For the second time in 2012, Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz led every lap of every race he competed in during a World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series event. Friday night, Schatz, driver of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J, earned flag-to-flag triumphs in his heat, the dash, and the 35-lap A-Feature to capture the Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif.
TSR’s Steve Kinser continued his strong California tour by finishing fifth in the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim.
Schatz, who dominated the second event of 2012 back in February at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., opened the event by qualifying 15th in the field of 35 cars. After leading all 10 laps of heat three, the luck of the draw proved to be a huge factor in the outcome of the remaining races. The racing surface on the quarter-mile dirt oval hardened during the heat races and began to take rubber, which in dirt-track racing makes passing extremely difficult. When a six pill was pulled for the dash inversion, Schatz earned the pole position for the dash. He led all eight laps of the dash to secure the pole position for the main event. In the finale, the four-time WoO champion drove a flawless race, which was only halted once for a caution. Schatz stayed out of trouble by keeping his distance from lapped traffic and went on to pick up his second WoO triumph of 2012 and 115th of his career.
Kinser, who has 22 career WoO wins at Silver Dollar Speedway, was the sixth car to qualify on Friday night, and he turned the fourth-fastest lap. The 20-time champion finished fourth in heat four and came home fifth in the dash. In the 35-lap A-Feature, Kinser started fifth and quickly dove to the inside groove where the rubber had built up. On several occasions, Kinser would close the gap on fourth-place runner Tim Kaeding but never had enough room to make a pass.
The victory allowed Schatz to add to his lead in the 2012 WoO championship standings. Through seven of 78 scheduled races, the Fargo, N.D., racer has accumulated 978 points and has a 20-point advantage over Joey Saldana. Kinser moved from seventh to sixth in the standings and has 940 points.
The Outlaws were also scheduled to compete Saturday night at Silver Dollar Speedway, but inclement weather forced track officials to cancel the program. It marked the second consecutive Saturday where weather prevailed over the Outlaws.
The TSR teams will conclude their month of March in California Friday and Saturday nights as the Outlaws return to Merced Speedway and Calistoga Speedway.