Schatz Starts Season in Victory Lane at Volusia

Donny Schatz. (Trent Gower photo)

By T.J. Buffenbarger

(February 10, 2022) – Donny Schatz had to wait until June of last year to pick up his first win of the season. Schatz made sure visiting victory lane occurred much sooner in 2022 by winning the season opening event for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series during the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

Schatz, the 10-time World of Outlaws champions from Fargo, North Dakota, took the lead from Aaron Reutzel at the start and held off a charge from sixth starting Kyle Larson during a restart with four laps to go, getting back by Larson before the start finish line. Schatz drove away over the final three laps for the victory in his Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing owned machine.

After the race Schatz felt his outside starting position was perfect for setting up his drive to victory around some of the ruts at the bottom of a very rough racetrack.

“I think the way it rolled out being on outside was probably a good place to start in the feature,” said Schatz of the outside lane. “I didn’t really want run down in the in the rough stuff, but there at the end of the race I’d rather land on the other side of the fence then run second. You have to think about the championship too, so I gave it you know, one or two good laps down there and got back in lead and got back on top.”

Aaron Reutzel was the fastest qualifier, won his heat race, and won the dash to put him on the pole position of the 25-lap main event during his first race using a Toyota engine. Schatz looked to put an end to Reutzel’s perfect night driving to the lead around the outside of the track on the opening lap.

After an early caution for Ayrton Gennetten slowing, Schatz continued to lead while Larson quickly made his way up from the sixth starting position to fourth by lap four, challenging David Gravel for third.

The second caution flag of the event was brought out by World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year award candidate and former NASCAR Cup Series racer Kasey Kahne, who ended up backwards in turn four. Kahne was able to rejoin the race at the tail of the field.

After the caution Larson was able to drive by Gravel between turns three and four to take over the third spot. Six laps later Reutzel was held up in slower traffic, which allowed Larson to drive under Reutzel to take over second position.

Larson was just starting to close on Schatz for the lead when the final caution flag of the event when defending World of Outlaws champion Brad Sweet slowed between turns one and two.

Larson was able to drive under Schatz during the restart through turns one and two, but Schatz was able to counter driving back under Larson to retain the lead. From there Schatz went back to the top of the racetrack and drove away to victory. Larson, Reutzel, Gravel, and Anthony Macri rounded out the top five.

Larson thought the track conditions and his ability to run the bottom would be an advantage, but

“I was definitely lower than anybody in front of me all night,” said Larson of running the rougher low line of the track. “I felt like that was playing into my favor little bit. Donnie was really good running the top and I just needed lap traffic, maybe. I felt like I was going to catch him not knowing that the bottom was as good as it was in one and two. It was a fun race. i I’m sure it’ll be like this, you know, every night so we get to run hard again tomorrow.”

World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series
DIRTcar Nationals
Volusia Speedway Park
Barberville, Florida
Thursday, February 10, 2022

1. 8-Aaron Reutzel, 13.853[4]
2. 1A-Jacob Allen, 13.903[2]
3. 41-Carson Macedo, 13.929[8]
4. 7BC-Tyler Courtney, 13.935[1]
5. 39M-Anthony Macri, 14.002[10]
6. 11-Kerry Madsen, 14.090[15]
7. 15-Donny Schatz, 14.101[22]
8. 2-David Gravel, 14.167[20]
9. 55-Alex Bowman, 14.169[16]
10. 57-Kyle Larson, 14.178[6]
11. 19-Brent Marks, 14.178[21]
12. 49-Brad Sweet, 14.186[32]
13. 48-Danny Dietrich, 14.207[5]
14. 9-Kasey Kahne, 14.236[11]
15. 83-James McFadden, 14.241[18]
16. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 14.246[14]
17. 21-Brian Brown, 14.267[29]
18. 26-Cory Eliason, 14.298[26]
19. 2C-Wayne Johnson, 14.341[9]
20. 18-Giovanni Scelzi, 14.343[34]
21. 13-Justin Peck, 14.361[31]
22. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr, 14.366[27]
23. 5-Spencer Bayston, 14.400[35]
24. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 14.408[30]
25. 3-Ayrton Gennetten, 14.411[33]
26. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss, 14.460[25]
27. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 14.483[24]
28. 23B-Brian Bell, 14.550[19]
29. 7B-Ben Brown, 14.635[7]
30. 7S-Jason Sides, 14.636[23]
31. 10-Paulie Colagiovanni, 14.810[13]
32. 6-Bill Rose, 14.845[12]
33. 9K-Kevin Thomas Jr, 15.045[17]
34. 20G-Noah Gass, 15.076[3]
35. 97-Alan Gilbertson, 16.128[36]
36. 3K-Jeremy Kerzman, NT[28]

