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Schatz Wins Saturday Feature at Eldora

From Cristina Cordova

ROSSBURG, Ohio (May 13, 2017) – Eight-time World of Outlaws Champion and current points leader Donny Schatz scored his ninth season win on the second and final night of #LetsRaceTwo at Eldora Speedway, leading all 30 laps into the checkers. Behind him, a fierce battle for second and third ensued, in which Outlaws Brad Sweet and Jason Johnson ultimately lost out to Ohio-native Chad Kemenah and the much-loved Rico Abreu.

World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series Rookie of the Year contender Sheldon Haundenschild – quite popular at the track given the loud applause heard from fans – started in second next to Schatz, but fell back almost immediately with Brad Sweet and Jason Johnson battling for second. Heading into Lap 12, however, Kemenah, who had been dilligently working his way up from eighth, stole third from Johnson and started pressing on Sweet.

A Lap 20 restart after Shane Stewart slapped the wall in Turn 4, ending the night for the Larson Marks Racing #2 car, gave Kemenah a brief opportunity to battle Schatz for the lead, but the reigning champ pulled ahead and maintained a strong lead throughout the race.

“That’s not me; that’s this race team,” said Schatz. “These guys are incredible. They’re all capable of being crew chiefs on this car. They feed off each other. Sometimes I don’t give the best information. I try to do my best job, but some days I’m racing Lap 29 and they’re trying to figure out how to start the race. It’s just lucky to be around great people like that. It’s fun to get a win, especially here at Eldora.”

Unlike the previous night, in which the Craftsman Club Dash inversion pushed Schatz back into position seven from the second spot and put Johnson on the pole, the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing driver got lucky with an invert of six that put him on the pole after a less than stellar start to the day, while Tim Shaffer got pushed all the way to the back after earning the pole.

Oddly, no driver visited Victory Lane twice during the two-day event at the famed half-mile oval, and spectators witnessed two very different nights of racing at the ‘Big E’. The bottom was slicker, and the track was faster overall, allowing Shaffer to score a qualifying Quick Time of 12.915, not far from the 12.707-second track record established by Craig Dollansky on April 13, 2002. And despite Schatz’s win, he remained the only Outlaw in Victory Lane.

“We’ll take second against these guys,” said Kemenah from Victory Lane. “You know, they are the best.”

But this wasn’t Kemenah’s first trip there during #LetsRaceTwo. Last year, he followed Kerry Madsen into the checkers for another second place win. “This is really good,” said the Alvada, Ohio native. “Two years in a row now I ran second in this thing, so I need one more.”

World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series
Eldora Speedway
Rossburg, OH
Saturday May 13, 2017

Qualifying: 1. 49X-Tim Shaffer, 12.915; 2. 49-Brad Sweet, 13.055; 3. 41-Jason Johnson, 13.056; 4. 17-Joey Saldana, 13.059; 5. 10H-Chad Kemenah, 13.068; 6. 15-Donny Schatz, 13.136; 7. 5-David Gravel, 13.149; 8. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild, 13.159; 9. 24-Rico Abreu, 13.178; 10. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 13.203; 11. 44-Trey Starks, 13.207; 12. W20-Greg Wilson, 13.213; 13. 2-Shane Stewart, 13.219; 14. 99-Brady Bacon, 13.258; 15. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 13.289; 16. 9-Daryn Pittman, 13.298; 17. 48-Danny Dietrich, 13.361; 18. 12N-Cole Duncan, 13.384; 19. 4-Paul McMahan, 13.36; 20. 19-Brent Marks, 13.435; 21. 17X-Caleb Helms, 13.436; 22. 13-Clyde Knipp, 13.439; 23. 7S-Jason Sides, 13.457; 24. 20N-Hunter Schuerenberg, 13.475; 25. 11N-Dale Blaney, 13.518; 26. 7C-Caleb Armstrong, 13.657; 27. 49D-Shawn Dancer, 13.684; 28. 45-Trevor Baker, 13.762; 29. 1A-Jacob Allen, NT

Heat #1 (8 Laps) – Top 6 Transfer: 1. 49X-Tim Shaffer [1]; 2. 17-Joey Saldana [2]; 3. 5-David Gravel [3]; 4. 2-Shane Stewart [5]; 5. 1S-Logan Schuchart [4]; 6. 9-Daryn Pittman [6]; 7. 4-Paul McMahan [7]; 8. 13-Clyde Knipp [8]; 9. 45-Trevor Baker [10]; 10. 11N-Dale Blaney [9]

Heat #2 (8 Laps) – Top 6 Transfer: 1. 49-Brad Sweet [1]; 2. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [3]; 3. 10H-Chad Kemenah [2]; 4. 99-Brady Bacon [5]; 5. 48-Danny Dietrich [6]; 6. 44-Trey Starks [4]; 7. 7S-Jason Sides [8]; 8. 19-Brent Marks [7]; 9. 7C-Caleb Armstrong [9]; 10. 1A-Jacob Allen [10]

Heat #3 (8 Laps) – Top 6 Transfer: 1. 41-Jason Johnson [1]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz [2]; 3. 24-Rico Abreu [3]; 4. 11K-Kraig Kinser [5]; 5. W20-Greg Wilson [4]; 6. 12N-Cole Duncan [6]; 7. 49D-Shawn Dancer [9]; 8. 17X-Caleb Helms [7]

Craftsman Club Dash (6 Laps): 1. 15-Donny Schatz [1]; 2. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [2]; 3. 49-Brad Sweet [5]; 4. 17-Joey Saldana [3]; 5. 49X-Tim Shaffer [6]; 6. 41-Jason Johnson [4]
Last Chance Showdown (12 Laps) – Top 6 Transfer: 1. 4-Paul McMahan [1][-]; 2. 19-Brent Marks [2][-]; 3. 7S-Jason Sides [5][-]; 4. 13-Clyde Knipp [4][-]; 5. 1A-Jacob Allen [10][-]; 6. 11N-Dale Blaney [6][-]; 7. 17X-Caleb Helms [3][$300]; 8. 45-Trevor Baker [9][$250]; 9. 7C-Caleb Armstrong [7][$225]; 10. 49D-Shawn Dancer [8][$200]; 11. 20N-Hunter Schuerenberg [11][$200]

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 15-Donny Schatz [1][$10,000]; 2. 10H-Chad Kemenah [8][$5,000]; 3. 24-Rico Abreu [9][$3,000]; 4. 49-Brad Sweet [3][$2,700]; 5. 41-Jason Johnson [6][$2,500]; 6. 1S-Logan Schuchart [13][$2,200]; 7. 11K-Kraig Kinser [12][$2,000]; 8. 17-Joey Saldana [4][$1,800]; 9. 49X-Tim Shaffer [5][$1,600]; 10. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [2][$1,450]; 11. 9-Daryn Pittman [16][$1,300]; 12. 19-Brent Marks [20][$1,200]; 13. 4-Paul McMahan [19][$1,100]; 14. 5-David Gravel [7][$1,000]; 15. W20-Greg Wilson [15][$950]; 16. 12N-Cole Duncan [18][$900]; 17. 7S-Jason Sides [21][$850]; 18. 1A-Jacob Allen [23][$750]; 19. 48-Danny Dietrich [14][$725]; 20. 2-Shane Stewart [10][$700]; 21. 44-Trey Starks [17][$700]; 22. 99-Brady Bacon [11][$700]; 23. 13-Clyde Knipp [22][$700]; 24. 11N-Dale Blaney [24][$700]; Lap Leader: Donny Schatz 1-30; KSE Hard Charger Award: 19-Brent Marks[+8]