Home / DIRTcar Nationals / EXCLUSIVE: Schatz Goes 4 of 5 in DIRTcar Nationals Sprint Action; Wins First Career Gator Championship

EXCLUSIVE: Schatz Goes 4 of 5 in DIRTcar Nationals Sprint Action; Wins First Career Gator Championship

By CAMDEN PROUD

Donny Schatz picked up yet another victory at the Volusia Speedway Park on Sunday evening to conclude Sprint Week at the DIRTcar Nationals and clinch the first ever Gator Championship of his career as well as for his Artic Cat, Tony Stewart Racing team. Schatz took four out of five wins as part of the week long event between the Artic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions and World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series as the Fargo, N.D. now has 251 career Outlaw wins and a healthy point lead to start the season joining first time winner Sheldon Haudenschild as the two Outlaw victors at the 2018 DIRTcar Nationals.

Schatz started fourth in the Sprint Week finale on Sunday and by lap 1, he shot by third place starter Jason Johnson and outside pole sitter Parker Price-Miller. At the lap and a half mark, he passed polesitter Brian Brown for the lead going into turn number three.

On lap 7, the race was slowed for a caution involving Kyle Larson and Rico Abreu, which allowed Brown to take the lead back monetarily on a restart, but Brown didn’t stay there for long as the driver of the Textron Off Road No. 15 got the top spot back on the same move that he lost it to just a few laps earlier.

The nine time and defending series champion lead the race for the remaining 21 circuits to go on to the victory virtually without any challenges, despite Haudenschild and second place finisher Brad Sweet eventually drawing within striking distance of Schatz in heavy lapped traffic with about five laps to go, but not close enough to get by Schatz.

“We slowed down a whole bunch in traffic,” mentioned Schatz in victory lane. “We thought we had a pretty solid car in the dash, we kept trying because right now is the time to learn things and we definitely learned. We started near the front tonight and that definitely helped.”

There’s not much hardware that Donny Schatz has not won throughout his illustrious career, but a supersized Gator at the DIRTcar Nationals was one of those items prior to to Sunday evening’s action. But, that is now no longer. Schatz was thrilled to start the season by nearly sweeping Sprint Week at Volusia, an incredible feat, regardless of just how “good” you really are.

“You aren’t going to have a perfect race car every night and you will have nights that you win and some that you shouldn’t, but if you learn from your mistakes that’s what you have to do and that’s how you will succeed,” quipped Schatz. “I know exactly now if I could go do it again what I would do, but it’s over and we got a gator which is awesome because I don’t think I’ve ever won the Gatornationals, so to start the season with four wins in five nights is pretty incredible.

Schatz was quick to credit his hardworking Tony Stewart Racing crew for a stout piece all week long which lead to his team’s four victories in the last five nights.

“Hats off to this whole race team on an incredible week,” Schatz said. “Ronnie Shaver was here helping us all week because we didn’t know if Rick would be here, Damion Gardner thanks for being here helping us and Brad, Scuba, Rick. It’s just an incredible deal.”

The next event for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series is at the Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, T.X. on Friday, February 23.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series – Volusia Speedway Park – February 11, 2018:

A-Main (30-laps): 1. 15 Donny Schatz, 2. 49 Brad Sweet, 3. 17 Sheldon Haudenschild, 4. 41 Jason Johnson, 5. 10H Chad Kemenah, 6. 2 Shane Stewart, 7. 21 Brian Brown, 8. 13X Paul McMahan, 9. 5 David Gravel, 10. 4 Parker Price-Miller, 11. 49X Tim Shaffer, 12. 27 Greg Hodnett, 13. 11k Kraig Kinser, 14. 18 Ian Madsen, 15. 26 Joey Saldana, 16. 2M Kerry Madsen, 17. 9 Daryn Pittman, 18. 1K Kyle Larson, 19. 7S Jason Sides, 20. 1S Logan Schuchart, 21. 5W Luycas Wolfe, 22. 70 Dave Blaney, 23. W20 Greg Wilson, 24. 44 Trey Starks, 25. 24 Rico Abreu, 26. 1A Jacob Allen, 27. 13 Clyde  Knipp

Heat 1 (8-laps): 1. 2 Shane Stewart, 2. 13X Paul McMahan, 3. 24 Rico Abreu, 4. 1K Kyle Larson, 5. 17 Sheldon Haudenschild, 6. 49X Tim Shaffer, 7. 11K Kriag KInser, 8. 19 Brent Marks, 9. 9 Daryn Pittman, 10. 44 Trey Starks, 11. 13 Clyde Knipp

Heat 2 (8-laps): 1. 15 Donny Schatz, 2. 21 Brian Brown, 3. 27 Greg Hodnett, 4. 26 Joey Saldana, 5. 18 Ian Madsen, 6. 7S Jason Sides, 7. 2M Kerry Madsen, 8. 5W Lucas Wolfe, 9. 30 CJ Leary, 10. 00 Dane Lorenc

Heat 3 (8-laps): 1. 41 Jason Johnson, 2. 4 Parker Price-Miller, 3. 49 Brad Sweet, 4. 70 Dave Blaney, 5. 10H Chad Kemenah, 6. 5 David Gravel, 7. 1S Logan Schuchart, 8. 1A Jacob Allen, 9. 83 Cory Eliason, 10. W20 Greg Wilson

Dash (6-laps):1. 21 Brian Brown, 2. 4 Parker Price-Miller, 3. 41 Jason Johnson, 4. 15 Donny Schatz, 5. 2 Shane Stewart, 6. 13X Paul McMahan

B-Main (12-laps, 6 qualify): 1. 44 Trey Starks, 2. 2M Kerry Madsen, 3. 1S Logan Schuchart, 4. 11K Kraig Kinser, 5. 1A Jacob Allen, 6. 5W Lucas Wolfe, 7. 9 Daryn Pittman, 8. 83 Cory Eliason, 9.W20 Greg Wilson, 10. 13 Clyde Knipp, 11. 00 Dane Lorenc, 12. 30 CJ Leary, 13. 19 Brent Marks – DNF

Qualifying: 1. 13X Paul McMahan – 13.058, 2. 21 Brian Brown – 13.083, 3. 41 Jason Johnson – 13.198, 4. 2 Shane Stewart – 13.220, 5. 15 Donny Schatz – 13.328, 6. 4 Parker Price-Miller – 13.258, 7. 17 Sheldon Haudenschild – 13.290, 8. 27 Greg Hodnett – 13.348, 9. 10H Chad Kemenah – 13.349, 10. 24 Rico Abreu – 13.367, 11. 7S Jason Sides – 13.428, 12. 70 Dave Blaney – 13.440, 13. 144 Trey Starks – 13.458, 14. 26 Joey Saldana – 13.471, 15. 49 Brad Sweet – 13.529, 16. 1K Kyle Larson – 13.577, 17. 18 Ian Madsen – 13.598, 18. 1A Jacob Allen – 13.635, 19. 11K Kraig Kinser – 13.638, 20. 2M Kerry Madsen – 13.644, 21. 1S Logan Schuchart – 13.648, 22. 49X Tim Shaffer – 13.664, 23. 5W Lucas Wolfe – 13.581, 24. 5 David Gravel – 13.698, 25. 19 Brent Marks – 13.749, 26. 00 Dane Lorenc – 13.799, 27. 83 Cory Eliason – 13.815, 28. 9 Daryn Pittman – 13.840, 29. CJ Leary – 13.965, 30. W20 Greg Wilson – 14.093, 31. 13 Clyde Knipp – 14.220

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