BRISTOL, TN - Donny Schatz circled the Channellock Challenge on his calendar before the Pennzoil World of Outlaws season started. He wanted to be running strong by early June and have a couple of victories under his belt. He had no idea that when...
BRISTOL, TN - Donny Schatz circled the Channellock Challenge on his calendar before the Pennzoil World of Outlaws season started. He wanted to be running strong by early June and have a couple of victories under his belt. He had no idea that when the Outlaws returned to Bristol Motor Speedway that he would be the hottest driver on the circuit. On Friday night, the ParkerStores team continued to show their strength as Schatz raced from 10th to first to win the Channellock Challenge preliminary feature event.
"This is an incredible feeling," said Schatz, following his fourth victory of the season. "I was pretty worried after we didn't get to run the Dash. The bottom groove was so fast, but I knew we had to run around the top to pass anyone. I told (Crew Chief) Kenny (Woodruff) that he'd won a lot of races at Eldora by having the car right for the top and that's where we needed to be. He got the car perfect. All I did was stand on the gas and drive forward."
After qualifying fifth and transferring through his heat race, Schatz went out for the Channellock Dash. A broken spark plug caused the motor miss, so he pulled back into the pit area. The team tried to change it and return to the race, but they weren't able to rejoin the field.
In the 25-lap feature, Schatz started on the outside of the fifth row and passed three cars on the start by going to the top of the super-fast half-mile. He was in sixth on the next circuit before a red flag stopped the race for a first turn accident. As the race resumed, Schatz continued to run his J&J sprint car on the high-side and kept getting closer to the front. He passed Craig Dollansky for third during the middle stages of the race, and by lap fifteen he was chasing down Jeff Shepard for second. The "Minot Missile" dove underneath Shepard in turn four and set his sights on race leader James Chesson. He took the lead with a similar low move on the 20th lap and drove the final five laps unchallenged for fourth win in his last 11 starts.
"We've been running well lately, and I wanted to keep our momentum going," continued Schatz. "I've got great sponsors in ParkerStores and Featherlite Coaches that help us out here. Jack Elam builds great racecars and Ron Shaver has a really strong motor program. The Goodyear tires have been great, too. My hat goes off to the crew. This is a tough business, but everyone just keeps working hard and making my job easy."
"I figured it was going to be tough coming from tenth, but I knew early that I had a great car under me," said Schatz. "Now, we're locked in for Saturday's show and that's a big advantage. We'll just have to keep an eye on the track and do our best to make it two for two."
The victory is the 11th overall WoO victory. He has four preliminary victories and seven "A" Features. His 11 wins have come at nine different tracks.