Heat Race #1 (8 Laps)
1. 8-Aaron Reutzel[1]
2. 39M-Anthony Macri[2]
3. 13-Justin Peck[6]
4. 48-Danny Dietrich[4]
5. 55-Alex Bowman[3]
6. 3-Ayrton Gennetten[7]
7. 9K-Kevin Thomas Jr[9]
8. 7B-Ben Brown[8]
9. 21-Brian Brown[5]

Heat Race #2 (8 Laps)
1. 1A-Jacob Allen[1]
2. 57-Kyle Larson[3]
3. 9-Kasey Kahne[4]
4. 11-Kerry Madsen[2]
5. 26-Cory Eliason[5]
6. 7S-Jason Sides[8]
7. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[7]
8. 20G-Noah Gass[9]
9. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[6]

Heat Race #3 (8 Laps)
1. 41-Carson Macedo[1]
2. 15-Donny Schatz[2]
3. 83-James McFadden[4]
4. 19-Brent Marks[3]
5. 5-Spencer Bayston[6]
6. 11K-Kraig Kinser[7]
7. 10-Paulie Colagiovanni[8]
8. 97-Alan Gilbertson[9]
9. 2C-Wayne Johnson[5]

Heat Race #4 (8 Laps)
1. 2-David Gravel[2]
2. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[1]
3. 49-Brad Sweet[3]
4. 1S-Logan Schuchart[4]
5. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[5]
6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[6]
7. 23B-Brian Bell[7]
8. 6-Bill Rose[8]
9. 3K-Jeremy Kerzman[9]

DIRTVision FAST PASS Dash (6 Laps)
1. 8-Aaron Reutzel[2]
2. 15-Donny Schatz[3]
3. 39M-Anthony Macri[1]
4. 2-David Gravel[4]
5. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[5]
6. 57-Kyle Larson[7]
7. 41-Carson Macedo[8]
8. 1A-Jacob Allen[6]

Last Chance Showdown (12 Laps)
1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[1]
2. 3-Ayrton Gennetten[2]
3. 7S-Jason Sides[3]
4. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[6]
5. 11K-Kraig Kinser[4]
6. 10-Paulie Colagiovanni[7]
7. 9K-Kevin Thomas Jr[5]
8. 20G-Noah Gass[10]
9. 6-Bill Rose[12]
10. 7B-Ben Brown[9]
11. 23B-Brian Bell[8]
12. 97-Alan Gilbertson[11]
13. 21-Brian Brown[13]
14. 2C-Wayne Johnson[14]
15. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[15]
16. 3K-Jeremy Kerzman[16]

A-Main (25 Laps)
1. 15-Donny Schatz[2]
2. 57-Kyle Larson[6]
3. 8-Aaron Reutzel[1]
4. 2-David Gravel[4]
5. 39M-Anthony Macri[3]
6. 13-Justin Peck[9]
7. 1S-Logan Schuchart[16]
8. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[5]
9. 83-James McFadden[11]
10. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[20]
11. 11-Kerry Madsen[14]
12. 19-Brent Marks[15]
13. 41-Carson Macedo[7]
14. 26-Cory Eliason[18]
15. 48-Danny Dietrich[13]
16. 49-Brad Sweet[12]
17. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[23]
18. 5-Spencer Bayston[19]
19. 9-Kasey Kahne[10]
20. 7S-Jason Sides[22]
21. 55-Alex Bowman[17]
22. 11K-Kraig Kinser[24]
23. 1A-Jacob Allen[8]
24. 3-Ayrton Gennetten[21]
25. 6-Bill Rose[25]
26. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[26]