Schatz nabs World of Outlaws Sprint Series Texas Shootout at Houston Raceway Park Baytown, TX -- March 19, 2005 -- Donny Schatz said his car didn't feel too good Saturday night in the Texas Shootout, but it was just fast enough to hold off Steve...
Schatz nabs World of Outlaws Sprint Series Texas Shootout at Houston Raceway Park
Baytown, TX -- March 19, 2005 -- Donny Schatz said his car didn't feel too good Saturday night in the Texas Shootout, but it was just fast enough to hold off Steve Kinser to the checkered flag for his first victory at Houston Raceway Park and his series-leading third win of the season.
In a thrilling feature typical of the 4/10-mile oval in Baytown, Texas, Schatz grabbed the lead from pole-sitter Brandon Wimmer in Turns 1 and 2 on Lap 13 of the 30-lap race. As Wimmer battled back, Kinser snuck past on the low side to take second and brought Tim Shaffer with him. Once in front, Schatz circled the wide and fast speedway on the cushion as Kinser tried a low groove to cut into the lead.
Weaving through heavy traffic on Lap 15, Shaffer charged past Kinser on the low side in Turns 1 and 2 and looked to make a move on Schatz. But Kinser refused to fade and went back around Shaffer on the outside in Turns 3 and 4. The battle between Shaffer and Kinser allowed Schatz to slightly increase his lead, but his advantage was wiped out when Shaffer's left rear tire shredded on the front-stretch to bring out a caution.
Schatz drove back to the top on the restart, but Kinser wouldn't let him slip away as he aimed to win for the second consecutive night following Friday's victory at Pike County Speedway. The two Mean 15 stars raced side-by-side all the while opening a half-straightaway advantage on third-place runner Craig Dollansky and the rest of the field.
That set up the breathtaking finish as Schatz powered his way to the checkered flag and won the feature worth $10,000 by only 0.27 seconds over Kinser, denying the King of the Outlaws a victory on the same track where a year ago he reached the 500-win milestone.
Dollansky finished third and now owns a slight two-point lead over Kinser in the standings. Top rookie Shane Stewart was fourth, followed by Danny Smith, Kraig Kinser and Danny Lasoski.
"It feels good to be [in Victory Lane]," said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D., who finished second at Houston in 2004 and '02. "[The race] didn't really feel that good, I don't know what's going on. I guess I'm chasing my racecars a little bit. The team's working awful hard, maybe I'm just not doing something right. Standing here victorious is good. It's nice to get a win here in Houston."
Schatz's victory was reminiscent of Kinser's historic win last season. On that night, Schatz mounted a furious charge on the final lap but fell short of winning by only half a car length.
"Last year when we were here, he won and we ran second trying to come around on the bottom," Schatz said. "My racecar wasn't very good [tonight], I was just awful lucky that it didn't go any longer than it did."
With his third win of the season, including victories in Australia and Las Vegas, Schatz has climbed back into the battle for the overall championship. He's now in third, only 56 points behind Dollansky.
"We're here to win victories," Schatz said. "The points will come if we win. We're just going to focus on winning races, that's what this team wants to do and I want to do. If we don't win the points [championship] we gave it a valiant effort, but we're just going to come out and try to win as many races as we can."
In qualifying action, Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award contender Wimmer earned his first career pole with the Outlaws by taking the lead in the second turn and running away with the first dash. Schatz earned the outside front-row starting spot by winning the second dash.
Dollansky, Jason Meyers and Lasoski won the heats while Chad Kemenah started on the pole and easily negotiated traffic and held off Brooke Tatnell to win the B-main.
For the second night in a row, Terry McCarl set the quick time of the event. A six-time Knoxville Raceway champion, McCarl turned in a lap of 13.561 seconds around the 4/10-mile oval.
Next up for the World of Outlaws Sprint Series is a well-deserved week off before rolling April 1 into Batesville Speedway in Batesville, Ark.; April 2 to I-55 Speedway in Pevely, Mo.; and April 8-9 to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
All the action from the Texas Shootout at Houston Raceway Park can be seen at 8 p.m. (ET) April 6 on The Outdoor Channel. This week on The Outdoor Channel, coverage from the Outlaws race in Las Vegas can be seen at 8 p.m. Wednesday. At 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dirtvision.com will run its video cybercast of Steve Kinser's late lap battle with Brooke Tatnell Friday night at Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, Miss.
If fans can't get to a track to see the series this season, they can experience the excitement of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series live on Dirtvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network. To listen to the audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo. Listeners will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to listen to the DIRT Radio Network. Companies interested in advertising on the new DIRT Radio Network should contact Mark Noble, DIRT MotorSports VP Sales and Marketing, at 719-884-2141. For technical support or questions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, VP Racing Fuels, and The Outdoor Channel. Promotional Partners include AMB i.t., RACEceiver, HUMMERSGONEWILD.COM, Zippo Lighters, The University of Northwestern Ohio, and Timberwolf. Slick 50 is an Associate Program Sponsor and Contingency sponsors include DART Machinery, MSD Ignitions, and Wrisco Industries.