Sweet 16: Schatz Wins at Heartland Park Topeka Donny Schatz was the first winner at the permanent 3/8-mile track at Heartland Park Topeka in 2001, after the World of Outlaws had competed a couple of times on a temporary track constructed on the...
Sweet 16: Schatz Wins at Heartland Park Topeka
Donny Schatz was the first winner at the permanent 3/8-mile track at Heartland Park Topeka in 2001, after the World of Outlaws had competed a couple of times on a temporary track constructed on the drag strip of the state-of-the-art facility. In the World of Outlaws return to Heartland Park Topeka on Friday night for the first time since 2002, Schatz became the first repeat winner, earning $10,000 for picking up his second consecutive victory this week.
The reigning World of Outlaws champion took the lead from Tim Shaffer on the 27th lap and worked his way through traffic as the laps wound down to earn his series leading 16th A-Feature win of the season and fifth victory on a 3/8-mile track aboard the ParkerStore J&J.
"It was a great night and a great win," said Schatz. "We're glad to get to victory lane. We have very few races left and we just have to make sure to capitalize on as many as we can. They did an excellent job with the track tonight and it was great to see a large crowd on hand."
Schatz had a major scare on the 16th lap, as he was battling Shaffer for the lead exiting the fourth turn, when his car came out of gear, dropping him back to the third position. He quickly got the car back in gear and began to chase Pittman before a caution flag flew.
"I haven't had a car jump out of gear for several years. The cables kind of pull out and lock, and this one doesn't seem to want to lock. I could feel it earlier in the night, but you never expect it will bite you. We were bouncing through a few holes and that started to jar it. It popped out, but I got back in sync."
Shaffer led from the pole, though the red flag flew before a full lap was completed for a five car pileup, leading to a complete restart. On the restart, Shaffer again bolted to the lead into the first and second turns, with Schatz in-toe. Also on the opening lap, Daryn Pittman got around Randy Hannagan for third.
Shaffer encountered lapped traffic just five laps into the race, allowing Schatz to close back up on him. Schatz looked high a couple of times exiting both the second and fourth turns for the lead, but could not quite pull even with Shaffer. The caution flag then flew a couple of times, giving the leaders open race track to work with.
On the ensuing restart, Shaffer again charged down the front straightaway and quickly opened a six car length advantage, though he was back in traffic on the ninth lap, giving Schatz another chance to battle for the lead.
Schatz got a run on Shaffer exiting the fourth turn on the 10th lap and the two cars almost made contact on the front straightaway before a very enthusiastic crowd. Schatz continued to chase Shaffer, with the pair again almost making contact twice more, as they raced wheel-to-wheel.
Pittman moved into second on the 16th lap when Schatz's car jumped out of gear as he was battling for the lead off the fourth turn. The caution flag flew the next lap, putting Pittman right behind Shaffer on the restart.
Shaffer pulled away on the restart, with Schatz moving back into the second spot on the 18th lap. For the next nine laps, Schatz continued to look for a way around Shaffer. He found the opening he needed on the 27th go-around, as Shaffer got held up trying to lap a car.
From there, Schatz maintained a comfortable lead as he worked through lapped traffic, at many times keeping a slower machine between himself and Shaffer.
"It's hard to pass people in open track," explained Schatz, a native of Fargo, North Dakota. "I don't think anyone has that good of a race car, especially with a full load of fuel. We needed to hit lapped traffic and force him to make a mistake. All of the yellows were kind of hurting him and kind of hurting us. He made a mistake in lapped traffic and I was there to capitalize on it. I've said it before, that when you are running second, you are in the catbird's seat. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain."
Shaffer led the first 26 laps of the event and earn his 20th Top-Five finish of the season, as he came home second in the Casey's General Stores Maxim. It was his sixth runner-up performance of the season as he continues to close in on his first win of the season.
"We had a great car again and I just made a mistake," said Shaffer. "I guess I should have followed Steve (Kinser). I thought everyone would follow him and Donny (Schatz) got a run through the middle so I then tried the middle."
