May 19, 2014 ---- Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) teammates Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz embarked on the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series’ first run of the season through Pennsylvania and New York with four races in five nights. Schatz led the way with four top-six finishes, including a pair of third-place runs, while Kinser fought his way through a couple of tough nights by closing the week with a fourth-place finish Sunday.
The annual May eastern tour kicked off Wednesday at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, Pennsylvania. Schatz qualified the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J ninth in the field of 48 cars and won the opening heat. The five-time WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion finished fourth in the dash and started the 35-lap A-Feature on the outside of row two. He raced inside the top-five during the opening 12 laps before falling to sixth following a midrace restart. He made several runs at sixth working the low side before being passed by Brian Montieth with eight laps remaining. Schatz maintained his line and got back by Montieth on the final lap to finish sixth.
Kinser entered Lincoln with 16 previous WoO A-Feature wins at the 4/10-mile dirt oval. The driver of the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim was the final competitor to make a qualifying lap, and he ended up 26th. The 20-time WoO champion finished one position from a transfer spot in both heat three and the Last Chance Showdown. He used a provisional starting spot in the A-Feature and raced past six cars to finish 19th.
Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, both TSR drivers qualified in the top-three. Schatz was second in the field of 43 cars and Kinser was third. Both transferred through his respective heat and finished third and fourth in the dash, respectively. The two battled for third early in the 25-lap A-Feature with Kinser taking the position. The two remained inside the top-four until Kinser’s machine went up in smoke after a driveline failure on lap 13. He coasted to a stop and was credited with a 25th-place finish. Schatz took over third and followed Daryn Pittman and Joey Saldana to the checkered flag.
The annual bragging rights for the Morgan Cup were on the line Saturday at Williams Grove. Schatz qualified fifth and finished fifth in the opening heat. The Fargo, North Dakota racer started third in the 30-lap A-Feature and held the fourth position for most of the race. The leaders – Pittman, Lucas Wolfe and Don Kreitz Jr. – were all within striking distance for Schatz, but passing was at a premium and he eventually finished fifth. Kinser was looking to bounce back Saturday but things didn’t get off to a good start. He qualified 27th and was involved in an accident in heat three that destroyed his Bad Boy Buggies machine. The team used a provisional starting spot in the A-Feature and finished 24th. Pittman won the race and kept the Morgan Cup trophy in the Outlaws’ hands for the fourth consecutive season.
The traveling Outlaws closed the week with their annual stop at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York. Schatz and Kinser both qualified well. Schatz timed in third and finished third in heat three. Kinser was fifth in qualifying and finished second in heat two. The drivers started both the dash and A-Feature side-by-side in row two. Pittman and Saldana once again led the field to the green in the 25-lap A-Feature with Schatz and Kinser chasing. There wasn’t a change of a position inside the top-four during the 25-lap parade. Pittman won his third consecutive race and Schatz finished third ahead of Kinser.
With 28 races in the books for 2014, Schatz remains third in the WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings with 3,936 points. He trails leader Pittman by 24 markers and is 12 points behind Saldana. He has earned three victories, 17 top-five finishes and 25 top-10s. Kinser holds seventh with 3,669 points and Sunday’s fourth-place finish was his seventh top-five of the season.
This week, the TSR teams continue their eastern swing with a race Tuesday at New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway before heading to The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Friday’s Circle K/NOS Energy Drink Outlaw Showdown.
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