Donny Schatz opened his 19th season of competition with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series in familiar style this past weekend at the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida. The driver of the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies J&J finished second in Friday’s opener, earned his first triumph of the season in dominating fashion Saturday and after starting deep in the field charged to a tenth-place finish in Sunday’s finale.
Twenty-time WoO champion Steve Kinser will run a limited campaign in 2015 for TSR and competed in the opening five All-Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) events and all three WoO races behind the wheel of the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies J&J. Kinser’s best result came in Saturday’s Outlaw program where he won the dash to earn the pole position and finished third in the 30-lap A-Feature.
Schatz, a six-time WoO champion (2006-2009, 2012 and 2014), is coming off a career-best 26-win season in 2014 that followed a 23-victory campaign in 2013. The Fargo, North Dakota racer thrilled the crowd in Thursday’s All-Stars main event by charging from 15th to second and followed that performance by nearly earning a WoO victory in Friday’s Outlaw season opener. In the 30-lap A-Feature, he took the lead from Daryn Pittman with six laps remaining, but lost a side-by-side battle during the final circuit after his machine lost horsepower and came up just short in his bid for victory. The Bad Boy Buggies team returned with vengeance Saturday where Schatz won his heat, finished second in the dash and led the final 22 laps of the A-Feature to score his seventh career WoO A-Feature at the half-mile dirt oval and 173rd WoO A-Feature win of his career. In Sunday’s finale, Schatz qualified 17th and was able to move forward and climb into the top-10 on the extremely fast dirt surface.
“We were pleased to get a win, but we’re a little disappointed we didn’t get a couple more,” said Schatz. “The Bad Boy Buggies guys (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman) worked hard all winter to build these cars and have us ready to come out swinging. We worked at it every night and kept trying to get better. We’re always trying to find new things and keep working to get better. It’s always good to win and even better when you’re sponsors are there to enjoy it. We had a good contingent of people from Bad Boy Buggies here to celebrate the win, and we’re hoping that they get to enjoy quite a few wins with us this season.”
Pittman and his Kasey Kahne Racing teammate Brad Sweet were the other Outlaw winners to open 2015. Sweet leaves Florida carrying the early lead in the championship standings by four markers over Schatz.
The Bad Boy Buggies team will return to their shop in Brownsburg, Indiana, this week before resuming action March 4 and 5 at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Dates: Friday-Sunday, February 13-15, 2015
Series: World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series
Location: Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, Florida)
Winners: Friday – Daryn Pittman of Kasey Kahne Racing
Saturday – Donny Schatz of Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing
Sunday – Brad Sweet of Kasey Kahne Racing
TSR Results: Friday – Schatz (Started 6th, Finished 2nd)
Steve Kinser (Started 21st, Finished 23rd)
Saturday -Schatz (Started 2nd, Finished 1st)
Kinser (Started 1st, Finished 3rd)
Sunday – Schatz (Started 17th, Finished 10th)
Kinser (Started 21st, Finished 19th)
TSR Points: Schatz (2nd with 426 points, 4 markers behind leader Brad Sweet)
Kinser (12th with 360 points, 72 markers out of first)