Schatz returns to victory lane in Knoxville Nationals prelim one. KNOXVILLE, IA - Donny Schatz was the last driver standing on Thursday night in the second qualifying night program at the 42nd Annual Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals. He drove a...
Schatz returns to victory lane in Knoxville Nationals prelim one.
KNOXVILLE, IA - Donny Schatz was the last driver standing on Thursday night in the second qualifying night program at the 42nd Annual Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals. He drove a new-look #15 ParkerStore sprinter to victory in the 25-lap feature race, which included a dynamite three-car battle for the lead during the final eight laps.
"Those are the kind of races that you'll always remember," said Schatz, following the win. "I was having a hard time getting through traffic and second usually is a better place to be in those situations. The guy in second can go where the leader doesn't. Tyler (Walker) and I were racing back and forth, and the next thing I see is the #20 car drive by me too. I was happy they got to racing each other on the bottom (groove), because it left the top open for me and I drove right by them. We wanted to have more points after tonight, but we'll just have to see where everything shakes out and come back on Friday."
Schatz qualified ninth, finished fourth in the fourth heat race and started the 25-lap race in the third spot. He chased early leader Shane Stewart down and put a slide job on him in turns three and four and came out with the lead on lap five. After several cautions, the race went nonstop for the final 20 laps. Schatz held the lead until lap 17 when Walker got by, and he dropped third when "the Dude" passed him. Schatz got his elbows up and raced back to the leaders. On lap 22, Walker and Lasoski were battling on the bottom of turns one and two, when Schatz stormed by up on the highside. Once he regained the lead, he was not to be denied as he raced away from Walker and Lasoski to claim his fourth win of the season.
"Everything worked great on the car tonight," said Schatz. "My team just built this J&J this week, and we ran the same motor we won the Big One with last week. We nicknamed it "Tiger" and Ronnie Shaver certainly built us a good one. It's a good feeling to come out with new equipment and win races. It says a lot about the people we work with."
Schatz finished the night with 475 points and ranks ninth overall in the Nationals tough qualifying format. He will return to the track tonight for the "A" Scramble, where he will start on the outside of row one and also will race in the Kele World Challenge. He will start 14th in the World Challenge, the same position he did a year ago when he claimed the $10,000 victory.
** The team unveiled a new color scheme for the Nationals on Thursday. The yellow and black car is trimmed in white and silver and was designed and decaled by YAK Graphics.
** Spot 33 proved to be a good one in the Nationals qualifying night programs. Joey Saldana earned the most points on Wednesday while pitting in the 33 slot, and Schatz claimed the victory out of the same pit slot.
** For the second consecutive year, Schatz won the preliminary feature using a brand new J&J. He also has finished either first or second in his preliminary feature for the last five years.