Tulsa: Schatz/Walker race report

Tulsa, OK -- September 16, 2003- Donny Schatz and Tyler Walker tied their USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series career best finishes Sunday afternoon at the O'Reilly Tulsa 100 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Schatz came from the back of the pack to finish 11th...

Tulsa, OK -- September 16, 2003- Donny Schatz and Tyler Walker tied their USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series career best finishes Sunday afternoon at the O'Reilly Tulsa 100 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Schatz came from the back of the pack to finish 11th and Walker finished 3rd for the second time this season.

Donny Schatz drove the all new J&J USAC Silver Crown dirt car for the first time this season. He qualified the #115 ParkerStores car 15th quick. Tyler Walker set a new track record in the Curb Records sponsored #35 posting a time of 25.290. The record only lasted a few minutes before USAC Silver Crown points leader J.J. Yeley recorded a time of 24.921. Walker started outside the pole on the grid.

When the green flag fell, Walker charged in front of Yeley, delighting the large hometown crowd. Walker lead 7 laps before eventual race winner Bud Kaeding passed the Curb-Agajanian Special in lapped traffic. Schatz also raced ahead through the pack.

On lap 10 Schatz contacted a lapped car and spun in turn 4.

"There was a lapped car and I think I caught his right rear," said Schatz. "I raced as close as I could to stick the car in there and I guess I was a little too close."

The spin brought out the caution and forced Schatz to restart from the back. Undaunted, Schatz roared through the field picking off one driver at a time to finish 11th.

Walker held onto 2nd giving it up twice in lapped traffic to J.J. Yeley. USAC red flagged the event on lap 54 to make repairs to the track. Emmett Hann and staff worked feverishly to repair the track while the R.E. Technologies machines received new right rears and fuel. No other adjustments were made, as the team was confident they had a car that could win. On lap 77, USAC officials called the race due to deteriorating track conditions.

"The Curb Records #35 was one of the quickest cars out there today," smiled Walker. "We could run around the top and the bottom of the track. We were a little surprised with the way the race ended without warning. Our strategy was to conserve our equipment and then pour it on during the last 25 laps. We would have liked to have finished the race for the fans, but we are excited to have our second podium finish this year."

Tyler Walker is 6th in points. He trails 5th place Jay Drake by only ten points.

Schatz's 11th place finish tied his season best set on asphalt at Pikes Peak and was the first time the North Dakota native has raced in a Silver Crown feature on dirt.

"Today was a lot of fun," said Schatz. "The guys worked real hard to give me the best race car possible. The new J&J felt great and I thought we were a contender. I am happy with my first year in Silver Crown. I wish we could have run more races, but we had a good time."

Robby Unser was Schatz's spotter for the event. Unser and Schatz spent much of the day together talking strategy and car setup. The O'Reilly Tulsa 100 marked the first time Silver Crown cars have run at the Tulsa Fairgrounds in almost 23 years.

TIME OFF BEFORE FINAL RUN

The USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series will take a few weeks off before heading to Syracuse, New York for the final event of the season on October 11th.

R.E. TECHNOLOGIES TEAM ON TV

The O'Reilly Tulsa 100 will air on Speed, Thursday, September 18th at 10pm Eastern.

-ret-

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About this article
Series USAC
Drivers Donny Schatz , J.J. Yeley , Bud Kaeding , Jay Drake , Tyler Walker , Robby Unser