Schatz Sails to Win at Skagit Alger, Wash.--August 25, 2006 -- Donny Schatz has set fast time on six different occasions this season, but knew he had a chance to bypass qualifying on Saturday night for the $25,000 to-win finale at Skagit...
Schatz Sails to Win at Skagit
Alger, Wash.--August 25, 2006 -- Donny Schatz has set fast time on six different occasions this season, but knew he had a chance to bypass qualifying on Saturday night for the $25,000 to-win finale at Skagit Speedway. All he had to do was finish in the top-four on Friday night to secure a spot in the first two rows of the dash on the final night of the two-day event. The competitor in him took it one step further.
The native of Fargo, North Dakota started first and finished first in the 30-lap World of Outlaws Sprint Series preliminary feature on Friday night. Schatz in the Parker Store J&J took the lead from Becca Anderson on the second lap of the race, and never looked back, holding off a hard charging Brooke Tatnell to make the trip to RacinSoles Victory Lane.
With the win, Schatz secured the pole position in the dash for Saturday night's main event. It was his second preliminary feature win of the season, backing up a win he had at Red River Valley Speedway in June, as he looks for the weekend sweep.
Brooke Tatnell in the Race Outfitters Eagle, came home in the runner-up spot, after a race long battle with Craig Dollansky in the Karavan Trailers Maxim, both drivers locked themselves into the dash on Saturday night. Tatnell closed on Schatz in traffic late, but ran out of laps.
Daryn Pittman locked up the final spot for the dash tomorrow night, with his solid fourth-place run in the Titan Garages Maxim.
"It's great," said Schatz, the current series point leader. "I'm glad to be in victory lane. We missed out a little last week, but that's the way it goes."
Schatz led the field to the green flag and Anderson inched ahead of him coming off turn four, to lead her first ever World of Outlaws lap. The lead though was short lived, as Schatz powered back around the rookie on the second circuit, and would lead the remainder of the event. Anderson pulled along side Schatz countless times over the first 10 laps, until she got bottled up in lap traffic, allowing Tatnell and Dollansky to slip by.
"I knew I would have to go low (on the track)," Schatz said. "In the dash it proved that, when it got slick, and guys were running there and throwing the crumbs out. You can't stay up there all night. I know Brooke (Tatnell) was probably trying it and as the race goes on, it just gets so thin up there, and guys have to be cautious. I just got on the bottom and in the middle, and I'm just glad we got there when we did."
Tatnell, made a strong charge late and closed in on Schatz in traffic, as he hugged the wall. The fan favorite settled for the runner-up spot and more importantly secured a starting position in the dash on Saturday night.
"We got locked into the dash for tomorrow night," Tatnell said. "This is home turf for the team. To win it would mean more this weekend than any weekend all year. We have a new sponsor on board and a new color scheme. This is basically a home track for the team."
Schatz had his Ricky Warner-led crew making adjustments all night on the car as he searched for that little bit of extra speed. They found it in the dash, as Schatz picked up the win to earn his sixth pole position of the year. If he can win the dash tomorrow night, he would again start on the pole.
"I think it (not having to qualify or be in the heats) helps us," said Schatz. "We came here tonight with our car one way and we changed for qualifying. We changed it for the heat race and we changed it for the dash. We had three totally different set-ups in it and it ran fine with all of them in it. We were just trying to get the little details worked out. I was decent in the middle of the feature. Tomorrow is 10 laps more, and I got better as the race went on. I am looking forward to 40 laps tomorrow night."
The 1997 series rookie of the year, is confident heading into the finale on Saturday night, with the big check on the line. While he was happy with his performance and win on Friday night, he was already focusing on what will await him on Saturday night.
"It does take the pressure off tomorrow (being locked in the dash), but we're running out of races to win," said Schatz. "That's what we're here for, to win everything that we can. We got another "W" tonight and that's what it's all about. We're excited to come back tomorrow and hopefully we can do it with a $25,000 check at the end of the night."
Tatnell was disappointed with another second place run, but was able to smile at the fact that it put him in a great position on Saturday night being locked into the outside of the front row for the dash. One advantage he had on Friday night was lap traffic, as his car was set up perfect to slice his way around the slower cars.