Pittman ran third most of the race and was second for a lap after Schatz's car jumped out of gear. The third-place finish was his 42nd Top-10 finish of the season, as he moved into the fifth spot in the championships points.
"Honestly that is probably the happiest I have been running third in a long time," shared Pittman, driver of the Titan Garages Maxim. "We have been ok, though in the last few races we have been struggling. I didn't feel like we were all that great tonight and we were able to keep gaining on it. I'm happy with third, as much as I hate to say that. We just have to keep getting better and we will keep working at it until we do."
Jason Meyers lined up sixth on Friday night and gained two spots on the opening lap, passing Kerry Madsen and then Randy Hannagan. He got around Pittman for the third position on the 28th lap before settling for a fourth-place finish in the Primerica Financial Maxim.
"It was a great run tonight," explained Meyers. "We set fast time and just missed the track record. We've been working on our car and trying some things for next year. We were a little bit off the other night, but I think we made some ground tonight. We are working hard and this is the time of year to work for next year. We threw a few things at it and they worked."
Randy Hannagan was fifth in the Penthouse Magazine Maxim to earn his second consecutive finish of sixth or better. The native of San Jose, who now calls Pittsboro, Indiana home, now has 10 Top10- finishes on the season.
Kerry Madsen was sixth in the Selma Shell Maxim, with Joey Saldana seventh in the Open Joist JEI. Chad Kemenah was eighth in the Kantor Oil Company Maxim, with Paul McMahan ninth in the Bass Pro Shops Eagle. Terry McCarl rounded out the Top-10 in the Big Game Treestands Eagle.
While Schatz received the big paycheck for the 16th time this season, he was quick as always to credit his team for their continued hard work. They were one crew member short for the second consecutive race.
"They are working their tails off and they are the best there is," said Schatz. "They made the right decisions. Tonight was a little playing again for us. We're trying a few things here and there with some shocks and stuff. Every night we learn a few things and this is a good time to be learning stuff."
Despite having not competed at the track for five years, it didn't really take Schatz very long to get up to speed. He was eighth fastest in time trials and convincingly won the second heat to earn a spot in the Crane Cams Dash, where he finished second.
"It's hard to remember a track last year to this year, let alone five years ago," Schatz said. "I think they made some big improvements and it was fun to come here. We are glad to pick up the win. There was a different group of people preparing the track this time and they did a great job. The track stayed moist and it stayed probably too good all night."
Shaffer ran in the Top-two all night long, after winning the second heat and then the Crane Cams Dash to earn the pole position. He also won the first heat race of the evening and he ran the fastest lap of the A-Feature on the third lap.
"I could hear him back there," said the 1999 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, of Schatz. "When I got behind someone I got in bad air and was really bouncing around. I'm sure it was close a few times and that's hard racing."
Pittman who won earlier this season in the state of Kansas at Dodge City Raceway Park ran in the Top-Three all night long.
"I was trying to protect what I had," shared Pittman. "In traffic we were able to take advantage of a couple of people's mistakes. You never know how it will play out and you just have to make the best of it."
Jason Meyers earned his 42nd Top-10 finish of the season, despite competing with an injured hand that required six stitches yesterday. He began the night by setting fast time in time trials, nearly breaking the existing track record.
"It got down around the bottom tonight," said the native of Clovis, California when referring to the track. "Unfortunately we were not good enough to pass on the top on the restarts. I wish we would have been. You had to wait for traffic to try and pass. On a short track you will have a caution, that's just the way it is. All in all, it was a good race tonight."
The World of Outlaws return to action on Sunday, September 16 at Charter Raceway Park in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin to make up an event that was postponed by rain last month.
HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA NOTEBOOK
* FAST QUALIFIER: Jason Meyers paced the 24 cars that took time with an AMB i.t. timed lap around the high-banked 3/8-mile oval in 11.550 seconds at 116.883 mph. For his qualifying effort, Meyers earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Kerry Madsen (4), Jason Solwold (3), Joey Saldana (2) and Paul McMahan (1).
* QUALIFYING WINNERS: Tim Shaffer, Donny Schatz and Daryn Pittman won heat races-- Tim Shaffer won the Crane Cams Dash.
