After sweeping a pair of races in Indiana during the week, Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz was looking to resume his incredible 2014 campaign with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, and at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. The driver of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J led the two-car TSR contingent by finishing second in the Four Crown Nationals event Friday and sixth in Saturday’s Commonwealth Clash.
TSR’s Steve Kinser made his final starts as a fulltime WoO competitor at Eldora and Lernerville in the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim continuing the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour.” The 20-time WoO champion battled motor issues in Friday’s A-Feature, but charged from 22nd to 14th at Lernerville.
With a two-race winning streak following victories last Tuesday at Kokomo (Indiana) Speedway and Wednesday at the Terre Haute (Indiana) Action Track, Schatz was seeking to break a winless streak at Eldora that dates back to the 2009 Kings Royal. He finished second in this year’s Kings Royal and began his quest for WoO career A-Feature win number 169 by qualifying ninth in the field of 34 cars. He won the opening heat to transfer into the dash, where he raced from fifth to third. Joey Saldana set the earlier pace with 2014 Kings Royal winner Kerry Madsen in tow. Schatz followed the two leaders and began closing the gap quickly on the duo as the race reached lap 10. A caution took the leaders out of lapped traffic two laps later and Schatz capitalized on the restart grabbing second from Madsen. During the next eight laps, Schatz again moved in on Saldana for the lead, but another caution thwarted his chance to make a move for the lead. A late restart with three laps remaining gave him one final shot, but he had to fend off a challenge from Dale Blaney on the restart and that allowed Saldana to pull away for the win.
Kinser, who won his the first of 577 career WoO A-Feature wins at Eldora Speedway in May 1978, was looking win his final start at the high-banked, half-mile as Outlaw regular Friday. He missed the heat inversion by one position in qualifying, but was able to race from 5th to third in the opening heat. In the 30-lap A-Feature, he started 17th and was working his way toward the top-10 when a part failure sent him into the pit area after only 17 laps. He was credited with 23rd in the finish.
The teams traveled east to the Pittsburgh area for Saturday’s Commonwealth Clash. Schatz was the first car to make a qualifying lap around the half-mile, dirt oval and he ended up third in the field of 41 entries. The five-time WoO champion finished second in heat three and fifth in the dash to transfer into the 35-lap A-Feature. Schatz didn’t get the start he was hoping for at the drop of the green and fell back to seventh where he would run for the first dozen laps. After contact during a lap 12 restart, Schatz again found himself running in seventh. He held that position during the next 22 laps before passing Craig Dollansky in the final corner to finish sixth. It was his 73rd top-10 finish of the season and 28th consecutive top-10. Kinser qualified 22nd and finished fifth in heat two. In the A-Feature, he patiently worked his way past eight cars and finished 14th.
Saldana completed the weekend sweep by holding off David Gravel and Paul McMahan.
Schatz added to his lead in the 2014 WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings. With nine races remaining, he holds a 271-point advantage over Daryn Pittman and continues to lead the series in several categories including: wins (22), top-fives (56) and top-10s (73). Kinser ranks eighth in the standings with one victory, 10 top-fives and 37 top-10s.
“The King of the Outlaws” will lead the touring series to his hometown for Friday’s final Indiana stop of 2014 at Bloomington Speedway. The series will makes its debut at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan, Saturday.