Schatz Gets Back on Track with MetraPark Victory BILLINGS, MT (August 14) -- The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series provides plenty of chances for redemption. Donny Schatz and Andy Hillenburg, still ailing from crashes in the Amoco Ultimate ...
Schatz Gets Back on Track with MetraPark Victory
BILLINGS, MT (August 14) -- The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series provides plenty of chances for redemption.
Donny Schatz and Andy Hillenburg, still ailing from crashes in the Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals and the Night Before The Big One, respectively, returned to the series with outstanding performances Tuesday when the Wild, Wild Northwest Tour opened at MetraPark Raceway.
Schatz led the final 18 laps to win his sixth "A" Feature of the season after a flat left rear tire caused Hillenburg -- the pole-sitter and early leader -- to spin out of the lead in turn one early in the 13th lap.
Ironically, Schatz lost the pole and the lead when his left rear tire was peeled from its rim, causing him to spin and crash in the first corner during the opening lap of the Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals championship feature just three days earlier.
"I didn't know what was going to happen here tonight," Schatz admitted. "I hit my head pretty hard at Knoxville and haven't been feeling very well, but I felt fine once I got in the race car.
"We got pretty lucky. Andy obviously had the fastest car here, but he had problems. That's just part of racing, I guess. I've won races that way and lost them like that, too. I just have to thank my guys for working their butts off putting together a new Parker Stores J&J."
Schatz, the 10th-fastest qualifier, won the First O'Reilly Heat Race and earned the right to start the 30-lap main event outside the front row by following Hillenburg across the finish line in the Channellock Dash.
Hillenburg burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the "A" Feature. Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Mark Kinser, whose crew replaced the engine in his #5M Mopar Maxim before hot laps, passed Schatz high in turn one to take over second place early in the first lap. Schatz passed Kinser -- who won the first two main events the series ran at MetraPark Raceway -- deep in the fourth corner the next time around.
Hillenburg was 2.3 seconds ahead of Schatz when they entered lapped traffic six laps into the race. Stevie Smith, who won the Third O'Reilly Heat Race, steered his #19 Ingersoll-Rand Maxim to the lowest point in turn two to pass Kinser for third place early in lap nine.
The 13th lap proved unlucky for Hillenburg. The 1988 Rookie of the Year was 3.1 seconds ahead of Schatz when his left rear tire lost pressure, causing him to spin in the first corner.
Schatz raced away from the field as the green flag replaced the yellow, only to have fast-qualifier Craig Dollansky hit the guardrail deep in turn one and flip into Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals champion Danny Lasoski. Lasoski, who lost sixth place in the crash, restarted at the back of the pack. The damage to Karavan Racing's #7 Polydome Maxim kept Dollansky from returning to the race.
Paul McMahan took over ninth place with a high move around Jason Meyers between the third and fourth corners late in the 18th lap.
Schatz, who held a .9-second advantage when he entered lapped traffic with six laps remaining, was 1.3 seconds ahead of Smith when he took the checkered flag. Smith passed Hillenburg for sixth in the points race when Andy finished in 14th place.
"I crossed the line there toward the end of the race," Schatz said. "I got into the inside wall coming out of (turn) two, but I knew if I didn't get by that lapped car (Toni Lutar) somebody would be right on me. Fortunately, I didn't get into it too hard and hurt the tire."
Kinser opened a 36-point lead over Lasoski by finishing in third place. Mark's cousin, Steve Kinser, finished fourth, ahead of Joey Saldana, Tim Shaffer, Dale Blaney, Randy Hannagan, McMahan and Meyers.
Shaffer's sixth-place run from outside the sixth row pushed him past McMahan into ninth place in the point standings.
Dollansky chopped .341 seconds off the single-lap record Mark Kinser set two years ago, circling the semi-banked, ½-mile oval in 17.382 seconds, an average speed of 103.555 m.p.h.
Brad Furr, who crashed into Schatz at the Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals, hit the guardrail and collided with Saldana and Meyers in the first corner early in the opening lap of the Channellock Dash. Furr brought out a backup #2F Sanmina Eagle for the main event and finished 20th.