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Back to Back Crowns for Schatz at Eldora

Donny Schatz after winning the 2017 Kings Royal. (Mike Campbell photo)


By T.J. Buffenbarger

ROSSBURG, Ohio (July 15, 2017) – Donny Schatz became the driver to win back to back Kings Royal features Saturday night at Eldora Speedway with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series. Schatz took the lead from Brad Sweet on lap 14 and dominated the remainder of the 40-lap non-stop feature event.

“We did the same thing as we did last night,” said Schatz when commenting on what his team did to setup the race car. “Last night I thought I was a little better than Christopher (Bell), but that was only 30 laps. I didn’t know if the track was going to stay real fast to start out, but you have to make sure you have enough tire at the end and you don’t get to abusing them too bad. I just tried to play it cautious, but it seemed to be a little bit better than the guys in front of me. I tried to search out and find the right line, and got there fairly quick.”

For Schatz becoming the first back to back winner of the Kings Royal was amazing because the person who crowned him in victory lane, Steve Kinser, had not accomplished the feat.

“Anytime you can do anything Steve Kinser hasn’t done it’s pretty incredible.”

Cole Duncan started on the pole in his first ever Kings Royal main event start alongside of Sweet. Duncan took the lead from Sweet with Sheldon Haudenschild and Schatz behind him. Duncan built up a full straightaway lead while Chad Kemenah and Jac Haudenschild raced for fifth position with Kemenah using the bottom lane in turn four to take the position.

Eight laps in the feature Sweet and Schatz began to close in on Duncan. As the trio entered traffic the gap between them began to shrink. Duncan had short reprieve clearing some slower traffic on lap 10 while Schatz was all over Sweet’s back bumper. Behind them Kemenah was continuing to march to the front passing Sheldon Haudenschild for fourth position.

Lap 13 and 14 completed Schatz’s march to the point passing Sweet through turns one and two and passing Duncan one lap later through those same corners for the lead. From there Schatz instantly pulled away through traffic and opened an unsurmountable lead.

Behind Schatz the race for third on back was torrid with Duncan, Kemenah, Lee Jacobs, and Sheldon Haudesnchild. Jacobs and Duncan exchanged the third spot with slide jobs on lap 17 with Kemenah in striking distance while Sheldon Haudenschild dropped back.

While Duncan, Jacobs, and Kemenah raced for third then caught up to Sweet in second position. Sweet cleared slower traffic and pull away from Duncan on lap 24.

Just past halfway Christopher Bell started making his presence felt from 20th starting spot. Lap 27 Bell disposed of Daryn Pittman for the sixth spot and cracked the top five passing Kemenah on lap 29. Bell quickly maneuvered himself through the field into third position around Duncan on lap 31.

Bell continued his blistering pace pounding the wall around the half mile oval, even knocking his front wing out of position. This did not slow Bell though as he moved past Sweet with a huge slide job with two laps to go.

Out front though it was all Schatz winning by over three seconds. Bell gave Tony Stewart Racing a sweep of the top two positions while Sweet, Duncan, and Ryan Smith rounded out the top five.

After being crowned by Kinser during the post-race victory lane ceremonies Schatz reflected on being crowned by one of his childhood heroes and fellow competitor.

“I was just ecstatic when I heard it was Steve,” said Schatz. “He was one of the fiercest competitors you could race with in this sport. He’s the icon, he’s the guy that paved the way. That’s why we can media centers, $50,000 checks, and trophies. What he’s done over the course of the 35-year career is why we all have the prestige that we have today. You never know if you are going to have another one of those opportunities. That was probably the best moment of the night, being able to stand next to him. He let me know he was King one. I love that, because that means that guy still has the fire. He’s still the Steve Kinser I remember.”

Kings Royal
World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series
Eldora Speedway
Rossburg, OH
Saturday July 15, 2017

Qualifying: 1. 15 – Donny Schatz, 13.197; 2. 7S – Jason Sides, 13.463; 3. 14 – Christopher Bell, 13.478; 4. 41 – Jason Johnson, 13.558; 5. 11K – Kraig Kinser, 13.580; 6. 24 – Rico Abreu, 13.655; 7. 5 – David Gravel, 13.655; 8. 2 – Shane Stewart, 13.670; 9. 93 – Sheldon Haudenschild, 13.671; 10. 4 – Paul McMahan, 13.723; 11. 1A – Jacob Allen, 13.762; 12. 7K – Cale Conley, 13.770; 13. 07 – Ryan Smith, 13.778; 14. 9 – Daryn Pittman, 13.782; 15. 2M – Kerry Madsen, 13.820; 16. 19 – Brent Marks, 13.821; 17. 21 – Brian Brown, 13.829; 18. 39 – Sammy Swindell, 13.886; 19. 99 – Brady Bacon, 13.889; 20. 10H – Chad Kemenah, 13.909; 21. 71 – Joey Saldana, 13.932; 22. 17 – Jac Haudenschild, 13.938; 23. 49 – Brad Sweet, 13.947; 24. 12N – Cole Duncan, 13.963; 25. 81 – Lee Jacobs, 13.982; 26. 49X – Tim Shaffer, 14.028; 27. W20 – Greg Wilson, 14.048; 28. 1S – Logan Schuchart, 14.061; 29. A67 – Brandon Wimmer, 14.067; 30. 3H – James McFadden, 14.103; 31. 13 – Clyde Knipp, 14.105; 32. 45 – Trevor Baker, 14.106; 33. 1ST – Gary Taylor, 14.109; 34. 18 – Ian Madsen, 14.114; 35. 55MX – Dale Blaney, 14.131; 36. 16 – Chris Andrews, 14.135; 37. 41S – Dominic Scelzi, 14.170; 38. 2X – Parker Price-Miller, 14.198; 39. 5T – Travis Philo, 14.209; 40. 11N – Craig Mintz, 14.234; 41. 19P – Paige Polyak, 14.280; 42. 17XX – Danny Holtgraver, 14.304; 43. 44 – Trey Starks, 14.307; 44. 17X – Josh Baughman, 14.367; 45. 33M – Max Stambaugh, 14.399; 46. 21AU – Jordyn Brazier, 14.454; 47. 22M – Dan McCarron, 14.531; 48. 49D – Shawn Dancer, 14.625; 49. 7J – Joe Swanson, 14.796; 50. 71M – Paul May, 14.854; 51. 83C – Adam Cruea, 14.882; 52. 17M – Max McGhee, 14.932; 53. 45T – Bob Tucker, 15.192.

