By Tony Veneziano, World of Outlaws PR Director

Donny Schatz picked up exactly where he left off last season, as he returned to Victory Lane in the World of Outlaws season opener on Friday night as part of the 36th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop at Volusia Speedway Park.


(Click to hear Donny Schatz after his victory in the season opener.)

The reigning World of Outlaws Champion, who won 17 A-Feature events in 2006, began the night by turning the second fastest lap in time trials, with a 56-car field on hand. After winning the season’s first dash, he earned the pole position for the 25-lap A-Feature with Joey Saldana alongside him.

Saldana got the jump at the start and opened up a sizeable advantage in the first five laps. As the pair entered lapped traffic, Schatz began to steadily chip away at the lead, after battling Danny Lasoski for the second spot. On the 12th lap, Schatz went low to take the lead in turn one. Saldana quickly battled back with a slide job, momentarily taking the lead back, before Schatz powered to the low side of the second turn to make the pass for the lead and ultimately the win.

Schatz, a native of Fargo, North Dakota, masterfully worked his way through traffic as the laps wound down, in an event that went all 25 laps, green-to-checker in just under seven minutes, before a packed grandstand. It was his first win with new crew chief Dave Lawrence a native of Pennsylvania, and 52nd career World of Outlaws A-Feature triumph.

“It was a great night,” said Schatz, driver of the Parker Store J&J. “We qualified really well. It’s a very good race car. We have a new package, and new faces. All the new faces are adapting superbly. I’m as pumped up as I have ever been. I can’t wait to get in the car again tomorrow. I want to get racing, and I want to get racing every day and try to get everything we can.”

Schatz fell back to third on the initial start after spinning his tires a bit, and worked his way around Danny Lasoski on the eighth lap, and then set his sights on Saldana.

“You have to be patient and wait for the traffic,” Schatz explained after his $8,000 win. “He (Saldana) had a faster car in open race track. My car was a little more maneuverable in lapped traffic, and that’s where the races are won. That’s what we needed to see. Sometimes leading at the start, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be leading at the end.”

Saldana has been fast all week during the DIRTcar Nationals, having won on Tuesday with the All Star Circuit of Champions. The native of Brownsburg, Ind., driving for NASCAR star Kasey Kahne did everything he could, as he chased down Schatz in the late going. He was consistently the fastest car on the track, turning the fastest lap of the contest on the second circuit.

“It was a good night,” said Saldana, driver of the Open Joist JEI. “Donny (Schatz) is a very good competitor. He showed last year how tough he is. We’re just looking to get going and for the first last four nights, it has not been too bad. If we can continue to run like that, it should be a good year. A caution definitely would have helped me. I was running him back down in lapped traffic. We were definitely as fast as him and that makes you feel pretty good.”

Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws Champion was in the Top-Three all night, and battled his way through heavy lapped traffic that was the result of running all 25 laps under the green flag on the blazing fast half-mile. The native of Dover, Missouri, who won two World of Outlaws A-Feature events last season, gladly welcomed the stout competition, as nearly 60 cars that signed into the pits.

“I thought we would either win it or run second,” said Lasoski driver of the Roth Motorsports Eagle. “We kind of got held up running through lapped traffic, and came to almost a complete stop. You’re racing the best of the best out here and you can’t give anyone an inch, because when you do that’s when it will bite you.”

Craig Dollansky opened the season with a very strong run, as he brought the Karavan Trailers Maxim home fourth. Dollansky has been strong since he first unloaded in the Sunshine State a couple weeks back, winning last weekend, and finishing second twice with the All Stars.

“It was a good run,” said Dollansky, a native of Elk River, Minnesota. “We’ve had a pretty strong Florida so far, and that’s important to starting out on the right foot. Tonight we were in the game, and I am encouraged by that. My crew did a great job tonight.”

After winning an All Stars race on Thursday night, Tim Kaeding charged from the ninth starting spot to finish fifth.

“We had a good race car,” said Kaeding, driver of the Steve Kinser Racing Maxim. “I got a little timid in lapped traffic and didn’t want to wear the thing out. I’m thankful to the crew for giving me a good race car. We rolled it in Top-Five and that is what we are gunning for the whole year. It’s a great start to the season for us.”

The rest of the Top-10 was Daryn Pittman in the Titan Garages Maxim in sixth, Jason Solwold in the City Wide Insulation Maxim in seventh, Justin Henderson in the Dan Dan the Sonic Man Rocket in eighth, Brooke Tatnell in the Volcano Joe’s Coffee Schnee was ninth, and Jac Haudenschild in the Wright One Construction Maxim came home 10th.

The World of Outlaws return to action on Saturday night in a 25-lap event that will pay $8,000-to win at Volusia Speedway Park as the 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop continue.


• FAST QUALIFIER: At the tender age of 17, Cody Darrah of Red Lion, Penn. has only been able to legally drive on the street for a year, but he has been racing sprint cars for seven years in the Keystone State, and on Friday night he set his first career fast time with the World of Outlaws, with 54 cars taking qualifying laps.

