Gold Cup Opener to Schatz Chico, CA (September 9, 2004) Donny Schatz took an impressive wire-to-wire win in the World of Outlaws Gold Cup Race of Champions 30 lap preliminary feature Thursday night at Silver Dollar Speedway. The night started...
Gold Cup Opener to Schatz
Chico, CA (September 9, 2004) Donny Schatz took an impressive wire-to-wire win in the World of Outlaws Gold Cup Race of Champions 30 lap preliminary feature Thursday night at Silver Dollar Speedway.
The night started out with Craig Dollansky setting a new track record in the #7 VMAC Maxim. Dollansky's 11.423-second time bested the old mark of 11.477 set by Jeff Shepard in 2001.
Sean Becker started on the pole, but pulled the wheels off the ground at the start of the A feature, slipping to fourth place. Schatz, driving in the #15 ParkerStore J&J started outside pole, earning the spot after a spectacular drive in the second dash. He led the field followed closely by the #83 Beef Packers Eagle of Mark Kinser. Joey Saldana piloted the #2 Volcano Joe's Coffee Maxim past Becker and Brent Kaeding on lap two to take third place. As Schatz and Kinser entered lapped traffic, Kyle Hirst and Johnny Gray tangled in front of the leaders with seven laps down, bringing out the caution flag.
Kinser stayed all over Schatz's back bumper with eighteen laps in the books when Jonathan Allard spun in turn two. Gray's rough night came to an end when he crashed into the front stretch wall. Schatz was able to put distance between himself and Kinser on the restart, and by lap 23, he held an eleven car-length lead.
Tire wear was a concern throughout the race, and the yellow flew on lap 24 as Brent Kaeding's right rear tire exploded. He was running fourth at the time. Schatz was reassured about his tire situation from an unlikely source -- second place Mark Kinser. "Mark (Kinser) came up beside me under that one caution and signaled me that my tires were okay, and I was able to return the favor," Schatz said after the race. "It's awesome to have another driver that you respect be able to do that for you. It had to be an advantage for him to have me wearing my tires, but racing isn't just about running up front, it's about friendship as well."
The tires held out for Schatz to win by ten lengths over Kinser. Saldana was third, Becker held on to fourth, with Dollansky snatching fifth from the faltering #11K Delco-Remy Maxim of Kraig Kinser late in the race. Schatz also won last Saturday at Calistoga, CA. "It's nice to get a win here. I normally don't have much of a smile on my face when we come to the west coast, but Calistoga was pretty good to me last week," Schatz said. "This race was basically won in the Dash. I had to make some bonzai moves there to get around Brent (Kaeding) to be able to start on the front row. I have to thank my crew Tyler Swank, Brian Bloomfield, and Sparky (John Pate). They've busted their butts all year for me, so it's good to get them a win. It's not much fun for a racer to run on an abrasive, rubber-down track, but with as hard as these guys race and as good as the tires are now, it's tough to keep a track good all night long. They did a great job early--the track was really wet, but that's just the way it is."
The Gold Cup Race of Champions continues Friday with preliminary action with the Championship Race on Saturday night.