Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz continued the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series California Spring Tour with his second WoO A-Feature triumph of 2015 Saturday night at the Stockton (Calif.) Dirt Track. The driver of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J became the first repeat winner after leading 14 of the final 15 laps in the 30-lap thriller that included Schatz overtaking leader Shane Stewart coming out of turn four on the final lap and beating him to the finish line by . 220 of a second.
Schatz finished ninth in Sunday’s finale of the two-night FVP Western Spring Shootout at Stockton and the six-time and reigning WoO champion continues to rank second in the championship standings behind Stewart.
After finishing third and second in the Outlaws’ first two races at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval, Schatz was poised to continue his climb up the podium Saturday night. His pursuit for victory began in qualifying, where he established a new track record and took top qualifying honors for the first time in 2015. The Fargo, North Dakota driver finished second in the opening heat and fourth in the dash to earn the inside-second–row starting position for the 30-lap A-Feature. Schatz battled Paul McMahan on the opening lap for third and grabbed second from Joey Saldana on lap eight. He spent the next five laps tracking down Stewart and took the lead with an inside move in turns one and two on lap 16. Schatz led the next dozen laps and built a sizeable advantage before a late caution. Stewart overtook Schatz coming out of two on lap 28 and the two exchanged the lead three times on the final lap. Schatz used the momentum from the cushion coming out of turn four to squeeze ahead of Stewart to score the victory.
“What a great night for this Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team,” Schatz said following his 174th career WoO A-Feature triumph. “These guys (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson, and Eric Prutzman) gave me a great racecar all night. They have dealt with just about everything already this year. We’ve had good, bad, indifferent, and to be able to be the first repeat winner is a good thing. We were fast from the beginning and had a good car all night. Shane (Stewart) did a great job out there. You never like those late restarts but we never gave up and got ourselves a victory.”
In Sunday’s event, Schatz was the 24th driver to make a qualifying lap in the field of 38 entries. He qualified 13th and earned the pole position for the opening heat, but the inside line wasn’t the place to start the heat races. Schatz spun to a stop on the opening lap and rejoined the field from the tail. He advanced back up to sixth but couldn’t overtake Evan Suggs for the fifth and final transfer position and was forced to run the 12-lap B-Main. After finishing second in the B-Main, Schatz started the 30-lap A-Feature 13th. He would reach as high as seventh during the event that was slowed by numerous cautions for flips and other spins. The track surface locked down around the bottom during the final laps of the race and Schatz was scored ninth at the finish.
Schatz has earned 1,381 points and trails Stewart by 18 markers with eight of 10 races complete. He has finished inside the top-five five times and inside the top-10 in all but one A-Feature in 2015.
Schatz and the TSR team will continue their California tour this weekend with the Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico Saturday and at Antioch Speedway Sunday.