"We missed it a little bit on set-up," said Tatnell. "I was a little bit loose. I was just hanging out on the fence and stayed there to try and get the job done. We needed the lap traffic. Donny (Schatz) wasn't real good up high, but he was pretty good down low and in the middle. You need all the lap traffic you can get. "
A veteran of sprint car racing here and in his native Australia, Tatnell has now visited three new tracks in the last three races and he has finished second in all of them. He is very confident heading into the event on Saturday, knowing the momentum his team has been carrying since the beginning of the month.
"We learned a lot," said Tatnell. "This was out first time here. We know what we need to improve on for tomorrow night. There is no doubt in my mind that we'll get the job done tomorrow."
After the race, Tatnell gladly signed autographs and posed for pictures with the numerous people that got an up close look at the new paint scheme on his car. Tim Hanson, one of the owners of Rush Racing for whom the always affable native of San Souci, NSW, Australia drives, is from just down the road in Burlington, Wash., and was entertaining many of his employees at the track. Hanson also designed the new paint scheme on the race car that turned many heads in the pit area.
Dollansky who won a preliminary feature at Williams Grove Speedway in July, was pleased with the third place run that locked him into the dash on Saturday night as well. He thrilled the crowd with countless laps of racing with Tatnell as the pair battled for the third and then the second spot.
"Getting locked in is definitely one of the goals of a preliminary night," Dollansky said. "Considering we had to start seventh in the dash, we worked our way forward in the dash and the feature. We definitely were on the loose side, and wanted to be tighter for the feature. We got up to third and that puts us in a good spot for tomorrow."
The native of Elk River, Minn., lined up fifth for the preliminary feature and knew he had to gain at least one spot to take some of the pressure for Saturday night off. On a tight racy track like Skagit, that is often easier said that done.
"Traffic was everywhere for everybody," said Dollansky. "There were a lot of cars going every which way. A lot of times they (lap traffic) dictate what the outcome of a race is. For us, we gained two spots in traffic. It worked into our favor, but it can go either way."
Friday's race, was the first time the series had visited the track in the scenic Northwest since 2002, but that did not seem to bother Dollansky.
"We race on so many different race tracks and on so many types of race tracks that I felt comfortable with it right away," Dollansky said. "They have a beautiful track here and they did a great job preparing it. Hopefully it's like that tomorrow, and it will be a great race for the fans. I think they saw a great race tonight. If they get it prepared similar to that, it will be some great racing."
Daryn Pittman swept the last two-day event the World of Outlaws ran at Princeton Speedway in July. He also picked up a sweep at Eagle Raceway in June. He was looking to break the broom out again, but knew that as long as he was in the top-four he would put himself in a great position for the $25,000 finale on Saturday night.
"There is a huge difference between fourth and fifth (place)," said Pittman. "I knew we were running fourth and I could not give up another spot. We have another shot tomorrow to make the car better and come out and be better. We don't have to qualify and are locked into the dash, and that is a good thing. Hopefully we can give them a run for that 25-grand."
On a gorgeous night for racing, Pittman still got quite a work out on the demanding high-banked bullring. Running in the top-five all night, he encountered a good amount of lap traffic, with the torrid pace the leaders were all setting.
"Traffic is what it is," said Pittman. "It either helps your or hurts you. Tonight it did not help me. The eight car and the seven car passed me when I slowed up for some traffic that was three wide. I think we were better than the result, but not near as good as we needed to be. Traffic will play the same issue tomorrow. You just have to take advantage of it and make the most of the situation and not let it hurt you."
Chad Kemenah who currently leads the battle for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Presented by Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt came home fifth in the RacinSoles.com Eagle, with Jac Haudenschild in the Wright One Construction Maxim just behind him. Justin Henderson in the Jolt Energy Gum Schnee was seventh, after setting fast time on the night. He was a spot short of making the feature through his heat race, and thus had to run the B-main and won that convincingly to race his way into the field.
