Donny Schatz Claims Third National Open Title at Williams Grove Mechanicsburg, PA -- Oct. 1, 2005 -- Donny Schatz knows it's not where you start but where you finish so on Saturday night in the Cleveland Brothers National Open at Williams Grove...
Donny Schatz Claims Third National Open Title at Williams Grove
Mechanicsburg, PA -- Oct. 1, 2005 -- Donny Schatz knows it's not where you start but where you finish so on Saturday night in the Cleveland Brothers National Open at Williams Grove Speedway, he continued his roll as the hottest driver on the World of Outlaws Sprint Series tour by racing from fifth to the checkered flag, and he's $30,000 richer for the experience, too.
Schatz slid past Daryn Pittman to grab the lead on Lap 17 in Turn 3 and he made it stick as they raced down the front-stretch. From there, he survived two restarts and drove away to the checkered flag in the ParkerStore J&J to win his third National Open crown, and second in a row. It also was his second consecutive A-feature victory and his eighth win of the season as he gears up for the 2006 Outlaws season.
Pittman, another of the '06 Outlaws, continued his own hot streak by holding on to finish second in the Titan Garages & Carports Maxim for the best Williams Grove A-feature finish in his career, one night after his second-place run in the preliminary feature. Pittman has finished first or second on five of the past six race nights.
Pennsylvania legend Fred Rahmer, the preliminary feature winner on Friday, brought his Miller Brothers Cadillac J&J to the checkered flag in third, followed by Steve Kinser in the Quaker State Maxim and Greg Hodnett in the Manheim Auctions JEI.
Chad Layton powered the Apple Dealerships Maxim to sixth, with '06 Outlaw and fast-qualifier Terry McCarl in the Big Game Treestands Eagle, Jason Solwold in the City Wide Insulation Schnee, Paul McMahan in the Selma Shell Maxim and Danny Lasoski in the Bass Pro Shops Eagle rounding out the top 10. Solwold's run was particularly impressive after he used a provisional to start the A-main in 27th and picked his way through traffic to finish eighth.
Following the preliminary feature, many pointed to Schatz as the driver who would challenge Rahmer, who was looking to win the National Open for the first time in his career in a season that saw the Pennsylvania Posse leader earn his first victory in the Summer Nationals and at Knoxville Raceway. A nine-time winner at Williams Grove, Schatz didn't disappoint. He started on the inside of the third row and after a red flag with six laps down, he used a long green-flag run in the 40-lap feature to work his way past Rahmer, Greg Hodnett and finally Pittman, who like the preliminary feature led much of the first half of the race.
Pittman didn't go easily, either. He raced to the top but caught the rear of the field on Lap 13 and allowed Schatz and Hodnett to close the gap. Schatz tailed Pittman through traffic for four laps before finally making his move Lap 17 in Turn 3. He slid under Pittman and into the lead at the same time Hodnett had to slow up for a lapped car, allowing Rahmer to slip into third.
"I slid in there and parked it, got the wheels caught up and got going again," said Schatz, a Mean 15 racer from Fargo, N.D. "My racecar was better off the bottom and through the middle. We've been running that way the past couple of months. It just seemed to work the best here tonight. That's not saying the next time we come back it's going to be the same. It wasn't the same way last year, I had to ride the rim. The racecar was good last year and this is a whole different racecar and it's good this year. There's a lot of preparation from Ricky Warner and the whole ParkerStore team. It's a lot of fun to be in Victory Lane. You can't not smile when you're in Victory Lane, and as much as we've been getting there I can keep a smile on my face.
"I tried not to get back to the third row, but we tried something with our car and that's really what won the race. We tried something in the Dash and it wasn't very good so we knew what direction we needed to go and we went the right direction. It was pretty good just to get locked in [on Friday]. That was the whole goal. Sometimes when you start on the front you don't have the advantage."
