Schatz Picks Up Outlaws Victory Number Three

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Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser competed in a pair of World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series events last week at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway and Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway. Schatz earned his third victory of the 2012 WoO campaign at Farmer City Wednesday aboard the TSR No. 15 No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J, while Kinser advanced the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim 15 positions in the same 40-lap race. Saturday at Knoxville, Schatz and Kinser each started outside the top-10 but both drove forward with Schatz ultimately finishing sixth and Kinser 11th.

The race at Farmer City was the Outlaws’ first at the quarter-mile dirt oval since June 2003. Schatz, who had two previous WoO A-Feature triumphs in the Land of Lincoln, qualified 16th in the field of 36 cars. His second-place finish in the fourth heat earned him the 10th starting position in the dash, in which he advanced two spots to earn an outside-row-four starting spot for the 40-lap main event. The four-time WoO champion moved quickly on the opening circuit, advancing to fifth. Two laps later, he passed Sammy Swindell for fourth as the leaders approached lapped traffic. Swindell later would get back past Schatz before the race was slowed by the first caution on lap 12. On the ensuing restart, leaders Kerry Madsen, Daryn Pittman, Craig Dollansky and Swindell were all involved in a turn-one accident. This opened the door for Schatz and he took advantage. The Fargo, N.D., racer would lead the final 27 laps and earn his 116th career WoO A-Feature victory.

Kinser, who won at Farmer City in June 2003, was the fastest car in hot laps but a late qualifying draw didn’t help his chances at making it two straight at the track. He timed in 24th and finished fifth in heat four. In the main event, “The King of the Outlaws” started 22nd and was able to maneuver through traffic during the first dozen laps. On the lap-13 restart, Kinser lined up 11th and used the rest of the race to climb to seventh to earn his ninth top-10 finish of 2012.

For fifth time in 2012, Mother Nature prevailed Friday when the series was scheduled to compete at Eagle (Neb.) Raceway. The NAPA Auto Parts Outlaw Showdown had to be rescheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 19.

With cool temperatures and a cloud-covered sky, the Outlaws returned to the famed Knoxville Raceway Saturday for the first of three 2012 WoO stops at the half-mile track. Kinser was able to turn the sixth-best lap in the field of 42 competitors, but his fourth-place finish in the second heat simply qualified him for the 25-lap A-Feature. He had hoped to finish second or better, which would have positioned him in the dash. Instead, he would start 12th and, after a pair of early cautions, the 12-time Knoxville Nationals champion gained a couple of positions and later would have a tremendous battle with Terry McCarl for the eighth spot. A restart with six laps remaining provided Kinser a chance to climb higher in the field, but instead, he had his hands full fighting off drivers behind him in a fierce three-way battle for eighth. He would be credited with an 11th-place finish.

Schatz returned to Knoxville as the reigning Knoxville Nationals champion and was looking to earn his 10th career WoO A-Feature at the track. He qualified 13th and was concerned that there may have been a problem with the motor during qualifying. The problem surfaced in the first heat, where he wasn’t able to take advantage of his starting spot on the pole. Schatz tried to hold onto second while his car continued to slow but was passed by fast-qualifier Joey Saldana with two laps remaining. The third-place finish transferred him into the A-Feature but, like Kinser, he was hoping for a coveted spot in the dash. Schatz was quick on the trigger in the main event and steadily climbed up to seventh. The race went green for the first 19 circuits before a caution bunched up the field for a six-lap race to the finish. Schatz lined up sixth on the restart and passed Danny Lasoski for fifth when the race resumed. He would then set his sights on fourth. He cleared Brian Brown for the position with one lap to go, but Brown and Lasoski got back past him on the final lap.

Swindell was the winner at Knoxville and with the result reclaimed the top spot in the 2012 WoO championship standings. Schatz had taken the lead in the standings with his victory at Farmer City, but he now trails Swindell by seven markers. Kinser’s seventh- and 11th-place finishes allowed him to move up to fourth, 57 points behind Swindell.

The historic half-mile tour continues this week for the Outlaws as they will head next to Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Eldora’s Outlaw Thunder by Goodyear weekend is the first of three WoO stops at the high-banked, half-mile dirt oval in western Ohio. Kinser and Schatz will actually make a fourth stop at the track in 2012. The two were recently named to the field of the Feed the Children Prelude to the Dream on Wednesday, June 6.

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