Concord, NC — In the seven year history of the $50,000-to win Sprintcar International at Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway (PCR) in Australia, only two drivers have won the prestigious event, reigning World of Outlaws Champion Donny Schatz and 1996 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year Joey Saldana.
As the laps wound down on Saturday night in the Bevelite Glass $50,000 Sprintcar International the pair found themselves again battling for the win for the second year in a row.
When the checkered flag flew on the event, Schatz, a native of Fargo, North Dakota, found himself in the winner’s circle with the big check for the sixth time in the event, and fourth time in a row. He also extended his win streak at PCR to five races this season, and dating back to last year, he has now won an amazing 14 of the last 15 events he has competed in at the track.
Schatz driving the No.15 Pick N Payless J&J for Gary Rush Racing started third in the 40-lap A-Feature. The front row consisted of Saldana, a native of Brownsburg, Indiana, driving for NASCAR star Kasey Kahne as well as 20-time World of Outlaws Champion Steve Kinser, from Bloomington, Indiana.
Saldana and Kinser traded the lead several times over the first couple laps of the event. Schatz patiently followed them, and moved into the second spot when Saldana jumped the cushion in turn four and fell back to the fourth spot.
Schatz took the lead from Kinser on the seventh lap and would pull away. Saldana though worked his way back into the second spot and passed Schatz for the lead on lap 14. After shadowing Saldana for three laps, Schatz made the pass for the lead and ultimately the win on lap 17. Saldana lost some ground as he was bottled up in lapped traffic, allowing Schatz to extend his advantage to nearly half a lap.
Late cautions bunched the field up and gave Saldana a few more chances to see if he could claim his second win in the prized event.
Schatz used strong restarts each time to pull away and retain the lead. When the final checkers flew, a very hard charging Saldana was only one car length behind Schatz, as he came home in the runner-up spot, for the second straight year. Peter Murphy finished third, with Jason Meyers fourth, Kinser fifth, and Paul McMahan eighth in the Titan Racing machine.
Meyers, a California native who will contend for the World of Outlaws title this season started the feature in sixth. McMahan, a native of California, who now calls Nashville home, also had a very solid night as he started 16th in the 40-lapper before making his charge into the Top-10.
In preliminary action, heat races were lined up by points accumulated on the opening night of the two-day event, and thus no time trials were held.
Schatz won the first heat from the pole, with Meyers finishing third. Kinser won the second heat from the pole. In the third heat, McMahan came home third. Saldana won the fourth and final heat after starting second.
The first dash saw an epic battle between Schatz and Saldana, with the latter picking up the win to earn the pole position for the 40-lap Main Event. In the second dash Kinser battled Trevor Green for the win. Kinser came out on top, with Meyers finishing third.
Schatz, Kinser, Saldana, and Meyers will be in action again at Parramatta City Raceway on Wednesday January 10.
The 2007 World of Outlaws season opens on February 9 at Volusia Speedway Park with the 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented By Mopar Speedshop.