Schatz was easily weaving through traffic by Lap 25 when the third caution came out, bunching the field with 26 laps complete. By that point, Kinser had already worked his way to fifth and was looking for more, but with three lapped cars between him and Pittman, Schatz had a big jump on the restart and sailed away with clear track. The final caution with 31 laps complete saw Kinser in fourth but Schatz still had the benefit of lapped cars littered throughout the leaders on the restart. He smoothly drove to the top and powered his way to the checkered flag for the ninth time in his career at Williams Grove.
"It was a lot of fun," said Schatz, who has finished in the top 10 for 16 consecutive race nights. "We had to race with guys. I think I was running sixth when we started there and I just had to pick them off one by one. It says a lot about the racecar and this race team. These guys dig down deep and work hard. I can get frustrated sometimes but they pick me up and point me in the right direction and I need that from time to time."
The victory moves Schatz to fourth in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series championship standings with seven race nights remaining this season, beginning Friday in Dodge City, Kan. The $30,000-payday also pushes him over $300,000 for the year.
"It's definitely a big bonus," Schatz said. "All these race teams need money to keep surviving. We're a family-owned team and we do our best. Sometimes we win the big ones and sometimes we don't. Tonight we were very fortunate."
Pittman, who in the past three weeks has raced from 11th to seventh in the standings, started on the front row both nights during the National Open and paced the field during the early laps.
"We were good, we just got beat," said Pittman, a Mean 15 racer and native of Owasso, Okla. "Sometimes leading the race isn't always the place to be. In open track I think I was as good as he was, but he beat me in traffic. I got real tight when I got behind a guy. You just don't give him long green flag runs in traffic. He's awfully tough. Two seconds at Williams Grove, that's a great effort for this whole race team. If we keep finishing second we're bound to win a few more before this year is up."
Pittman was strong rolling along the top, but once he hit traffic his car got tight as he tried to maintain his lead.
"That was all I had run so I didn't have any confidence in what I needed to do when I got to traffic," Pittman said. "I knew I was going to have to move around. Sometimes the middle is good, sometimes the bottom is good. I tried the middle and I know I lost a lot of speed, it wasn't very good. I tried the bottom and I didn't feel very good down there, either. I mainly just got real tight when I got behind guys. This place is really bad when you get right behind because it takes all the air off you. I just got real tight and couldn't steer the thing. On that last restart, he never pulled away that far from us but I got stuck behind Kraig Kinser a little bit.
"It was a good run for us. He's tough and he's been on fire. He's been a little bit better than we have for the past couple of weeks but as long as we keep running first and second we'll be happy with that."
After starting on the pole, Rahmer was disappointed to finish third even though he has had a remarkable season of 31 victories, including two victories against the Outlaws.
"We should have been able to do better, we just messed the car up a little bit," said Rahmer, a native of Salfordville, Pa. "There's no room for error with this group of cars. We just left too much on the table, but it's hard just to run third. I knew Schatz would be tough. He really runs good here and he did a better job than us. He deserved to win.
"You want to win every one you tow to. Tonight, with the way it was played out. It's hard to put a plan together to win a race like this. We were good all night long, we just screwed up in the feature with what I think was the wrong tire choice. Forty laps is a lot longer than what we run."
Kinser, a winner earlier this season at Williams Grove, was one of the few cars that was able to come forward through the field. Starting 15th, Kinser methodically worked his way to a fourth-place finish.
"I was just off a little bit all week," said Kinser, who has virtually wrapped up the 2005 World of Outlaws championship for the 20th time in his career. "The last couple of weeks we've been a little bit slow. We just haven't had the motor to get out there and run the way we wanted. If we had been up toward the front we probably could have given him a little bit of a run.
"It's tough to pass. These cars are pretty even. You have to get yourself in a position to win a race. To win one of these races right now you need to start in the first three rows. It's pretty hard to win from 15th, especially here. You might do it on a short track, but they get strung out here, even with the yellows. By the time somebody picks the gas up here you're a full straightaway behind."
