EAGLE, NE (September 20) -- Donny Schatz set a personal record for "A" Feature victories in a season Saturday at Husker Auto Group Eagle Raceway when he led all 40 laps to win the 14th Annual One/Third-Mile Short Track Nationals. The...
EAGLE, NE (September 20) -- Donny Schatz set a personal record for "A" Feature victories in a season Saturday at Husker Auto Group Eagle Raceway when he led all 40 laps to win the 14th Annual One/Third-Mile Short Track Nationals.
The $15,000 victory was Schatz's seventh of the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series' Silver Anniversary Season. The 1997 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year won six main events in 2001.
"This is my first win at Eagle Raceway," Schatz said. "That's exciting for the Parker Stores team. But even more important for our team is we got our 11th win of the year (counting Preliminary Features). At the beginning of the season, one of the goals we set as a team was to score more wins than I had previously in my World of Outlaws career. There is great satisfaction in the accomplishment and builds confidence in everyone involved with the team. The next step is to continue our winning ways the rest of the season; head to Australia and rack up some wins there so we are in championship form when the 2004 season begins. The momentum will be just the ticket to start the march for the World of Outlaws title next year. Every race we win between now and then builds excitement in our team and our sponsors.
"I'm glad to get this win. It's been a busy week, and I was a little tired coming in here. I was hoping nobody was pushing me there at the end because I was having trouble getting by lapped cars. They were racing two-wide in front of me, and that's just how it goes. We finished second to the Million Dollar Man (Jac Haudenschild) last year, and I'm glad he's on the other side of the country tonight.
Schatz earned the privilege of starting the main event on the pole by beating Preliminary Feature winner Tim Shaffer across the finish line in the Dash Race.
"Getting that Dash win was pretty important for me, with the inside being so good for the starts," Schatz said. "That first start (in the Dash Race), Tim tried to run me high, but I've raced with Kenny (Woodruff) before, and I know how he thinks. We were able to get it done in the dash, and that just set us up for the "A" Feature."
Schatz drove his #15 Parker Stores J&J into the lead as the green flag fell in the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series' 58th main event of the year. Series points leader Steve Kinser passed Shaffer and Joey Saldana during the third and fifth laps to claim third place.
Schatz was .7 seconds ahead of Paul McMahan when he entered lapped traffic seven laps into the race. Fast qualifier Terry McCarl and Daryn Pittman exchanged sixth place during laps 11 and 15 as Schatz built a comfortable advantage. Donny opened a 3.4-second lead on McMahan during the 24th lap.
Jason Meyers drove the #7 VMAC Maxim past seven cars during the first 20 laps, but lost 10th place when he collided with Collin Northway in the second corner early in lap 25. The caution opened the track ahead of the leaders and tightened the field.
Saldana, whose crew replaced the engine in his #17 Eagle Raceway Maxim before the Dash Race, passed Pittman in the low groove between turns one and two early in the 27th lap, only to have Pittman regain fifth place with an inside move heading into the fourth corner the next time around.
Kinser, who won the Eagle Nationals at Husker Auto Group Eagle Raceway June 28th, battled McMahan during laps 37 and 38, but was unable to drive his #11 Quaker State Maxim into second place. Schatz raced away while the battle for the runner-up spot raged, and took the checkered flag with 3.9 seconds to spare.
Kinser's third-place finish increased his O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series points lead to 58 points as Danny Lasoski finished 14th. Shaffer finished fourth, ahead of Pittman, Saldana, McCarl, Meyers, Johnny Herrera and "B" Feature winner Kelly Kinser.
Shane Stewart won the Fourth Heat Race and passed five cars to finish 11th in the "A" Feature. Ricky Logan raced into 16th place from outside the 11th row.
McCarl paced the qualifying session with a 103.315-M.P.H. lap around the high-banked, 1/3-mile oval.
Saturday's O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series event at the Talladega Short Track will be run in conjunction with Sunday's EA Sports 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at the Tallaega Superspeedway.