Reign Day: Points Leader Donny Schatz Weathers Jackson Speedway for 14th Win Jackson, MN--September 16, 2006 -- Even Mother Nature could not stop Donny Schatz on Saturday night at Jackson Speedway from completing a weekend sweep of World of ...
Reign Day: Points Leader Donny Schatz Weathers Jackson Speedway for 14th Win
Jackson, MN--September 16, 2006 -- Even Mother Nature could not stop Donny Schatz on Saturday night at Jackson Speedway from completing a weekend sweep of World of Outlaws Sprint Series races. With a fast approaching thunderstorm on the horizon, Schatz charged to his second straight win A-Feature win and series best 14th triumph of the season. He started the weekend on Friday night by winning the 1/3-Mile Short Track Nationals at Eagle Raceway.
Schatz started on the pole position for a series best eighth time this season after winning his series leading eighth dash.
The reigning Knoxville Nationals winner led the most laps on the night and received four bonus points for this, along with receiving one bonus point for being the fifth fastest qualifier on the night. This helped him extend his point lead with nine races remaining as he chases his first series title.
On the initial start, Becca Anderson in the Upstate Kenworth Maxim got a strong run on Schatz on the outside of turn two and took the lead. She would extend that lead to nearly a half straight-a-way during the first five laps. She got into lapped traffic on the sixth circuit and that gave Schatz the chance he needed to quickly close back in on her back bumper.
On the tenth lap, Anderson had to hit the brakes in traffic and that allowed Schatz to get a run on her down the straight and he dove low in turns one and two to make the pass for the lead and ultimately the win.
Anderson led the first nine laps of the 30-lap event and kept Schatz in her sights until a lap 18 caution for a broken left side board on the wing of her car. She restarted in the second spot, but had to pull into the infield a couple laps of laps later, as the car would not cooperate with the missing panel. She ended the night in 22nd.
Schatz pulled away on the final restart and encountered some traffic with four laps to go, but was able to slice his way through the slower car to make his way to RacinSoles Victory Lane. He held off Joey Saldana in the Mopar-powered Dodge/Curb Records JEI.
"We were in the right spot all night long," said Schatz. "We qualified in the right spot and started the dash in the right spot. The race track was fast. It was hard to race on. We were just glad we started up there and we were able to get by Becca (Anderson) in lapped traffic."
Saldana had a bittersweet night, as he was ecstatic with his second place run, but knew his team had some work to do, as the engine was severely damaged during the 30-lap A-Feature. Even with his engine going sour, he was able to keep pace with Schatz, as the pair sliced through lap traffic, lapping all the way up to 10th place.
"That is a good run for us," said Saldana. "We definitely needed it after some tough races. This time of the year has not been too good to us, after Knoxville about the last 10 races. It's good to get a good finish in. We blew up a motor about halfway through. We were pretty lucky to finish second. I'll take it and we go back home finally after this big long swing."
Craig Dollansky piloting the Karavan Trailers Maxim finished in the third spot in his native state. He battled with Saldana for the majority of the race, and was just behind him at the finish line.
"Another third place finish and it seems like we have had a lot of them," said Dollansky. "You know what, that is not all bad. When you finish that far up front, the wins will come with it. It was a good run for the Karavan team and we'll get ready for next weekend."
Terry McCarl brought the Big Game Treestands Eagle home in the fourth spot. Not only was he happy for his team and all the hard work they put in day in and day out, but he was very pleased for his sponsors, of which many are based in the state of Minnesota.
"It was a tricky race track," said McCarl. "My car was working the best we could have gotten it. We're really happy to come home fourth. We've won a lot of races here at Jackson. We have a lot of sponsors around here. Big Game Treestands only lives about 20 miles away and Bosma Poultry is only 30 miles away. This is big for us. The bulk of our sponsorship comes from this area. It was an important race for us."
Mark Dobmeier picked up his best career World of Outlaws finish with a fifth aboard the Kee Technology J&J. He started the A-Feature in eighth. He slipped around Wayne Johnson on lap 18 before making his way into sixth one lap later. He gained one more position on the final lap, after Brooke Tatnell had a tire go flat as he took the white flag.
Jason Martin turned in a very solid performance in the NOS Energy Drink/Mafia Motorsports Maxim as he powered his way from 11th to a career beat sixth in his first ever visit to the tricky and fast half-mile.
The rest of the Top-10 was Jac Haudenschild in seventh in the Wright One Construction Maxim. Wayne Johnson was eighth in the Mopar/Wirtgen Maxim. This was the second straight night he drove the car owned by Guy Forbrook.
Daryn Pittman kept his solid run of Top-10 finishes together with a ninth. Dusty Zomer, who turned the second fastest lap in time trials for the second night in a row, came home 10th in the Bargain Barn Tire Schnee.
Schatz and his team were battling engine woes all evening, after installing a new powerplant after Friday night's event. There was a noticeable amount of smoke coming from the back of the car in the heat race and the dash, but that did not seem to hinder the performance of the car any. By the time the feature rolled off, the problem had been found and solved.
"We kept working on the engine all night long," said Schatz. "It was kind of an experimental job that we did. It is good though, we just have to work on a few things here and there. We battled an oil leak. The guys found it after the dash."
