Schatz Dominates TALK.com Outlaws Opener By Richard Day CONCORD, NC (October 5) -- Sprint car racing fans may be calling Donny Schatz "Mr. October" soon. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series...
Schatz Dominates TALK.com Outlaws Opener
By Richard Day
CONCORD, NC (October 5) -- Sprint car racing fans may be calling Donny Schatz "Mr. October" soon. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series 1997 Rookie of the Year won two of the last three feature races the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series ran last October. Schatz opened the month with a victory in the Williams Grove National Open and won Thursday's Preliminary Feature when the series opened the TALK.com Outlaws Championship at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "I want to thank Jack Elam for building a great race car," Schatz said. "We won the first night out with it, and Ron Shaver built a terrific motor. We're in pretty good shape for tomorrow night, so now it's just a matter of coming out here and getting the job done." After qualifying eighth-quick among the 47 cars in time trials, Schatz got the job done by winning every race he entered -- the Fourth NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race, the CHANNELLOCK Dash and the Preliminary Feature. The $5,000 victory, Schatz' first in a Preliminary Feature this season, pushed the Parker Stores team into 10th place in the car owner point standings. Schatz raced wheel-to-wheel down the front straightaway with Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Steve Kinser as the green flag fell in the 30-lap feature. He steered the #15 Parker Stores J&J into the low groove in the first corner to take the lead. Dean Jacobs spun in turn one early in the second lap and collected Brian Paulus and Fred Rahmer. Jac Haudenschild collided with the three flipping cars and restarted at the rear of the field. Sammy Swindell, who suffered a broken rear end while challenging Schatz for the lead in the CHANNELLOCK Dash, was on the move when the green flag replaced the red. The series' three-time champion steered his #1 CHANNELLOCK Stealth into the low groove between the first and second corners to pass Johnny Bridges on the restart and five laps later took eighth place from Dale Blaney deep in turn one. Schatz was 12 car-lengths ahead of "The King of the Outlaws" when he entered lapped traffic during the eighth lap. Kinser closed to within three car-lengths of Schatz in dense lapped traffic six laps later. Swindell continued his run toward the front during the race's middle stages, passing Vivarin Fast-Time Award winner Jeff Shepard for sixth place deep in the second corner early in lap 17. Mark Kinser, who won the WIX Filters Outlaws Showdown at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May, battled Paul McMahan for several laps before steering the #5M Mopar Maxim into the low groove in turn four to claim third place with 7 3/4 laps remaining. Schatz steadily increased his advantage during the final five laps and took the checkered flag while Steve Kinser raced through the fourth corner. "We got into traffic there and the 22 car (Haudenschild) scared me," Schatz said. "I passed him and he drove back by me. That got me running a little harder and we were able to pull away at the end." Kinser increased his advantage over Swindell to 191 points in the standings with the runner-up run. "My right rear tire started going away there at the end," Steve said. "I got real loose getting off of (turn) two and that let him get away from me there. "It's really tough here because you basically go out and run 30 laps without lifting. I'd like to see it slick off a little more tomorrow (Friday) night, but everybody has to run on the same track. Getting locked in (the CHANNELLOCK Dash) for tomorrow night was the main thing." Mark Kinser was only 25 points behind Swindell after finishing in third place. "I basically burned my tire up trying to run Paulie (McMahan) down," Mark said. "When I finally got by him, I didn't have anything left to try to catch up to Steve or Donny. "I think we'll probably have to go with a little different tire tomorrow night with a 40-lapper. At least we're locked in, and we can spend a little more time checking things out, and maybe be a little smarter for the feature." McMahan finished fourth, ahead of Swindell, Shepard, Saldana, Blaney, MCI/WorldCom USAC Midget Series points leader Kasey Kahne and "B" Feature winner Kenny Jacobs. Shepard received his third Vivarin Fast-Time Award of the year for pacing the qualifying session with a 118.528-m.p.h. lap around the semi-banked, 4/10-mile oval. WoO