would like to thank all of their great partners for their continued support!
Carquest Auto Parts, Advance Auto Parts, Curb Records, Ford Performance, Sage Fruit, Mobil 1, Absolute Automation & Security, Nivel Parts & Manufacturing, Hunt Brothers Pizza, J&J Auto Racing, Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts
2023 World of Outlaws Stats:
Top Fives: 6
Top Tens: 7