FREMONT, Ohio – Donny Schatz has had a career season. So much so that new rules are coming out for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series involving shock packages that may be directed at the STP/Tony Stewart Racing team…at least he feels that way in a tongue-in-cheek manner. But that didn’t slow the five time series champion down at all at Fremont Speedway Saturday.
Schatz, who had to qualify for the 40-lap A-main by winning the Last Chance Showdown, took the lead with a phenomenal move with five laps to go to, and drove to his 26th series win of 2014. It was the third time this season Schatz won a World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event having not run in the dash.
Schatz, of Fargo , N.D. , won for the second consecutive year at Fremont , but he had to survive a green, white, checkered finish to accomplish the feat.
“It was a great race. I can hear a new rule coming…you won’t be able to win if you run a B-main. Great effort by this team. You’re going to have nights like this. In the heat race we just seemed to get caught up behind the guys on the front row and made some bad laps and got us behind. We had to run the B-main and came back. Phenomenal job…these guys have worked hard on this race car. Hats off to the STP team,” said Schatz beside his STP/Tony Stewart Racing/AmorAll/Crimsafe/Chevy Performance backed #15.
“The race track was tricky. I just couldn’t figure out how to get my car to roll in the right spot until later in the race. I kept getting so tight on entry I just couldn’t get the right spot on exit. It took me that long to figure out how to do it…I was lucky I was able to stay in a good spot and stay with them and had some lapped traffic to get to those guys. You have to move around on the race track. You can work on these cars all you want but you have to run the pedal…you have to move the wing and do a lot of things. Hats off to a great race team and their ability to get it close for me,” added Schatz.
Bixby, Oklahoma’s Shane Steward would lead 34 laps of the feature and would have to settle for second.
“I got to a group of cars there and I wasn’t sure where to race. I knew my times had slowed down a lot. That team…Donny and Ricky (Warner, crew chief) and all those guys..they’ve mastered this type of race track. It’s made everybody in the pit area work hard to try to beat them. We’re getting there…we’re getting better on slick race tracks. I have to thank Matt at FK shocks and Steve and Andrew and Bob have worked extremely hard all year long. For a first year team we’ve had a pretty solid season. To come out here and compete on a track like this where I struggled earlier this year during Ohio Speedweek says a lot for my team,” said Stewart beside his Go Pro/Larson-Marks Racing backed machine.
“I didn’t have anything for Donnie on the last restart. I don’t know if I sealed a tire up or what. We’ll mark this down in the book as a lesson learned. Hopefully when we come back and we get this scenario again we’ll do better,” said Steward.
Fremont regular Chris Andrews, who passed 20 time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser to win the dash to start on the pole of the feature, would actually lead a lap of the feature and would come home third.
“We’ll take this..I thought we could pass Shane for the win and here comes the computer Donny Schatz to pass everybody. Our guys here are pretty tough. These Outlaw guys have had to learn to peddle a car a little bit…this isn’t a half mile locked down race track. It’s still pretty tough to race with them,” said Andrews beside his Burmeister Racing/Lucas Oil/Kistler Racing Products backed machine.
Andrews, who passed Steve Kinser late in the dash to claim the pole starting spot in the feature, and Stewart would pace the field to the green for the 40-lap feature. Stewart would gain the advantage over Andrews, fast qualifier Cole Duncan, Kinser and Brad Sweet.
The first caution would fly on lap three when Cody Darrah and Craig Mintz would tangle. The restart order was Stewart, Andrews, Duncan, Kinser, five time Fremont champion Byron Reed, Jason Sides, Schatz, who started 11th, and Gary Taylor. Andrews would actually edge Stewart on the restart to lead lap four, but once the laps started to tick off Stewart pulled away slightly.
By lap 10 the leaders were racing into heavy lapped traffic but Steward worked his way through with Andrews staying within striking distance. By lap 12 Schatz had moved into fifth and took third with a great move on lap 17.
At the half way mark Stewart continued to lead Andrews, Schatz, Reed, Sides, Duncan, Sweet, Daryn Pittman and Greg Wilson. Steward would methodically work through traffic and pulled away from Andrews by lap 25. But, heavy lapped traffic would draw the top three close by lap 28. With 10 laps to go the huge crowd could see Schatz was coming.
As Stewart led with eight laps to go, Schatz was on Andrews’ rear bumper with Side, Reed and Duncan in pursuit. Schatz would dive low in turn three coming to the five to go signal and drive now only around Andrews but Steward and a lapped car as well to take the lead.
The caution would fly on lap 38 for a Kerry Madsen spin, setting up an exciting ending. The restart order was Schatz, Steward, Andrews, Sides, Duncan, Reed, Sweet and Wilson.
Schatz would drive away for the win over Steward, Andrews, Sides and Duncan rounding out the top five.
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