The World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series made its annual trek to North Dakota this past weekend and staged the Duel of the Dakotas at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D. Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser continued their quest toward winning another WoO championship by each scoring a pair of solid finishes in the doubleheader. Schatz raced the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J to a second-place finish in Friday’s 40-lap A-Feature and seventh on Saturday. The finishes allowed him to add to his lead in the 2011 WoO championship standings. Kinser finished fourth and third on consecutive nights, respectively, driving the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim.
Schatz returned to his home state for the two-night doubleheader on the high-banked 3/10-mile dirt oval. He qualified second in the field of 32 cars on Friday and finished third in the second heat and fifth in the dash. In the 40-lap A-Feature, he started fifth and took advantage of an early restart to work his way into fourth position. Ten laps later, he passed Joey Saldana for third and, on the final lap, he worked his way into second. It was the third time in 2011 that he finished second to winner Craig Dollanksy. On Saturday, Schatz got off to a strong start by turning the fastest lap in qualifying. He finished third in the first heat and fourth in the dash. Unfortunately, the four-time WoO champion didn’t have the same success in Saturday’s main event. Schatz struggled on restarts and lost several positions following restarts on laps 20 and 21. He found himself in 11th position and worked his way back to seventh during the final 10 laps.
Although he didn’t find victory lane during the weekend in Grand Forks, Kinser was happy with the consistency his team showed. On Friday night, he qualified ninth before winning the first heat. He started third in the A-Feature and was in the top-five throughout. “The King of the Outlaws” made a final-lap pass of Saldana to secure fourth. The following night, he timed in eighth in the field of 35 cars. Kinser made a last-lap pass of Kevin Swindell in heat four before racing to a third-place finish in the six-lap dash. In the feature, Kinser held his ground in third during the first half of the race before taking advantage of the lap-21 restart. He passed Saldana for second and followed leader Jason Sides for the next five laps before losing second to Dollansky. He followed Dollansky and Sides to the finish line and earned his 11th top-five of the season.
Schatz continues to lead the championship standings through 23 of 67 events. The Fargo, N.D., resident has earned 3,196 points, one victory, 13 top-fives, and 18 top-10s. Kinser ranks fourth in the standings with 3,135 points, five wins, 11 top-fives, and 18 top-10s. The TSR teams will remain in the Upper Midwest for next weekend’s races at Princeton (Minn.) Speedway on Saturday and at Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, S.D., on Sunday.