Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz turned up the heat on the rest of World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series competition this past week by winning two of the last three races and charging from deep in the field to continue his streak of top-10 finishes to 18 straight. Schatz raced the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J from 23rd to fifth in Friday’s Kistler Engine Classic at Attica (Ohio) Raceway Park and scored his fifth win of the season Saturday by leading the final 15 laps of the 35-lap NAPA Auto Parts Rumble at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Michigan.
TSR’s Steve Kinser was looking to continue a streak of top-10s during the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour”. The 20-time WoO champion couldn’t avoid an early-race crash at Attica and finished 16th and Saturday he raced the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim to 11th.
The TSR teams knew Friday night’s stop at Attica would be another challenging night with the quality of competition that regularly races at the 1/3-mile, dirt oval. Both drivers went out later during qualifying and weren’t able to post lap times they were shooting for. Schatz timed in 25th and Kinser 27th in the field of 44 cars. Schatz advanced from seventh to fifth in the opening heat while Kinser grabbed the fifth spot in heat three. The TSR teammates shared the 12th row to start the 40-lap A-Feature. A spin deep in the field during the opening laps collected Kinser. “The King of the Outlaws” rejoined the field at the tail and resumed his run from the back and ultimately finished 16th. Schatz was able to work his way into the top-10 by the time the race reached lap 25. With 10 laps remaining, he was up to eighth and surged into the top-five during the final five circuits. In total, he would pass 18 cars en route to his fifth-place finish and fourth KSE Hard Charger Award of the season.
Dale Blaney won the A-Feature and the for the first time this season the podium was filled by a trio of Ohio drivers.
Saturday marked the Outlaws’ 14th appearance at I-96 Speedway. Schatz entered with a pair of second-place finishes at the central Michigan facility and started quickly by qualifying second in the field of 23 cars. The Fargo, N.D., racer finished second in heat two and fifth in the dash. After dropping back to seventh early in the 35-lap A-Feature, Schatz found his groove and advanced up to second. A pair restarts during the middle stages of the race allowed Schatz to first grab second and then to grab the lead on lap 21 as he overtook Brad Sweet. He led the final 15 laps and earned his first win at the track and 152nd WoO A-Feature of his career, moving him to within one of tying Mark Kinser for third all-time.
The number 11 was a common theme for Kinser, who was looking to win for the fifth time at I-96. After qualifying ninth, he transferred through the third heat to earn a position in the A-Feature. He started 11th and finished in the same position.
Saturday’s victory moved Schatz back on top of the 2014 WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings. Earlier this season, he held top spot for four races in early April and then was on top following his victory at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on April 18. Schatz has accumulated 4,679 points and leads Daryn Pittman by eight points. Schatz has five wins, 22 top-fives and 30 top-10s in 33 starts this season. Kinser remains in seventh with 4,294 points.
The TSR teams have three races in three states this week beginning with Wednesday’s race at Kokomo (Indiana) Speedway. The weekend includes races Friday at I-80 Speedway (Greenwood, Nebraska) followed by Saturday’s FVP Outlaws Showdown at Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, Kansas).