Grand Forks, ND (June 21, 2014) - - Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz made a memorable return to his home state of North Dakota Friday by driving to a thrilling victory that tied him for third in all-time World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series A-Feature triumphs. His victory at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks came in the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J was his 153rd career A-Feature victory and pulled Schatz even with Mark Kinser on the all-time list. Schatz and TSR’s Steve Kinser completed the WoO weekend by racing to seventh- and eighth-place finishes Saturday at I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.
River Cities Speedway has become one of the best tracks for WoO action since the traveling Outlaws first circled the high-banked, quarter-mile dirt oval in 2007. Friday’s race continued to build that legacy. Schatz made a statement during qualifying that he would be a player in the evening’s outcome. He earned his third fast qualifier award before finishing fifth in the opening heat and advancing from eighth to fifth in the dash. In the 40-lap A-Feature, Schatz set his sights on the low groove and patiently raced inside the top-five during the opening 12 laps.
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Several cautions slowed the action before the race unfolded with a long green-flag run during the final half of the race. Schatz worked his way up to third and then tracked down leaders Kerry Madsen and Cody Darrah. Madsen led the first 27 laps before Darrah held the top spot for the next 10 laps. Schatz passed Madsen for third with a seven laps to go and then Darrah with two laps remaining. Schatz made two strong laps to close the race and picked up his sixth win of 2014 and fourth at River Cities. His previous wins there came in 2008, 2009 and 2012.
“It wasn’t pretty, I know that,” said Schatz. “It was on two wheels, no wheels – it was kind of all over the place. I was kind of nervous there during the first part (of the race). I just could not get the thing to roll the corners very well. This STP crew, I can’t say enough about them. They’re unbelievable. They did a great job, they deserve this. They kept digging and let me have a little fun and we got the victory.”
Kinser was looking to continue his recent string of success at River Cities in the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim. Qualifying put the 20-time WoO champion behind early as he timed 18th in the field of 37 competitors. He raced from fifth to third in the second heat and started the A-Feature outside of row nine. Kinser brought out the second caution of the race when he was tagged from behind and came to a stop. He rejoined the field and charged back to finish 14th.
The weekend continued with the Outlaws’ second-ever stop at I-94 Speedway. Kinser continued the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour” looking for his second A-Feature victory of the season and 578th of his illustrious career. He qualified 10th and won the opening heat to grab one of the eight positions in the dash. The dash draw didn’t work out in his favor and “The King of the Outlaws” would start the 30-lap A-Feature seventh. With threatening skies, the program was moved along quickly and the 30-lap A-Feature followed suit by going nonstop. Kinser advanced to fifth early before battling Daryn Pittman and Schatz during the final 10 laps. Schatz started 15th and finished eighth just ahead of Kinser. Roger Crockett held on for his first career victory despite blowing his right-rear tire on the white flag lap.
The results of the weekend enabled Schatz to extend his lead to 27 points over Pittman in the 2014 WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings. The Fargo, North Dakota native has posted six wins, a series-best 25 top-fives, 34 top-10s and has 5,527 points. Kinser ranks eighth with 5,018 points.
The TSR teams resume action this weekend with three races in Iowa and Wisconsin. The WoO returns Friday to 34 Raceway in Burlington, Iowa before two nights of action in Wisconsin Saturday at Beaver Dam Raceway and Cedar Lake Speedway in Somerset.