Becca Anderson in the Upstate Kenworth Maxim, who used a strong second place run in the dash to earn that same starting spot in the preliminary feature finished in the eighth spot. She ran in the top-two for the first 10 laps of the event. Fellow rookie Jason Martin in the NOS Energy Drink Maxim was ninth, with Terry McCarl in the Big Game Treestands Eagle rounding out the Top-10.
On Saturday night the winner will pocket $25,000, as the Gold Rush Tour has begun for the World of Outlaws Sprint Series.
SKAGIT SPEEDWAY NOTEBOOK NIGHT #1
* FAST QUALIFIER: Justin Henderson paced the 40 cars in time trials with an AMB i.t.-timed lapped around the 3/8-mile high-banked oval at 11.415 seconds. Because the event is a multi-day show with varying championship point totals on each night, no qualifying bonus points are awarded.
* QUALIFYING EVENT WINNERS: Heat race winners included: Jason Martin, Travis Jacobson, Travis Rutz, and Brock Lemley ... Nick Evans won the C-Main. ... Justin Henderson won the B-Main. ... Donny Schatz picked up the win in the dash.
* FEATURE WINNERS: There have been 14 different winners in 43 A-feature events to visit the RacinSoles Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws this season. The win list includes: Donny Schatz (March 9 at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 31 at Batesville Speedway, April 1 at I-55 Raceway, May 16 at Grandview Speedway, May 30 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, June 18 at Red River Valley Speedway, June 30 at 81 Speedway, July 18 at Lernerville Speedway, July 23 at Lebanon Valley Speedway, July 25 at Fulton Speedway, August 5 at K-C Raceway, and August 17 at Black Hills Speedway), Joey Saldana (Feb.10 at Volusia, June 4 at Terre Haute, June 23 at Knoxville Raceway, July 1 at Dodge City Raceway Park, July 13 at Limaland Motorsports Park, July 15 at Eldora Speedway, and August 4 at Eldora Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (May 6 at U.S. 36 Raceway, May 20 at Sharon Speedway, June 14 at The Raceway @ Powercom Park, and July 7 at Lawrenceburg Speedway), Craig Dollansky (April 15 at Tri-State Speedway, June 4 at Eldora Speedway, July 14 at Eldora Speedway, and Aug. 2 at Butler Speedway), Daryn Pittman (June 10 at Eagle Raceway, July 22 at Williams Grove, and July 29 at Princeton Speedway), Brooke Tatnell (May 7 at Huset's Speedway, May 29 at Orange County Fair Speedway, and July 8 at I-55 Raceway), Terry McCarl (July 3 at Huset's Speedway and August 19 at Nodak Speedway), Sammy Swindell (April 8 at Eldora Speedway and March 10 at the Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway), Dean Jacobs (May 31 at Lernerville Speedway), Chad Kemenah (Feb. 9 at Volusia), Danny Lasoski (March 3 at Manzanita), Paul McMahan (March 4 at USA Race Park), Fred Rahmer (May 27 at Williams Grove), and Kevin Swindell (May 24 at The Dirt at Lowe's Motor Speedway).
* PRELIMINARY FEATURE WINNERS: There have been eight preliminary features run this season by the World of Outlaws. The winners list includes: Daryn Pittman who won the prelim night at Eagle Raceway on June 9, and at Princeton Speedway on July 28, Donny Schatz who won the prelim night June 17 at Red River Valley and at Skagit Speedway on August 25, Fred Rahmer, who won the prelim night on May 26 at Williams Grove Speedway Sammy Swindell, who won the prelim night on April 7 at Eldora Speedway, Terry McCarl who won the prelim night at Williams Grove on July 20, and Craig Dollansky who won the prelim night at Williams Grove on July 21.
* 3/10-MILE WINNERS: Skagit Speedway is a 3/10-mile high-banked oval. This is the first time the World of Outlaws Sprint Series has raced this season on a track that size. The winners include: Donny Schatz on August 25 at Skagit Speedway.
* ON TELEVISION: The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday August 30, the event from Eldora Speedway that ran on August 4. Outdoor Channel is available nationwide through the DISH Network (Channel 153) and DIRECTV (Channel 606).