With only one caution the entire race, Schatz's car got better as the race went on. He ended up lapping up to the 10th place car in the field.
"Anytime we have a long green flag race we like that. I think it's better for the fans too," said Schatz. "The thing was so fast tonight that I could barely get through lapped traffic. That's just the way it goes. Sometimes you make mistakes and I did everything I could to get through a few guys. On a big half-mile, that's sometimes the way it works."
For the second night in a row Schatz and the other competitors were battling high winds. The wind did not matter to many people, as most were focused on another four letter word and that was rain. Thanks for the hard work of World of Outlaws and SLS Promotions Officials, the entire 30-lap feature was run.
"Mother nature made everyone go around there fast with the wind," said Schatz. "She barely let us get it in before it started raining. We are glad to get tonight in, and keep going. Hopefully we'll get some more victories before the year is out."
Just a week removed from being in a horrific fiery crash at Silver Dollar Speedway, Schatz has racked up three Top-10 finishes, including wins the last two nights. While he still feels the effects of the burns on his neck and face, once he climbs in the race car and pulls his seatbelts tight, all of that pain leaves his mind as he focuses on what he has to do to pick up a win.
"Last night I was a little wounded. I felt a little warm and a little fatigue," he said. "Tonight wasn't that bad. I think sometimes you rest and you rest too much. I probably rested a little too hard this week and got myself out of sync. Monday morning I start back at the gym and I'll go until I go to Australia. We're ready to get back in the gym and be home every week. I look forward to that."
With nine races left on the schedule, Schatz wants to win a few more for his Ricky Warner-led crew. He will get to the chance again next Saturday as the series heads to Wilmot (Wisc.) Speedway for the first time ever.
"Anytime you get to go to a new track it is great," said Schatz. "The IRA (Interstate Racing Association) has been racing there a lot. It is a small quarter-mile place. On a short quarter-mile track it is pretty exciting. We're ready to get there and to Kokomo and then my favorite place, Williams Grove."
Saldana started in the fourth spot and jumped into the runner-up spot on the second lap, as he slid past Dollansky. While some sprinkles fell during the last few laps that did not seem to bother Saldana at all.
"It wasn't too bad out there," said Saldana. "I 'm sure it was going to get bad."
After spending the last month West of the Mississippi River, Saldana and his crew are excited to head back to their own shop in Indiana as they prepare for the race at Wilmot on Saturday and Kokomo on Sunday.
"We can gather up some parts and go through the car and hopefully come out these next 10 or so races strong and get back to where we were before," Saldana said.
Dollansky ran in the up front all night and recorded his 27th Top-Five of the season. The Native of Elk River, Minn. has picked up seven third place finishes in the last nine races. The two finishes not of third, were wins at Calistoga Speedway and Silver Dollar Speedway.
"It would have been nice to get in lap traffic and stay in it for a littler longer," said Dollansky. "It seemed like our car was handling really well there at the end, in the last couple laps."
With his strong run on Friday night, Dollansky vaulted into the seconds spot in the championship standings. He is very optimistic for the rest of the season and is very confident with some of the changes he and his team have made recently.
"We got in a hole earlier in the season and made some changes," said Dollansky. "We'll just keep racing hard like we are. We have about nine races left and we will race them all hard and were we end up."
McCarl bided his time and followed Wayne Johnson for the first half of the race, and then the six time Knoxville Raceway and Huset's Speedway champion got around him and firmly established himself in the Top-five.
"It was better for me in traffic to get a few lapped cars to slow the guys down," said McCarl. "I could run the top or the bottom really well. When we were out in the open we had to run right around the top. I wanted traffic pretty bad and the yellow actually hurt us a little bit."
Being a promoter himself, McCarl was very grateful for the hard work everyone at SLS Promotion and the World of Outlaws did to make sure the fans got their money's worth. While rain was the talk of the night, a crisply and efficiently run program had all the fans on their way home, well before 9:30 p.m.
"The SLS Promotions guys always do a great job," said McCarl. "They along with the World of Outlaws officials really pay attention. It is important on these kinds of deals that we get it in. We probably would not have had a chance to come back this year with the weather changing. There are great fans up here. This is the Sioux Falls/Minnesota area, and it has always been big for sprint car racing for years and years. Since I was a little boy sprint car racing has been big here. That's why we always get a great fan base."
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series makes their maiden voyage to Wilmot (Wisc.) Speedway on Saturday followed by another race at bullring, the quarter-mile Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway.
JACKSON SPEEDWAY NOTEBOOK
* FAST QUALIFIER: Brooke Tatnell paced the 31 cars in time trials with an AMB i.t.-timed lapped around the 1/2-mile semi-banked oval at 16.158 seconds at 111.400 mph. For his qualifying effort, Tatnell earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Dusty Zomer (4), Craig Dollansky (3), Joey Saldana (2), and Donny Schatz (1).
* QUALIFYING EVENT WINNERS: Heat race winners included: Greg Bakker, Jac Haudenschild, and Daryn Pittman ... Ryan Anderson won the B-Main. ... Donny Schatz won the dash.