By Bill Klingbeil
Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser concluded the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series “California Spring Break Tour” Saturday night at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway, by finishing seventh and ninth, respectively. Those results followed Friday night’s fifth-place run for Schatz and 10th-place finish for Kinser at Merced (Calif.) Speedway.
Four-time WoO champion Schatz, driver of the No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevy J&J, entered the weekend’s action with four consecutive podium finishes and had a solid run in the Outlaws’ debut at the quarter-mile dirt oval in Merced. He finished second in the first heat and seventh in the dash. The Fargo, N.D., racer worked his way from seventh into the top-five during the 40-lap A-Feature.
TSR’s Kinser qualified eighth in the field of 33 cars at Merced and then raced the No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/ Chevy Maxim to a third-place finish in the fourth heat. “The King of the Outlaws” made his way up to 10th during the A-Feature to earn his ninth top-10 in the first 10 WoO events in 2011.
On Saturday, the Outlaws returned to picturesque Calistoga Speedway in the heart of California’s wine country for the first time since 2007. Kinser qualified seventh in the field of 25 competitors, finished second in the opening heat, but crashed on the opening lap of the dash. The Bass Pro Shops crew was able to rebuild the TSR No. 11 and Kinser raced to a ninth-place finish in the A-Feature.
The program didn’t get off to a good start for Schatz as he clocked the 17th-fastest lap during qualifications. A fourth-place finish in the second heat earned Schatz a spot in the 25-lap A-Feature. He was on a charge during the first 10 laps of the race and made his way up to sixth. Debris knocked a fuel line loose during the 14th circuit, which forced Schatz to stop during an ensuing caution. The STP crew replaced the line and Schatz raced from 16th back to seventh during the final 10 laps.
Kinser ranks second in the 2011 WoO championship standings, trailing Joey Saldana by four points. Schatz remains fourth in the standings with 1,493 markers, 53 behind Saldana. The TSR teams will return to their Indiana headquarters this week and prepare for the Outlaws’ 2011 Midwest debut on April 15, when Kinser and Schatz return to action at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway.
Dates: Friday-Saturday, April 1-2, 2011
Series: World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series
Locations: Friday – Merced (Calif.) Speedway
Saturday – Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway
Winners: Friday – Sammy Swindell of Big Game Racing
Saturday – Jason Sides of Sides Motorsports
TSR Results: Friday – Schatz (Started 7th, Finished 5th)
Kinser (Started 14th, Finished 10th)
Saturday – Schatz (Started 17th, Finished 7th)
Kinser (Started 10th, Finished 9th)