Heat Race #1 (10 Laps): 1. 15 – Donny Schatz, 2. 81 – Lee Jacobs, 3. 24 – Rico Abreu, 4. 07 – Ryan Smith, 5. 41S – Dominic Scelzi, 6. 44 – Trey Starks, 7. 13 – Clyde Knipp, 8. 7J – Joe Swanson, 9. 99 – Brady Bacon. (First three finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Heat Race #2 (10 Laps): 1. 49X – Tim Shaffer, 2. 10H – Chad Kemenah, 3. 2 – Shane Stewart, 4. 7S – Jason Sides, 5. 45 – Trevor Baker, 6. 71M – Paul May. DNS: 17X – Josh Baughman, 2 – Parker Price-Miller. (First three finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Heat Race #3 (10 Laps): 1. 93 – Sheldon Haudenschild. 2. 17 – Kerry Madsen, 2. 71 – Joey Saldana, 4. W20 – Greg Wilson, 5. 1ST – Gary Taylor, 6. 5T – Travis Philo, 7. 33M – Max Stambaugh, 8. 83 – Adam Cruea, 9. 14 – Christopher Bell. (First three finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Heat Race #4 (10 Laps): 1. 17 – Jac Haudenschild, 2. 1S – Logan Schuchart, 3. 19M – Brent Marks, 4. 18 – Ian Madsen, 5. 41 – Jason Johnson, 6. 4 – Paul McMahan, 7. 11N – Craig Mintz, 8. 17M – Max McGhee, 9. 21AU – Jordyn Brazier. (First three finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Heat Race #5 (10 Laps): 1. 49 – Brad Sweet, 2. 21 – Brian Brown, 3. 11K – Kraig Kinser, 4. 55MX – Dale Blaney, 5. A97 – Brandon Wimmer, 6. 19P – Paige Polyak, 7. 1A – Jacob Alley, 8. 22M – Dan McCarron, 9. 45T – Bob Tucker. (First three finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Heat Race #6 (10 Laps): 1. 12N – Cole Duncan, 2. 3H – James McFadden, 3. 39 – Kevin Swindell, 4. 5 – David Gravel, 5. 49D – Shawn Dancer, 6. 16 – Chris Andrews, 7. 7K – Cale Conley, 8. 17XX – Danny Holtgraver. (First three finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Two fastest qualifiers that did not make the A-Main start 19th and 20th: Jason Sides and Christopher Bell.

C-Main (12 Laps): 1. 13 – Clyde Knipp, 2. 33M – Max Stambaugh, 3. 11N – Craig Mintz, 4. 7J – Joe Swanson, 5. 17M – Max McGhee, 6. 22M – Dan McCarron, 7. 45T – Bob Tucker, 8. 83C – Adan Cruea, 9. 17X – Josh Baughman. DNS: 1A – Jacob Allen, 7K – Cale Conley, 17XX – Danny Holtgraver, 99 – Brady Bacon, 21AU – Jordyn Brazier. (First six finishers transferred to the B-Main)

B-Main (15 Laps): 1. 5 – David Gravel, 2. 2 – Shane Stewart, 3. 18 – Ian Madsen, 4. 07 – Ryan Smith, 5. W20 – Greg Wilson, 6. 5T – Travis Philo, 7. 41S – Dominic Scelzi, 8. 55XM – Dale Blaney, 9. 41 – Jason Johnson, 10. 1ST – Gary Taylor, 11. 4 – Paul McMahan, 12. 71M – Paul May, 13. 11N – Craig Mintz, 14. 33M – Max Stambaugh, 15. 44 – Trey Starks, 16. 16 – Chris Andrews, 17. 49D – Shawn Dancer, 18. 17M – Max McGhee, 19. 22M – Dan McCarron, 20. 45 – Trevor Baker, 21. 19P – Paige Polyak, 22. 13 – Clyde Knipp, 23. A67 – Brandon Wimmer. 24. 7J – Joe Swanson. (First four finishers transferred to the Feature)

Feature (40 Laps): 1. 15 – Donny Schatz, 2, 14 – Christopher Bell, 2. 49 – Brad Sweet, 4. 12N – Cole Duncan, 5. 07 – Ryan Smith, 6. 81 – Lee Jacobs, 7. 10H – Chad Kemenah, 8. 9 – Daryn Pittman, 9. 11K – Kraig Kinser, 10. 93 -Sheldon Haudenschild, 11. 24 – Rico Abreu, 12. 1S – Logan Schuchart, 13. 2M – Kerry Madsen, 14. 18 – Ian Madsen, 15. 2 – Shane Stewart, 16. 71 – Joey Saldana, 17. 5 – David Gravel, 18. 21 – Brian Brown, 19. 39 – Sammy Swindell, 20. 7S – Jason Sides, 21. 3H – James McFadden, 22. 17 – Jac Haudenschild, 23. 19 – Brent Marks. 24. 49X – Tim Shaffer.