The Outlaws head back across the Midwest for a two-night event Oct. 7-8 at Dodge City Raceway in Dodge City, Kan. From there the series drops Oct. 11 into Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix to complete the Cactus Classic that was rain-delayed after the preliminary feature in March. The Outlaws close out the year with a two-day show Oct. 14-15 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., and a two-day show Oct. 21-22 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
WILLIAMS GROVE NOTEBOOK
* 2006 Outlaw Terry McCarl paced the 46 cars that went through time trials with an AMB i.t.-timed lap around the half-mile oval in 16.356 seconds at 108.353 mph. Brian Paulus set the record of 16.140 seconds on April 26, 2002, and was the second quickest qualifier Saturday night with a lap in 16.688 seconds at 107.862 mph. Fred Rahmer, Daryn Pittman, Donny Schatz and Craig Dollansky did not have to go through time trials or heats after finishing in the top four positions in the preliminary feature on Friday.
* The Kinsers joined what has to be a legendary list of names on Saturday when Kraig Kinser won his first asphalt race in an ARCA Re/Max Series event at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. In only his second ARCA event, Kraig Kinser joined his father as a winner at the famed 2.66-mile high-speed track in Alabama before flying into Mechanicsburg in time to qualify his Remy Maxim.
"It's real big to me, and it says something about the team I'm with down there," said Kraig Kinser of his MB2 Motorsports team. "It's a great group of guys who make me feel right at home. They have good cars and they run fast. The Hendrick motors in them are unbelievably quick."
"I got penalized about halfway through the race for not obeying blend-line rules or something like that [and had to go to the back]. It was actually better for us, since we ended up winning, because we got to experience drafting more that way rather than just being out front."
Steve Kinser, who won an IROC event at Talladega in 1994, was excited for Kraig's quick success on asphalt.
"It was a good day for him and they had a good racecar, too," Steve Kinser said. "They went out and set quick time. MB2 gave him a good car. It's only his second pavement race after he ran good at Michigan. Those are two tracks where a good car means a lot but still it's good for him to get out and feel it out and it helps his confidence. Everybody was happy from what I understand down there. I sort of wish I could have been there, but it was a good day for him."
Kraig went out last in time trials and showed no signs of being affected by his earlier race.
"You still have the speed," said Kraig of being back in the sprint car at night. "The acceleration here is unbelievable. You still have that feel. I love being in a sprint car so much that it makes it that much better to be back.
"It's unbelievable family tradition and I'm just happy to be a part of it."
* Donny Schatz's victory Saturday night at Williams Grove Speedway was his eighth of the season, second-most this year with the Outlaws. -- Steve Kinser has a series-leading 19 A-feature victories and six preliminary feature wins this season. -- There have been 17 different A-feature winners this season. Including preliminary features, 22 different drivers have visited Victory Lane this season with the Outlaws. -- Kraig Kinser captured the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 14 for his sixth A-feature victory of the season. He also has a preliminary feature win at Las Vegas. -- Jason Meyers earned his fourth win of the season July 2 at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D. -- Tim Shaffer's victory July 19 in the Silver Cup was his third of the season, going with wins Lake Ozark Speedway and Thunderbowl Raceway. -- Craig Dollansky has two A-feature victories and three preliminary feature wins. -- Brian Paulus won June 28 at Huset's Speedway for his second victory of the season, and picked up a preliminary feature win in the following race at Red River Valley Speedway. -- Brooke Tatnell has two A-feature victories, winning at Cedar Lake and Fulton speedways, as well as a preliminary feature win at Princeton Speedway. -- Sammy Swindell won his second A-feature of the season June 4 at Eldora Speedway. Swindell also has a preliminary feature win April 8 at Eldora and Aug. 14 at Knoxville Raceway in the Nationals' non-qualifiers event. -- Danny Lasoski won Aug. 30 at Cottage Grove Speedway and has three preliminary feature wins. -- Fred Rahmer's victory Friday night was his second preliminary feature win of the season with the Outlaws. He also won the Summer Nationals crown July 23 and picked up a preliminary feature win in the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 10. -- Single-event winners include Jac Haudenschild on Aug. 5 at Eldora Speedway, Stevie Smith July 13 at Attica Raceway Park, Tim Kaeding June 11 at Sheboygan County Fair Park, Chad Kemenah July 9 at I-55 Raceway, and Jeff Shepard Feb. 11 at Volusia Speedway Park. -- In preliminary features, Joey Saldana, Paul McMahan, Jason Johnson and Shane Stewart have each won once.
