From Tony Veneziano
MINOT, N.D. (August 28, 2016) — It took Donny Schatz until his seventh start to win at his home track of Nodak Speedway in Minot, North Dakota with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series. Since that victory in 2012, he been undefeated in the Gerdau Magic City Showdown. Schatz extended his win streak at Nodak Speedway to five, after leading flag-to-flag on Sunday night at the three-eighths-mile.
Schatz started second and on the initial start ran second to pole sitter Logan Schuchart, but the first caution flag of the night flew before the lap was complete. That led to a complete restart and on the second start, Schatz was able to dive under Schuchart on the front straightaway to officially lead the first lap. Schatz was in traffic just five laps into the race and like his win on Friday night at River Cities Speedway, he masterfully weaved his way through the lapped machines.
“They are all special and they are all good,” said Schatz of his five wins at Nodak Speedway. “The trophies here are awesome and so are the people. Everything about this place is great. I’ll tell you what’s really great, and that is this race team. These guys (on my crew) deserve to be standing here. The race car they prepare each day is incredible. I’m the lucky guy that gets to drive it and looks good. Their hard work is what pays off and gets us to victory lane.”
With just two laps remaining in the 35-lap contest, a red flag flew, setting up a green-white-checker restart to determine the outcome. Schatz would use a strong restart to stay out front and opened a bit of a lead on the final circuit.
“I was thinking, ‘Air don’t go out of these tires,'” said Schatz, of the red flag. “We run bleeders and when you get heat in the tires it lets the air down and the tires then cool down. They get a little wormy after that. They were a little wormy after that red flag, but they were able to get us a win anyway.”
The win for Schatz helped him complete a sweep of the three races for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series in his home state of North Dakota for the second straight. Schatz now has won 18 times overall with the series in North Dakota. The win was the 20th of the season for the seven-time and defending series champion, who has now won at least 20 races in four consecutive years.
“It doesn’t get any better than that,” said Schatz of winning in North Dakota. “When you are a kid, like these kids here in the crowd and you dream of doing something, that’s me. I’m standing here living my dream. Everybody all the times asks me how I am doing and I’m living my dream. Thank you fans for being part of it.”
Jason Johnson lined up eighth and used a late-race charge to finish second. A strong restart on lap-10, moved him up a couple of spots and pit him in a torrid battle with David Gravel for third. Johnson was able to take third on lap-15 and began to work on Schuchart for second. Another strong restart propelled Johnson to second as he set his sights on Schatz.
“We started a little bit further back, so we gambled with set-up,” said Johnson of his Priority Aviation team. “We’ve been searching a little bit and the guys definitely hit it right tonight. We had a really fast Maxim race car. Once we got to second, I was definitely wanting a restart. Donny (Schatz) is one of the best in the industry right now and he’s tough. He definitely makes us step up our game each night.”
On the green-white-checker restart, Johnson was able to look under Schatz in turns one and two, as he about pulled even with the leader, but could quite get enough of a run to attempt a pass. The second-place finish for Johnson was his 13thtop-five finish of the season.
“I needed to get to him and I couldn’t quite clear him,” shared the 2016 Knoxville Nationals winner. “One thing about Donny is that he’ll race you clean, so I wanted to race him clean. Once we came down the back straightaway he had a little more momentum and our only chance was maybe if he would have bobbled, but that doesn’t happen very often.”
Daryn Pittman, who fell back to seventh at one point, during the 35-lap race, also made a late-race charge to finish third in the Great Clips No. 9. Pittman started sixth and over the second half of the race was able to pick up a number of positons on his way to his 36th top-five finish of the season.
“That was a fun race tonight,” said Pittman. “It was great track prep. From the driver’s seat it was pretty exciting and a lot of fun to drive. It took me too long to run the top in (turns) one and two. Once I was able to do that, I was making a lot of speed and down the back straight with a lot more mile an hour.”
Logan Schuchart continued his strong 2016 season by finishing fourth, which was his 10th top-five finish of the season. David Gravel crossed the line fifth, with Brad Sweet sixth. Joey Saldana was seventh, followed by Jacob Allen, who turned in an eighth-place run to put both Shark Racing cars in the top-10. Paul McMahan was ninth, with Dominic Scelzi rounding out the top-10.
