Donny Schatz Slides To World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory At Grandview Speedway Bechtelsville, PA -- May 16, 2006 -- First it was Mother Nature, then Brooke Tatnell and finally Daryn Pittman, but no one on Tuesday night at Grandview Speedway...
Donny Schatz Slides To World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory At Grandview Speedway
Bechtelsville, PA -- May 16, 2006 -- First it was Mother Nature, then Brooke Tatnell and finally Daryn Pittman, but no one on Tuesday night at Grandview Speedway could prevent Donny Schatz from capturing his fourth World of Outlaws Sprint Series checkered flag of the season.
Starting seventh, Schatz quickly sliced his way into the top five and methodically worked past Craig Dollansky and Jac Haudenschild to slide into second, looking high and low on the high-banked 1/3-mile oval before making his move in the ParkerStore J&J.
Once in second and in heavy traffic, Schatz set his sights on Pittman, who slid into the lead when pole-sitter Tatnell pulled off on Lap 7 of the 35-lap feature. Pittman tried to fight off Schatz, but Schatz had the advantage of seeing Pittman's line and caught him with three laps to go. When Pittman's Titan Garages & Carports Maxim was trapped by lapped cars, Schatz powered his way to the front with a pass on the high-side on Lap 33 to go and drove off to the RacinSoles Victory Lane, pocketing $10,000 in the process and strengthening his position atop the World of Outlaws Sprint Series championship standings.
Pittman, who led 26 laps, held on to finish second. Dollansky started sixth in the Karavan Trailers Maxim and worked his way to his third top-three finish in the past four events, while Haudenschild in the Wright One Construction Maxim and Joey Saldana in the Kasey Kahne-owned Dodge/Curb Records JEI rounded out the top five. Haudenschild's finish was enough to boost him into second place in the overall standings.
Greg Hodnett charged from 22nd to finish an impressive sixth in the Wirtgen/Hamilton Motorsports J&J as Pennsylvania legend Fred Rahmer in the Miller Brothers J&J, Terry McCarl in the Big Game Treestands Eagle, Lance Dewease in the Hamm/Professional Building Systems Maxim and Randy Hannagan in the Terry Hannagan Racing Maxim completed the top 10.
A brief afternoon rain threatened to delay the opener to Grandview's Thunder on the Hill Racing Series before promoter Bob Miller and his crew whipped the track into condition.
"I can't thank my team enough for working as hard as they do," said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. "We had a little problem in the dash with the motor and never really found anything. (Crew chief) Ricky (Warner) and the guys have been itching to go racing with all of these rain outs and we just wanted to put on a good show. The last time we raced we weren't really impressive and this is more like how we expect race night in and night out."
Schatz now has claimed both World of Outlaws victories this season on 1/3-miles tracks as he also won on April 1 at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo. He will be one of the favorites heading into the Commonwealth Clash on Friday at Lernerville Speedway as well as the $50,000 Challenge at the 3/8-mile Sharon Speedway on Saturday night.
"It's great to be back here in victory lane, it's been a while," Schatz said. "We are back racing and hopefully we can keep this pace up. I had some bad finishes and I guess that's just how racing is. We just have to see how well we rebound from it, and tonight it went with us and against us. We had a little motor issue and I didn't know if we would be able to finish. I think we hurt the motor pretty bad, but that's the way it goes. There's only so much the guys can do, and they are doing all that they can."
At times while Pittman was leading, Schatz fell back in traffic, but once he started to run the high line, his car hooked up and he was able to gain considerable ground on the leader.
"We just had to go where he (Pittman) wasn't," Schatz said. "You're going to have lapped traffic in a race that goes that long. Our car was good and we could go anywhere. It was just a matter of if I was patient enough to stop it and go around the bottom, or we even went through the middle a little bit. I just had to make the right choices, and he made a bad one and we made a good one at the same time. Once we got by, I didn't know if we were going to stay there because he probably was a little better than us. All in all, glad to be back in victory lane. It's more fun to be in victory lane than not."
Pittman dominated the feature in front of the large crowd and was happy with a runner-up finish.
"Second is never anything to shake your head about," said Pitman, a native of Owasso, Okla. "To lead all those laps and it just wasn't the right lap. We were good and had a great car. I felt we had the car to win the race. Lapped traffic just didn't work our way. You always say you win them and lose them in lapped traffic."
Pittman is excited as the schedule is beginning to enter its busiest part of the season as he and the Mean 15 will be racing night in and night out.
"I just don't want to rain out anymore," Pittman said. "As long as we can keep finishing in the top-five. We need to get our first win of the year, and Lernerville would be a perfect place. I'm definitely tickled to start off this way and hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate and we can get a few in."
For Dollansky, who won on April 15 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind., a third-place finish marks another solid points run as he continues to chase down Schatz in the World of Outlaws standings.
"We definitely were good at the beginning of the race and struggled a bit as it wore on," said Dollansky, of Elk River, Minn. "We could have done a few things different early on that would have made us better at the end of the race. It was a good run for the team tonight. A good strong finish and we have to just keep building on that."
Dollansky, like many of the other drivers, did not know what to expect from the track surface, especially since an afternoon rain shower dropped more precipitation on an already saturated racetrack.
"The track was beautiful," Dollansky said. "For the rain that they had, you could race anywhere you wanted out there. You had a bottom. You had middle at some points and the top. A great race track."
The momentum-building run gets Dollansky back on track heading into Lernerville, Sharon and Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"We had some mechanical problems (May 7) at Huset's Speedway and had to start in the back and got caught up in a wreck and that hurt us a little bit," Dollansky said. "Before that, things were clicking very well. Now we're back on track for that again, and I'm feeling really good about things. Hopefully Mother Nature cooperates and we can get a lot of races in."
Next up is a potentially huge payout for one driver this weekend at Lernerville and Sharon speedways. The Mean 15 drivers will be racing all out in the Commonwealth Clash on May 19 at Lernerville, where the winner will have shot at a $50,000 bonus on May 20 at Sharon, but only if they're up to the Challenge of coming from the rear of the field. The World of Outlaws Sprint Series then returns on May 24 to The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., for the Eckerd Outlaw Showdown and the Mean 15 drivers' first trip to intimidating Williams Grove Speedway on May 26-27 in Mechanicsburg, Pa. The World of Outlaws closes out the month with events at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, N.Y., and at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, N.Y.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series is brought to the fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire and The Outdoor Channel. Promotional Partners include AMB i.t. and The University of Northwestern Ohio. Associate sponsors are ButlerBuilt Motorsports Equipment, Maxim Racing, RacinSoles and Snap-on. Contingency sponsors include DART Machinery, MSD Ignitions and Wrisco Industries.