“It’s unbelievable setting fast time,” he said. “Last year, I could not even make an Outlaws show. It is definitely hard work getting it with these guys. When you race with the World of Outlaws, it is definitely a tough division to be setting fast time in.”

Darrah has a good racing lineage, as his uncle is 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series star Rick Eckert. While he only gets to race against his uncle a couple of times a year, he certainly has learned the sport from him, and has learned to have plenty of respect for the veteran drivers that he competes against. He also has learned a thing or two about track conditions and different racing surfaces from his uncle, and how to be fast.

“It’s amazing driving against these guys,” Darrah said. “I just kept it up high and on the cushion and kept the car flowing. I just let it run. Time trials is one thing, but once you get to racing it’s 10 times harder than what time trials are.”

Darrah paced the 54-cars that took time with an AMB i.t.-timed lap around the 1/2-mile oval in 13.518 seconds at 133.156 mph. For his qualifying effort, Darrah earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Donny Schatz (4), Tony Bruce Jr. (3), Paul McMahan (2), and Tim Keading (1). Volusia Speedway Park is a semi-banked 1/2- mile oval. The track record of 12.948 seconds was set by Jason Solwold on February 6, 2007.

• QUALIFYING WINNERS: Justin Henderson, Joey Saldana, Danny Lasoski, and Craig Dollansky won heat races…. Dion Hindi won the C-Main… Kerry Madsen won the B-Main… Donny Schatz won the dash. 

• ON THE WEB: The Official World of Outlaws Sprint Series Web site is at Among the features are updated driver biographies with individual statistics and pictures, race-by-race statistics, detailed track information and race coverage, series news and team press releases. Also, links to the Media Guide and 2007 Official Rulebook can be found at the bottom of the home page.

• LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the series, they can experience the excitement of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series live on through the DIRT Radio Network. To listen to the audio broadcasts, log on to and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo. Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. For technical support or questions, e-mail [email protected].

• UP NEXT: The 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop continue on Saturday February 10, with a 25-lap A-Feature that will pay $8,000 to the winner. On Sunday February 11, the World of Outlaws will wrap up their portion of the DIRTcar Nationals with a $12,000-to win 30-lap A-Feature.

World of Outlaws Sprint Series Statistical Report; Volusia Speedway Park; Feb. 9, 2007
1) 89-Cody Darrah 13.518
2) 15-Donny Schatz 13.568
3) 18T-Tony Bruce Jr 13.578
4) 20-Paul McMahan 13.648
5) 11K-Tim Kaeding 13.684
6) 9-Joey Saldana 13.692
7) 22-Greg Hodnett 13.704
8) 70-Chad Kemenah 13.730
9) 6S-Brad Sweet 13.732
10) 11-Steve  Kinser 13.735
11) 21-Daryn Pittman 13.748
12) R19-Jason Solwold 13.753
13) D1-Justin Henderson 13.772
14) 2-Brooke Tatnell 13.778
15) 83-Danny Lasoski 13.796
16) 7-Craig Dollansky 13.809
17) 1X-Randy Hannagan 13.826
18) 11H-Kerry Madsen 13.829
19) 20W-Greg Wilson 13.833
20) 8K-Zach Chappell 13.861
21) 24-Terry McCarl 13.862
22) 6T-Tim Shaffer 13.871
23) 19-Becca Anderson 13.873
24) 5W-Lucas Wolfe 13.877
25) 55-Mark Smith 13.881
26) 6F-Bob Felmlee 13.881
27) 7S-Jason Sides 13.884
28) 14-Jason Meyers 13.894
29) 5C-Chad Hillier 13.897
30) 96-Bronson Maeschen 13.899
31) 36-Jason Martin 13.901
32) 1Z-Dusty Zomer 13.915
33) 25-Lance Dewease 13.917
34) 6W-Josh Wells 13.925
35) 10C-Jeremy Campbell 13.942
36) 35-Jac Haudenschild 13.958
37) 51-Fred Rahmer 13.962
38) 11D-Dion Hindi 14.000
39) 18-Brian Carlson 14.094
40) 15H-Sam Hafertepe 14.097
41) 71M-Paul May 14.111
42) 5-Dustin  Lindquist 14.140
43) OO-Danny Martin Jr. 14.144
44) 32-Justin Barger 14.154
45) 4-Danny Smith 14.216
46) 22B-Ben Gregg 14.234
47) 3*-Kaley Gharst 14.272
48) 4R-Robbie Vaughn 14.287
49) 69-Justin Collett 14.310
50) 11T-T.J. Winegarder 14.373
51) 16-Lee Stark 14.498
52) 94s-Natalie Sather 14.597
53) 93-Jonathan Eriksen 14.627
54) 6X-Mark Cole 15.080
55) 4G-Spud Gustin -.—
56) 6-Bill Rose -.—