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series returns to action on Friday, September 2 and Saturday, September 3 in the Outlaw Energy Showdown at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Washington.
Nodak Speedway Notebook
CONTINGENCY WINNERS: MSD Ignitions ($25 cash): Clyde Knipp; MSD Ignitions ($50 cash): Donny Schatz; Penske Shocks ($50 cash): Paul McMahan; JE Pistons ($50 cash): Brad Sweet; VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash): Jacob Allen; Edelbrock ($50 cash): Paul McMahan; Comp Cams ($50 cash): Greg Wilson; Morton Buildings ($50 cash): Jordon Adams; Cometic Gasket ($50 cash): Greg Wilson; Super Flow ($50 cash): Shane Stewart; Craftsman Club Fast Five ($100 cash): Logan Schuchart, Brad Sweet, David Gravel, Shane Stewart; Daryn Pittman; Comp Cams ($50 product certificate): Donny Schatz; JE Pistons (Set of Rings): Kyle Fedyk; JE Pistons (Set of Rings): Clyde Knipp.
SEASON WINNERS: Donny Schatz – 20 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 14, The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 4, Stockton Dirt Track on March 18, Stockton Dirt Track on March 19, Silver Dollar Speedway on April 2, Lincoln Speedway on May 19, Weedsport Speedway on May 22, Lincoln Park Speedway on June 8, Knoxville Raceway on June 11, River Cities Speedway on June 17, Rockford Speedway on June 29, Badlands Motor Speedway on July 3, Cedar Lake Speedway on July 9, Attica Raceway Park on July 12, Eldora Speedway on July 16, Ohsweken Speedway on July 26, Junction Motor Speedway on August 16, Angell Park Speedway on August 21, River Cities Speedway on August 26, Nodak Speedway on August 28); David Gravel – 7 (Thunderbowl Raceway on March 12, Tri-State Speedway on May 14, I-96 Speedway on June 6, Eldora Speedway on July 14, Lernerville Speedway on July 19, Wilmot Raceway on July 30, Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Aug. 5); Daryn Pittman – 7 (Royal Purple Raceway on Feb. 27, Perris Auto Speedway on April 16, USA Raceway on April 18, New Egypt Speedway on May 24, Jackson Motorplex on June 24, Eldora Speedway on July 15, Williams Grove Speedway on July 22); Brad Sweet – 7 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 13, Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 14, Cotton Bowl Speedway on Feb. 26, Ocean Speedway on April 1, Bakersfield Speedway on April 15, Plymouth Speedway on May 13, Badlands Motor Speedway on July 2); Shane Stewart – 5 (Arizona Speedway on March 6, Devil’s Bowl Speedway on April 23, Lawrenceburg Speedway on May 30, Granite City Speedway on June 15, Brown County Speedway on June 19); Joey Saldana – 4 (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 3, Devil’s Bowl Speedway on April 22, Jacksonville Speedway on May 4, I-80 Speedway on June 22); Lance Dewease – 2 (Williams Grove Speedway on May 20, Williams Grove Speedway on July 23); Kerry Madsen – 2 (Eldora Speedway on May 6 and 7);Rico Abreu – 1(Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Aug. 6); Bill Balog – 1 (Beaver Dam Raceway on June 25); Chad Kemenah – 1 (Fremont Speedway on June 3); Jason Johnson – 2 (Placerville Speedway on March 24, Knoxville Nationals on August 13);Terry McCarl – 1 (Knoxville Raceway on June 10); Logan Schuchart – 1 (Cedar Lake Speedway on July 9); Jason Sides – 1 (I-30 Speedway on April 26); Greg Wilson – 1 (The Dirt Track at Charlotte on May 27).