* UP NEXT: A trip Charter Raceway Park in Wisconsin on Sunday, September, 16 for an event that was postponed by rain last month.
World of Outlaws Statistical Report; Heartland Park Topeka; Topeka, KS; Sept. 14, 2007
1) 14-Jason Meyers 11.550
2) 11H-Kerry Madsen 11.666
3) R19-Jason Solwold 11.727
4) 9-Joey Saldana 11.731
5) 20-Paul McMahan 11.738
6) 11-Steve Kinser 11.739
7) 6-Tim Shaffer 11.859
8) 15-Donny Schatz 11.860
9) 21-Daryn Pittman 11.884
10) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. 11.911
11) 1X-Randy Hannagan 11.913
12) 8K-Chad Kemenah 11.939
13) 83-Danny Lasoski 12.017
14) 18T-Tony Bruce Jr. 12.040
15) 10C-Jeremy Campbell 12.059
16) 7-Craig Dollansky 12.067
17) D1-Justin Henderson 12.088
18) 24-Terry McCarl 12.111
19) 5C-Chad Hillier 12.113
20) 7S-Jason Sides 12.113
21) 35-Jac Haudenschild 12.168
22) 11X-Gary Lee Maier 12.338
23) 98-J.D. Johnson 12.504
24) 7C-Chris Morgan 12.847
25) 92J-J.R. Topper -.---
Heat 1 (10 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 6-Tim Shaffer
2) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.
3) 14-Jason Meyers
4) 9-Joey Saldana
5) 7-Craig Dollansky
6) 83-Danny Lasoski
7) 11X-Gary Lee Maier
8) 5C-Chad Hillier
Heat 2 (10 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 15-Donny Schatz
2) 1X-Randy Hannagan
3) 20-Paul McMahan
4) 11H-Kerry Madsen
5) D1-Justin Henderson
6) 18T-Tony Bruce Jr.
7) 7S-Jason Sides
8) 98-J.D. Johnson
Heat 3 (10 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 21-Daryn Pittman
2) 8K-Chad Kemenah
3) R19-Jason Solwold
4) 11-Steve Kinser
5) 24-Terry McCarl
6) 10C-Jeremy Campbell
7) 7C-Chris Morgan
8) 35-Jac Haudenschild
9) 92J-J.R. Topper
Crane Cams Dash (8 laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting
positions of A-feature)
1) 6-Tim Shaffer
2) 15-Donny Schatz
3) 1X-Randy Hannagan
4) 21-Daryn Pittman
5) 11H-Kerry Madsen
6) 14-Jason Meyers
7) 8K-Chad Kemenah
8) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.
9) 9-Joey Saldana
10) R19-Jason Solwold
A-main (35 laps) - Starting Position [#]
1) 15-Donny Schatz [$10,000]
2) 6-Tim Shaffer [$5,500]
3) 21-Daryn Pittman [$3,200]
4) 14-Jason Meyers [$2,800]
5) 1X-Randy Hannagan [$2,500]
6) 11H-Kerry Madsen [$2,300]
7) 9-Joey Saldana [$2,200]
8) 8K-Chad Kemenah [$2,100]
9) 20-Paul McMahan [$2,050]
10) 24-Terry McCarl [$2,000]
11) 83-Danny Lasoski [$1,500]
12) R19-Jason Solwold [$1,200]
13) 7S-Jason Sides [$1,100]
14) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [$1,050]
15) 35-Jac Haudenschild [$1,000]
16) 7-Craig Dollansky [$900]
17) 11-Steve Kinser [$800]
18) 10C-Jeremy Campbell [$800]
19) D1-Justin Henderson [$800]
20) 5C-Chad Hillier [$800]
21) 11X-Gary Lee Maier [$800]
22) 7C-Chris Morgan [$800]
23) 92J-J.R. Topper [$800]
24) 18T-Tony Bruce Jr. [$800]
25) 98-J.D. Johnson [$800]
Lap Leaders: Tim Shaffer 1-26, Donny Schatz 27-35
KSE Hard Charger Award: Terry McCarl