AUS: Down Under II finale report

Donny Schatz Rolls to Victory in Finale of Outlaws Down Under II Granville, NSW, Australia -- January 16, 2005 -- It seems as if Donny Schatz can do no wrong on the World of Outlaws Sprint Series tour. He hoped the momentum from his 2004 ...

Donny Schatz Rolls to Victory in Finale of Outlaws Down Under II

Granville, NSW, Australia -- January 16, 2005 -- It seems as if Donny Schatz can do no wrong on the World of Outlaws Sprint Series tour. He hoped the momentum from his 2004 season-ending victory at Las Vegas would carry into this year, but after overhauling his car before the finale of Outlaws Down Under II Schatz had no idea how good he would be.

With light rain falling before and during the A-main feature at Parramatta City Raceway, Schatz dove to the low side on lap 5 to slip past Danny Lasoski and into the lead in Turn 4. Schatz never gave it back as he navigated traffic, cautions and even a red flag to win the 40-lap race by 12 car lengths.

Lasoski was able to hold onto second, followed by Aussie native Kerry Madsen, Outlaws star Daryn Pittman, and Pennsylvania Posse legend Fred Rahmer. Steve Kinser, who used a win in this event last year to propel himself to his 19th Outlaws championship, finished eighth.

"I chased this racecar up and down the pit area all night long," said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. "I changed just about everything on this car before the start of the A-main, and I wasn't sure we were doing the right thing, but it obviously paid off. I just have to thank Gary [Rush's] crew and my guys from back home, Brian Brookfield and John Pate, who deserve this win as much as I do.

"The money's really irrelevant, we just want to get victories. We wanted to win the Outlaw race here last year, and came up short. I just hope to God we can go home and keep the momentum up and go to Florida strong. I'll definitely be back here. I just want to thank all these people for coming out here on a Sunday night. This is definitely the best track in the country."

The stars of the first two nights, Madsen and Lasoski, raced side-by-side on the first lap before Madsen moved in front in Turn 4. A lap later, Lasoski made the same move to go in front before a caution flew for Jason Sides and Mark Wells, who spun in Turn 4.

Schatz, who started third, slid past Madsen on the outside in Turns 1 and 2 before locking in on Lasoski and going to the front on lap 5.

As Schatz was driving away from the field, a battle emerged for the other top-five positions. First Tim Shaffer drove past Steve Kinser into fourth, but Kinser reclaimed the position on lap 19.

A red flag came out on lap 21 when Trevor Green flipped in Turn 2. He was uninjured and was actually able to rejoin the field after making repairs.

When the race resumed, Kinser and Madsen exchanged third as Schatz drove out to a huge advantage. As the race wound down, Kinser began to fade as first Pittman went by him on the low side in Turn 2 and then Rahmer with a similar move.

"We just got beat by a better car tonight," said Lasoski, the 2001 Outlaws champion from Dover, Mo. "I learned a lot of things about this track tonight, and if they'll have me back I'll be able to use it the next time. My hat is off to Donny and his crew, they did a great job all weekend. My guys Mike [Kuemper] and Todd Splain came here for the first time and did great for me. You've got some great race fans and a great facility here, and you saw side-by-side racing all weekend long. From what I've seen, this is definitely the best facility in the country.

"I've watched Schatz since his first race with the World of Outlaws, and he's continued to grow and mature. He's going to be a force to be reckoned with for a long time to come."

A driver who would like a chance to be force on the World of Outlaws circuit is Madsen. An Aussie native who moved to Knoxville, Iowa, to improve his skills, Madsen's solid showing in Outlaws Down Under II -- a win, a second and a third in the three night event -- made it clear he has the talent to run with the world's greatest sprint car racers.

"We had great expectations this weekend," Madsen said. "I'm just glad we made it through and didn't tear anything up for a change. Donny was just too good tonight. I went up to the top for a lap and nearly spun. I just wish it was 10 more laps. I just hope it was a good show for everyone. I wish I could take this team on the road with me, but I can't."

Outlaws legend Sammy Swindell was having an impressive run during the event, but engine trouble while he was running second in the first heat race knocked him out for the finale. Craig Dollansky, Erin Crocker and Peter Murphy used provisionals to start the A-main, and Paul McMahan, another Outlaws star who was having a good showing, needed a second push before the A-main and had to start at the back of the field.

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series returns to the United States to kick off its usual grueling schedule by making its first appearance at Volusia Speedway Park on February 11 and 13.

-woo-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Erin Crocker , Craig Dollansky , Daryn Pittman , Jason Sides , Paul McMahan , Peter Murphy