World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Nodak Speedway, N.D.; Augst 28, 2016
A-Main – (35 Laps) – 1. 15-Donny Schatz  [$10,000]; 2. 41-Jason Johnson  [$5,500]; 3. 9-Daryn Pittman  [$3,200]; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart  [$2,800]; 5. 5-David Gravel  [$2,500]; 6. 49-Brad Sweet  [$2,300]; 7. 83-Joey Saldana  [$2,200]; 8. 1A-Jacob Allen  [$2,100]; 9. 7-Paul McMahan  [$2,050]; 10. 41X-Dominic Scelzi  [$2,000]; 11. 20A-Jordan Adams  [$1,500]; 12. W20-Greg Wilson  [$1,200]; 13. 5G-Dave Glennon  [$1,100]; 14. 99-Jordan Graham  [$1,050]; 15. 7T-Trent Stengl  [$1,000]; 16. 7S-Jason Sides  [$900]; 17. 2-Shane Stewart  [$800]; 18. 91K-Kyle Fedyk  [$800]; 19. 21-Ryder Olson  [$800]; 20. 8B-Jack Croaker  [$800]; 21. 20-Kevin Lawson  [$800]; 22. 20L-Dusty Lawson  [$800]; 23. 6N-Greg Nikitenko  [$800]; 24. 13-Clyde Knipp  [$800]. Lap Leaders: Donny Schatz 1-35. KSE Hard Charger Award: 99-Jordan Graham [+7]
Qualifying – 1. 2-Shane Stewart, 13.039; 2. 15-Donny Schatz, 13.072; 3. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 13.112; 4. 5-David Gravel, 13.123; 5. 9-Daryn Pittman, 13.155; 6. 49-Brad Sweet, 13.247; 7. 83-Joey Saldana, 13.281; 8. 41-Jason Johnson, 13.311; 9. 7-Paul McMahan, 13.335; 10. 7S-Jason Sides, 13.343; 11. 20A-Jordan Adams, 13.469; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen, 13.482; 13. 41X-Dominic Scelzi, 13.523; 14. 6N-Greg Nikitenko, 13.611; 15. 91K-Kyle Fedyk, 13.882; 16. 21-Ryder Olson, 13.966; 17. W20-Greg Wilson, 14.006; 18. 13-Clyde Knipp, 14.103; 19. 7T-Trent Stengl, 14.117; 20. 5G-Dave Glennon, 14.207; 21. 99-Jordan Graham, 14.345; 22. 20-Kevin Lawson, 14.697; 23. 17M-Todd Mickelson, 14.825; 24. 8B-Jack Croaker, 15.059; 25. 90-Randy Blotsky, 15.254; 26. 20L-Dusty Lawson, 15.375
Heat 1 – (8 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 2-Shane Stewart  ; 2. 5-David Gravel  ; 3. 83-Joey Saldana  ; 4. 7S-Jason Sides  ; 5. 41X-Dominic Scelzi  ; 6. 7T-Trent Stengl  ; 7. 21-Ryder Olson  ; 8. 90-Randy Blotsky  ; 9. 20-Kevin Lawson 
Heat 2 – (8 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 9-Daryn Pittman  ; 2. 15-Donny Schatz  ; 3. 41-Jason Johnson  ; 4. 20A-Jordan Adams  ; 5. 6N-Greg Nikitenko  ; 6. W20-Greg Wilson  ; 7. 5G-Dave Glennon  ; 8. 17M-Todd Mickelson  ; 9. 20L-Dusty Lawson 
Heat 3 – (8 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 49-Brad Sweet  ; 2. 1S-Logan Schuchart  ; 3. 7-Paul McMahan  ; 4. 1A-Jacob Allen  ; 5. 13-Clyde Knipp  ; 6. 91K-Kyle Fedyk  ; 7. 99-Jordan Graham  ; 8. 8B-Jack Croaker 
Dash – (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 6 starting positions of A-feature) – 1. 1S-Logan Schuchart  ; 2. 15-Donny Schatz  ; 3. 49-Brad Sweet  ; 4. 5-David Gravel  ; 5. 2-Shane Stewart  ; 6. 9-Daryn Pittman 
B-Main – (12 Laps – Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 5G-Dave Glennon  [-]; 2. 21-Ryder Olson  [-]; 3. 99-Jordan Graham  [-]; 4. 8B-Jack Croaker  [-]; 5. 20-Kevin Lawson  [-]; 6. 20L-Dusty Lawson  [-]; 7. 90-Randy Blotsky  [$300]; 8. 17M-Todd Mickelson  [$250]