* Including preliminary features, the series has raced 36 times this year on half-mile circuits with Steve Kinser winning nine times (Volusia, Eldora three times, Knoxville, Williams Grove, Hartford, Red River Valley and Calistoga), Donny Schatz winning four times (Las Vegas, Route 66 Raceway, Calistoga, Williams Grove), Sammy Swindell winning four times (twice at Eldora, once at Hagerstown and Knoxville), Kraig Kinser winning three times (Las Vegas and twice at Knoxville), Craig Dollansky winning twice (Manzanita and Williams Grove), Jason Meyers winning twice (Granite City and Red River Valley), Fred Rahmer winning three times (Williams Grove twice and Knoxville), Danny Lasoski winning twice (Knoxville and Calistoga), and Daryn Pittman (Jackson), Brian Paulus (Red River Valley), Jeff Shepard (Volusia), Jason Johnson (Williams Grove), Paul McMahan (Williams Grove), Jac Haudenschild (Eldora) and Shane Stewart (Knoxville) each winning once.
* Drivers who have raced to victory in preliminary features this season include (in alphabetical order) Craig Dollansky three times (Manzanita/Williams Grove/Silver Dollar), Jason Johnson once (Williams Grove), Kraig Kinser once (Las Vegas), Steve Kinser six times (Eagle twice/Billings/Elma/Calistoga/Silver Dollar), Danny Lasoski three times (Australia/Knoxville/Calistoga), Fred Rahmer twice (Knoxville/Williams Grove), Kerry Madsen once (Australia), Paul McMahan once (Williams Grove), Brian Paulus once (Red River Valley), Joey Saldana once (Lernerville), Shane Stewart once (Knoxville), Brooke Tatnell once (Princeton), Sammy Swindell twice (Eldora/Knoxville).
* Fred Rahmer, Daryn Pittman, Donny Schatz and Craig Dollansky were locked into the Stacker 2® Dash, and joined Saturday night by Greg Hodnett and Keith Kauffman. Rahmer charged to a quick lead and drove to victory and the pole for the main event. Pittman held on to finish second with Dollansky, Kauffman, Schatz and Hodnett rounding out the field. The field also established a six-lap record by completing the Dash in 1 minute, 37.29 seconds.
* The B-main featured the four fastest qualifiers on Saturday night. Terry McCarl, the quick qualifier, was strong on the top and rolled to the win with Lucas Wolfe, Brian Paulus, Brian Montieth earning the transfer spots. Lernerville Speedway track champion Ed Lynch Jr. and Jason Solwold transferred to the end of the B-main by finishing in the top two spots in the C-main.
* In heat race action, the four fastest cars were inverted with the top four cars transferring to the A-main, but none of the top four fastest cars were able to transfer, sending all four to the B-main. Brandon Wimmer captured the first heat, Brooke Tatnell charged to victory in the second heat, Doug Esh cruised to victory in the third heat and Steve Kinser coasted to victory in the fourth heat.
* The Outlaws head back across the Midwest for a two-night event Oct. 7-8 at Dodge City Raceway in Dodge City, Kan. From there the series drops Oct. 11 into Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix to complete the Cactus Classic that was rain-delayed after the preliminary feature in March. The Outlaws close out the year with a two-day show Oct. 14-15 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., and a two-day show Oct. 21-22 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
* The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. Eastern on Oct. 5 the event from The Raceway at Powercom Park, followed by the National Open from Williams Grove Speedway on Oct. 12.