The World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series surged on through Wisconsin with its annual midsummer stops at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond on Friday and Saturday’s event at Beaver Dam Raceway. Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz entered the weekend looking to pad their win totals both on the season and at each track. Kinser’s weekend was highlighted by his charge from eighth to third in the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/ Chevrolet Maxim at Cedar Lake. Schatz was also a man on the move Friday night, racing the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J from 19th to sixth. On Saturday at Beaver Dam, Kinser finished seventh and Schatz was eighth.
Friday’s race kicked off the action at Cedar Lake, which has been a stop for the Outlaws since 1983. Kinser, who won the first two WoO A-Features at the track in 1983 and 1984, turned the 11th-fastest lap in qualifying in the field of 27 cars. The 20-time WoO champion continued the night by racing to victory in the second heat and finishing eighth in the dash. The 35-lap A-Feature was interrupted several times by caution flags, and the ensuing restarts provided plenty of opportunities for “The King of the Outlaws.” Kinser took advantage and climbed closer to the front. Late in the race, the racing surface began to take rubber, forcing the drivers to conserve their tires. Kinser followed the top-two of Jason Meyers and Danny Lasoski to the finish.
A rough qualifying lap for Schatz put him a hole that he spent most of the evening trying to get out of. He qualified 20th and started the second heat in seventh. The Cedar Lake WoO A-Feature winner in both 2008 and 2009 was able to move up to fourth to earn a starting spot in Friday’s A-Feature. Schatz started the main event 19th and wasted little time moving through the field. By the first caution, the Fargo, N.D., racer was up to 13th and he used a midrace restart to jump inside the top-10. On the final restart, he looked to have a spot in the top-five, but he couldn’t make the bottom groove hold as his competitors sped away in the rubber. At the finish, he was credited with sixth.
Saturday’s event in central Wisconsin challenged all the Outlaw competitors early as Beaver Dam’s surface dried out quickly. Kinser was the fifth of 30 cars to make qualifying laps around the 1/3-mile dirt oval and ended up 13th. He raced from fifth to second in the first heat to grab one of the coveted dash starting spots. The Bloomington, Ind., native finished eighth in the dash and started the 40-lap A-Feature from the outside of row four. Kinser remained inside the top-10 for most of the race and used a late restart to pass his TSR teammate to claim the seventh position.
Despite being the 22nd car on the track for qualifying, Schatz was able to crack the top-12 and secure a front-row starting spot for the second heat. The four-time WoO champion dominated the 10-lap heat, winning by more than four seconds. He raced from seventh to fourth in the dash and looked poised to battle for his second career victory at the track. Unfortunately, things changed between the dash and A-Feature as officials decided to water the track before racing action would resume. The heavier surface changed the course of the evening for Schatz, who started the A-Feature fourth. It was clear on each start that being on the outside was a disadvantage. First, it was eventual winner Joey Saldana, who started fifth, who raced underneath him. On three restarts, Schatz found himself starting on the outside row each time, and he continually lost positions before finishing eighth.
The weekend results scrambled the season-long WoO championship standings. Schatz fell from atop the 2011 WoO championship standings and now trails new leader Meyers by 14 points. He ranks third with 3,866 markers, just six behind Saldana, who is in second. Kinser’s pair of top-10s allowed him to close the gap on the top three. He remains fourth with 3,833 points, 47 behind Meyers.
Next up for the TSR team is a busy week of racing in Ohio. First up is the 23rd annual Ohio Logistics Brad Doty Classic on Wednesday night at Limaland Raceway Park in Lima, Ohio. On Friday and Saturday, the 28th annual Kings Royal weekend will be held at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Saturday’s Kings Royal will be taped by SPEED and air on Saturday, July 30 at 1 p.m. EDT.