Schatz's spirits climb at Rocky Mountain National Speedway. COMMERCE CITY, CO (August 19) -- Donny Schatz found a way to deal with the disappointment of finishing second at the Ford Dealers of Iowa Knoxville Nationals Tuesday. Schatz, the ...
Schatz's spirits climb at Rocky Mountain National Speedway.
COMMERCE CITY, CO (August 19) -- Donny Schatz found a way to deal with the disappointment of finishing second at the Ford Dealers of Iowa Knoxville Nationals Tuesday.
Schatz, the runner-up in three of the last four championship features in sprint car racing's richest and most important event, put together a flag-to-flag victory in the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series "A" Feature before a capacity crowd at Rocky Mountain National Speedway. The $51,600 event was the series' first at the semi-banked, 3/8-mile oval since 1995.
"My guys have been working hard to give me a great race car," Schatz said, "and like we said Saturday, 'we're just going to concentrate on winning a lot more races to finish out the year.' The only way I can get over running second Saturday night is to skip the next 11 ½ months and get back to Knoxville for another Nationals."
Schatz steered his #15 Parker Stores J&J around two potential crashes while leading all 30 laps from the pole on the way to his sixth main event victory of the season.
"I had a couple of close calls there with the 27 car (Patrick Bourke)," Schatz said. "I thought I lapped him once, but I saw him get together with another car getting into (turn) one and I just made a hard right and was lucky that nobody passed me. We were able to get out and run up top for the first few laps, and then we could see the track starting to take rubber, and when that happens there's really nothing you can do but to get down in it.
"It's been a long day. We drove all night to get here, and then we did an appearance for Parker Stores this afternoon. We have Brad Fisher from corporate here tonight. This is the first time he's ever seen me win."
Schatz, the seventh-fastest qualifier in the 34-car field, received the privilege of starting the First Dash Race on the pole when Danny Lasoski picked the #4 inversion pill after pacing time trials. The 1997 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year beat Tim Shaffer, Lasoski, Jason Meyers, Joey Saldana, Second Heat Race winner Jason Sides, Brian Paulus and Nick Haygood across the finish line in the five-lap race to claim the pole position in the main event.
The 26-year-old racer from Fargo, ND, burst into the lead as the green flag fell in the "A" Feature. McMahan drove the #11H Vivarin Maxim past Steve Kinser, a five-time winner at Rocky Mountain National Speedway, on the back straightaway to claim the runner-up spot midway through the first lap.
Danny Lasoski, who won his third Knoxville Nationals championship three days earlier, took the low line through the second corner to pass Shaffer for fourth place the next time around.
Daryn Pittman was on the move after Sean Walden's turn-two spin sent the caution flag flying early in the fourth lap, passing Meyers and Shaffer within the next three laps. Sides, who is racing for the 2003 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year award, also passed Johnny Herrera when the race resumed.
Schatz was two car-lengths ahead of the Fourth Heat Race winner when he entered lapped traffic during lap eight.
John Gerloff collided with Bourke and spun in front of the leaders in the fourth corner late in lap 23. Bourke and Haygood tangled ahead of Schatz three laps later, but all continued racing to avoid a caution.
McMahan was only three car-lengths behind Schatz when the leaders caught the back-markers again with 3½ laps remaining.
Shaffer drove Dennis Roth's #83 Beef Packers Eagle into the low groove between turns three and four to pass Pittman for fifth place late in the 29th lap.
Schatz took the checkered flag with eight car-lengths to spare to claim the 19th "A" Feature victory of his career. The $10,000 victory pushed Schatz past Rick Ferkel into 13th place on the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series all-time list of winners.
Kinser finished in third place, ahead of Lasoski, Shaffer, Pittman, Meyers, First Heat Race winner Travis Cram, Sides and Herrera.
Tim Kaeding, who won the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series' 25th Anniversary season opener at Kings Speedway, spun out of second place midway through the Fourth Heat Race. He raced back into a qualifying position, then passed eight cars to finish 12th in the main event.
"The Dude," who leads the series with 23 fast times, set Rocky Mountain National Speedway's single-lap record with a 110.231-M.P.H. lap around the semi-banked, 3/8-mile oval.