Schatz Continues Hot Streak, Wins Eagle Opener Eagle, NE (September 17, 2004) Donny Schatz held off a late race charge by Jason Sides to win the World of Outlaws 30 lap preliminary feature on the opening night of the One-Third Mile Short Track...
Schatz Continues Hot Streak, Wins Eagle Opener
Eagle, NE (September 17, 2004) Donny Schatz held off a late race charge by Jason Sides to win the World of Outlaws 30 lap preliminary feature on the opening night of the One-Third Mile Short Track Nationals Friday at Eagle Raceway. Schatz, fresh off a $20,000 Gold Cup win at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, CA last Saturday also hoped to defend the One-Third Mile Short Track Nationals title he won at Eagle Raceway in 2003.
Starting from the pole, the ParkerStore #15 J&J of Schatz took the lead but Kerry Madsen spun in turn two, collecting both Beef Packers' entries: the #83 of Mark Kinser and #83jr of Tim Kaeding. Madsen had earlier problems in the First Dash, when he came to a stop on the last lap. Kinser was able to continue, while Kaeding's night ended on the tow truck hook.
Schatz was challenged early as the #7s Sides Motorsports Maxim of Jason Sides pulled alongside Schatz for two laps and took the lead on the low side of turn four with three laps down. The two drivers diced alongside each other with Schatz taking the lead on lap six, giving it back to Sides on lap seven, then reclaiming the top spot on lap 14.
The battle now was for the runner-up spot as Shane Stewart slipped the #4m MIN Motorsports Maxim past Sides to take second at the half-way mark in the race. It became a three-way fight as Danny Lasoski's #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle raced three-wide with Sides and Stewart. When the dogfight ended, it was Lasoski coming out second, trailed by Stewart and Sides.
Steve Kinser began to make his presence felt in the #11 Quaker State Maxim on lap 19 as he passed Sides for fourth coming out of turn four. The caution would fly as Tim St Arnold hit the infield berm, spun and came to a stop. Kinser and Sides dueled again for fourth. As Sides was lapping the #1x of Terry Hannagan, he made light contact with the lapped car, sending Hannagan spinning and the yellow flag flying with just five laps remaining.
With no lapped traffic separating the top six cars, the final five circuits were a battle-royale for the win. As the green flew, Schatz held point. Sides began to make his moves starting with passing Stewart on the outside of turn two. On the next lap, Steve Kinser was Sides' next conquest as he passed Kinser for third in the second corner. Closing on the leaders, Sides still was working the outside groove and he slipped past Danny Lasoski for second coming out of turn four as they took the white flag. Schatz was drawing near, but as they rounded turn four for the final time, it was Schatz across the line, a half-second in front of Sides.
Schatz felt that the biggest help in his win came before the race: "Getting the 4 inversion for the dash tonight really helped us," Schatz said. "We were running pretty good on the bottom, and Jason (Sides) was trying to make the top work, and I guess he did. We had to stay on the bottom. We tried something a little different with the car tonight, and it wasn't as good as we wanted, but it got us locked in for tomorrow. We have a lot of work to do to try to get back here (in victory lane) tomorrow." Danny Lasoski was third, and Steve Kinser finished fourth. The top four from Friday automatically qualify for the Saturday night finale.
Joey Saldana nipped Shane Stewart at the line for fifth. Craig Dollansky, Brooke Tatnell, Sammy Swindell, and Terry McCarl completed the top ten.
Former Eagle Raceway champion Billy Alley made an impressive showing, qualifying tenth, finishing second in Dash Two, and coming home eleventh in the A feature. Erin Crocker, the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Candidate was running fifth in the B feature, one shy of a transfer position, until she tangled with a lapped car and spun. Lynton Jeffrey, who qualified for the A from his heat race, scratched before the start of the A, giving Jason Solwold the alternate starting spot.