Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz continued his streak of consecutive top-two finishes with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series over the weekend, winning his 10th A-Feature of the season at Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer, Iowa, Friday and finishing second Saturday at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn.
In both races, Schatz put on a show driving the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J. The four-time WoO champion started seventh Friday and took the lead with two laps remaining. Saturday, he started 17th and worked his up to the lead on the white-flag lap before finishing second. The finishes extended his string to five straight in the top-two and extended his run of top-four finishes to nine.
“Right now, we’ve got things going,” said Schatz, who leads the WoO standings with 10 races remaining in the 2012 season. “We are doing our best to win races and doing our best to finish second when we can’t win them. We know there is a long way to go, and we have quite a few big races still coming up. These STP guys are doing the right things and making the right adjustments. They have a lot figured out and it’s a good time for everything to be coming together.”
TSR’s Steve Kinser made a successful return to the Midwest by racing the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim to a podium finish at Clay County. He finished 11th in Saturday’s event at Deer Creek Speedway.
“We had a good car on Friday and I was able find a line on the track that really worked well for me,” Kinser said. “It was good to be up there in the mix a little bit. These guys on this Bass Pro Shops team have been working really hard and ending up on the podium was good for us. We’re going to keep after it and see if we can be up there a little more often the rest of the way.”
Things didn’t get started well Friday for Schatz, who timed in 18th, which ended a run of seven consecutive races in which he qualified inside the top-10. The Fargo, N.D., driver raced his way into the dash by finishing second to Kinser in heat two. He started 10th and finished seventh in the six-lap race that set the lineup for the first 10 positions. In the 30-lap feature, he quickly jumped from seventh to fifth and methodically climbed up to third. On a lap-17 restart, he moved into second and spent the next 10 laps stalking leader Lucas Wolfe. When Wolfe struggled to move around a pair of lapped cars, Schatz took advantage. It was the third victory at the 3/8-mile dirt oval for Schatz, who was previously triumphant in 2007 and 2008 before going on to claim the WoO championship each year.
Kinser qualified 10th in the field of 32 cars and won a spirited duel with Schatz in heat two. The 20-time WoO champion started sixth in the dash and finished fifth. In the feature, he was able to run high, low and made some progress through the middle of the track prior to the lap-17 red flag for Craig Dollansky. Kinser passed Cody Darrah and Jason Sides late in the race to earn his first podium finish since coming home third at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta.
Saturday at Deer Creek, late qualifying numbers didn’t help the chances of either TSR driver. Kinser was the 24th of 28 drivers to circle the 3/8-mile dirt oval and ended up 15th overall. Schatz came out two cars later and turned the 17th-best lap. Schatz finished fourth in heat two while Kinser came home sixth in heat three. Schatz had the STP machine on a rail in the 35-lap A-Feature, charging into the top-10 by lap 10. He continued his climb the rest of the race and was in second with three laps remaining. He used the low line to take the lead from Dollanksy coming out of turn four as the duo completed lap 34. Dollansky was able to get back past Schatz on the backstretch and then took the low line to victory. It was the 11th runner-up finish for Schatz in 2012.
Through 65 of 75 scheduled races this season, Schatz leads Dollansky by 96 markers in the 2012 WoO championship standings. Schatz’s 10 victories is second only to Sammy Swindell’s 11, while he leads the series with 33 top-fives and 53 top-10s. Kinser currently ranks fifth and trails Schatz by 205 points.
The TSR teams will return to action Wednesday at Eagle (Neb.) Raceway before returning to Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Friday. Saturday, the Outlaws will compete in the Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa.