The incredible 2014 World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series season for Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz continued Saturday at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, New York. The driver of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J was once again the class of the field, racing to his 25th WoO A-Feature victory of the season and inching closer to clinching his sixth WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship.
“We’ve worked hard at it all year,” Schatz said following the victory. “These STP guys (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman) are definitely on their game. They’ve won a lot of races this year. Tonight, they just kept making things better. It’s an awesome machine to drive, for sure. They rallied around and tried a few things in the dash and weren’t quite where we wanted to be. So we made all the right choices for the A-Feature and got the win. Everyone involved with this team deserves to be standing here. It’s just an honor to drive this car.”
Schatz started his pursuit of WoO A-Feature career win number 171 as the lastof the 30 drivers in the field to make a qualifying lap around the 5/8-mile, dirt oval. The Fargo, North Dakota racer posted the 11th-best lap and earned the pole position for heat two as a result. He took advantage of the starting position and put up faster lap times in the heat race than he did qualifying as he cruised to his series-leading 22nd heat-race triumph of the season. In the six-lap dash, he started eighth and climbed up to fifth in the opening two laps and battled Brad Sweet for fourth during the final four laps before finishing fifth. In the 25-lap A-Feature, Schatz started fifth and found himself in an early battle with Daryn Pittman. After dispatching Pittman on lap five, he passed Kraig Kinser for fourth two laps later and then began closing in on David Gravel and Justin Barger. Schatz put on a clinic by splitting both drivers and taking second and began to track down Sweet. Schatz caught the leader with 10 laps to go and pulled even heading out of turn two. Schatz slowed up in order to go to the high side and Sweet slid across, diving low in turn three. When Sweet slid across, he made contact with the inside retaining wall and damaged his front end. Schatz restarted from the pole but Gravel got the jump on the restart. One lap later, Schatz powered by Gravel to grab the lead and pulled away during the final nine laps to score his second consecutive win at Rolling Wheels.
TSR’s Steve Kinser, the winningest WoO driver with 577 career WoO A-Feature triumphs, made his final appearance in New York as a full-time driver with the Outlaws behind the wheel of the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim. The 20-time WoO champion was hoping to pick up career win number 13 at Rolling Wheels during the final Northeast stop of the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour.” Kinser qualified 10th, finished third in the opening heat and had a spirited duel late in the A-Feature with his son Kraig. He would eventually gain the position after the father-and-son duo exchanged ninth position several times.
After 85 nights of action in the 2014 WoO STP Sprint Car Series campaign, and with only four nights of racing remaining, Schatz has a stranglehold on the championship standings. His 11,857 points have him 289 ahead of second-place Pittman, and his 25 wins, 60 top-fives and 77 top-10s lead all drivers. Kinser ranks eighth overall in the championship standings with 10,394 points and his run Saturday gives him 40 top-10s this season.
The TSR teams will make their final Midwest appearance of 2014 Saturday with a race at Fremont (Ohio) Speedway. Last September, Schatz was the winner at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval and he’ll look to add to his career-best win total of 25 when they return to action.