Heat 1 (8 Laps, top 5 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) D1-Justin Henderson
2) 11K-Tim Kaeding
3) 6S-Brad Sweet
4) 24-Terry McCarl
5) 89-Cody Darrah
6) 1X-Randy Hannagan
7) 5C-Chad Hillier
8) 25-Lance Dewease
9) 55-Mark Smith
10) 71M-Paul May
11) 51-Fred Rahmer

Heat 2 (8 Laps, top 5 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 9-Joey Saldana
2) 15-Donny Schatz
3) 11-Steve Kinser
4) 2-Brooke Tatnell
5) 6T-Tim Shaffer
6) 11H-Kerry Madsen
7) 6F-Bob Felmlee
8) 96-Bronson Maeschen
9) 6W-Josh Wells
10) 5-Dustin Lindquist
11) 11D-Dion Hindi
12) 22B-Ben Gregg

Heat 3 (8 Laps, top 5 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 83-Danny Lasoski
2) 21-Daryn Pittman
3) 22-Greg Hodnett
4) 18T-Tony Bruce Jr.
5) 20W-Greg Wilson
6) 7S-Jason Sides
7) 36-Jason Martin
8) 19-Becca  Anderson
9) 10C-Jeremy Campbell
10) 3*-Kaley Gharst
11) OO-Danny Martin Jr.
12) 18-Brian Carlson

Heat 4 (8 Laps, top 5 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 7-Craig Dollansky
2) R19-Jason Solwold
3) 70-Chad Kemenah
4) 20-Paul McMahan
5) 35-Jac Haudenschild
6) 8K-Zach Chappell
7) 5W-Lucas Wolfe
8) 32-Justin Barger
9) 14-Jason Meyers
10) 15H-Sam Hafertepe
11) 1Z-Dusty Zomer
12) 4R-Robbie Vaughn

Dash (6 laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature)
1) 15-Donny Schatz
2) 9-Joey Saldana
3) 83-Danny Lasoski
4) R19-Jason Solwold
5) 21-Daryn Pittman
6) 7-Craig Dollansky
7) D1-Justin Henderson
8) 89-Cody Darrah
9) 11K-Tim Kaeding
10) 18T-Tony Bruce Jr.

D-main (8 laps, top 2 finishers transferred to C-main)
1) 69-Justin Collett
2) 11T-T.J. Winegarder
3) 94s-Natalie Sather
4) 6-Bill Rose
5) 16-Lee Stark
6) 93-Jonathan Eriksen
7) 6X-Mark Cole
8) 4G-Spud Gustin

C-main (10 laps, top 2 finishers transferred to B-main)
1) 11D-Dion Hindi
2) 51-Fred Rahmer
3) 15H-Sam Hafertepe
4) 3*-Kaley Gharst
5) 71M-Paul May
6) OO-Danny Martin Jr.
7) 69-Justin Collett
8) 18-Brian Carlson
9) 22B-Ben Gregg
10) 4R-Robbie Vaughn
11) 32-Justin Barger
12) 5-Dustin  Lindquist
13) 11T-T.J. Winegarder

B-main (12 laps, top 4 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 11H-Kerry Madsen
2) 1X-Randy Hannagan
3) 8K-Zach Chappell
4) 5W-Lucas Wolfe
5) 14-Jason Meyers
6) 7S-Jason Sides
7) 36-Jason Martin
8) 5C-Chad Hillier
9) 1Z-Dusty Zomer
10) 25-Lance Dewease
11) 6F-Bob Felmlee
12) 96-Bronson Maeschen
13) 11D-Dion Hindi
14) 10C-Jeremy Campbell
15) 6W-Josh Wells
16) 19-Becca  Anderson
17) 55-Mark Smith
18) 51-Fred Rahmer

A-main (25 laps) – Starting Position [#]
1) 15-Donny Schatz[1]
2) 9-Joey Saldana[2]
3) 83-Danny Lasoski[3]
4) 7-Craig Dollansky[6]
5) 11K-Tim Kaeding[9]
6) 21-Daryn Pittman[5]
7) R19-Jason Solwold[4]
8) D1-Justin Henderson[7]
9) 2-Brooke Tatnell[16]
10) 35-Jac Haudenschild[24]
11) 11-Steve Kinser[15]
12) 89-Cody Darrah[8]
13) 11H-Kerry Madsen[18]
14) 24-Terry McCarl[21]
15) 1X-Randy Hannagan[17]
16) 70-Chad Kemenah[13]
17) 20W-Greg Wilson[19]
18) 20-Paul McMahan[11]
19) 8K-Zach Chappell[20]
20) 5W-Lucas Wolfe[23]
21) 36-Jason Martin[26]
22) 18T-Tony Bruce Jr.[10]
23) 6T-Tim Shaffer[22]
24) 6S-Brad Sweet[14]
25) 10C-Jeremy Campbell[25]
26) 22-Greg Hodnett[12]
Lap Leaders: Joey Saldana 1-11, Donny Schatz 12-25