Schatz Sweeps Eagle to Defend One-Third Mile Nationals Title Eagle, NE (September 18, 2004) Donny Schatz swept the One-Third Mile Short Track Nationals Saturday night at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Eagle Raceway. The Fargo, ND driver passed Jason...
Schatz Sweeps Eagle to Defend One-Third Mile Nationals Title
Eagle, NE (September 18, 2004) Donny Schatz swept the One-Third Mile Short Track Nationals Saturday night at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Eagle Raceway. The Fargo, ND driver passed Jason Sides on lap 16, and held off Steve Kinser to win the 40 lap A-feature Saturday night. The victory was Schatz's fourth in a row and his second Short Track Nationals championship.
Jason Sides set the pace in the #7s Sides Motorsports Maxim. Schatz drove around the outside of Danny Lasoski's #20 J.D. Byrider Eagle with two laps down to take second and close in on Sides. Steve Kinser's #11 Quaker State Maxim challenged Lasoski for third, taking the position on lap nine. Lasoski took third back on the following lap, but Kinser found a hole-shot in lapped traffic and sped past both Lasoski and Schatz to take the runner up position.
Kinser caught up to sides on lap 16, but as they entered turn four, Sides jumped the cushion, getting the car sideways. Help came from an unlikely source as Kinser tapped Sides' machine and straightened him out. As the top two got together, Schatz missed the episode completely, ducking underneath both Sides and Kinser to take the lead. Paul McMahan brought out the caution with a turn two spin, and a new challenger would greet the battle raging throughout the top five. Brian Paulus had raced his #38 Arnold Transportation Maxim from the 15th starting spot to sixth, just behind the #2 Volcano Joe's Maxim of Joey Saldana.
Schatz sped from the field as the green flag flew, the lapped car of Sammy Swindell giving him an extra buffer against the hard-charging Sides in second. On lap 25, Sides again jumped the cushion in turn four, and again Steve Kinser made contact and righted the machine. This time, Lasoski picked off Kinser to take third place. Kinser would retake the position on lap 30.
Brian Paulus and Terry McCarl had both found speed in the middle groove of the racetrack and now began to challenge the leaders. Paulus passed Lasoski for fourth on lap 31. McCarl, who set quick time for the night but had to qualify from the B feature after being victim of an incident in the first heat also discovered Paulus' secret and was in position for a top five finish after passing Lasoski on the same lap. Steve Kinser took second place from Sides on the next lap.
With five laps remaining, it was Schatz out front with Kinser, Sides and Paulus fighting for second. On the white flag lap, turn four again bit Sides as he jumped the cushion. He recovered from the mistake, but not before falling to seventh place. Paulus, McCarl, Lasoski and Jason Meyers -- who also qualified from the B feature - made their way past.
Donny Schatz defended his 2003 Short Track Nationals title as he crossed the line ahead of Kinser. Third place went to an elated Brian Paulus, fourth to McCarl, and fifth to Meyers. 23 of the 24 starters finished the race.
Patience and perseverance were the keys for Schatz. "Jason (Sides) was setting a pretty good pace. We've been fighting a loose race car all night long--it's something that we've been dealing with all year long, and I guess we were lucky to only lose a couple of spots in the dash," Schatz said. "I just had to not do anything silly there in traffic. When I saw the two to go signal I figured that green car (Steve Kinser) would be breathing down my neck because that's usually when he's the toughest.'
Schatz was pleased with his fourth straight win and hoped they've overcome their season long difficulties, "I didn't get many wins this year, and it's a little late in the year to be picking up the pace. We've been fighting a loose race car all night long--it's something that we've been dealing with all year long, and I guess we were lucky to only lose a couple of spots in the dash. I have to thank this whole Parker Stores team. Jack Elam builds a great racecar, and thanks to my Mom and Dad for all of the support to make this team possible. I want to thank Craig Cormack for giving us a great racetrack both nights--they do things right here."