On Top Again: Donny Schatz Wins 2010 World of Outlaws Season Opener Barberville, FL-February 6, 2010-Donny Schatz wrapped up 2009 standing on top of the podium after claiming his fourth consecutive World of Outlaws title, and he began the 2010...
On Top Again: Donny Schatz Wins 2010 World of Outlaws Season Opener
Barberville, FL-February 6, 2010-Donny Schatz wrapped up 2009 standing on top of the podium after claiming his fourth consecutive World of Outlaws title, and he began the 2010 season on top again taking the win on Saturday night in the season opening 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio at Volusia Speedway Park.
Schatz lined up third in the Armor All J&J and quickly moved into second and then battled Tim Shaffer and led the first lap, before the latter retook the top spot on the second circuit. Schatz tracked Shaffer back down in lapped traffic and drove under him on the 12th lap in turn one to take the lead. He would lead the remainder of the 30-lapper, including after two double file restarts to score the win over Joey Saldana and Steve Kinser.
"That's the way to start, that's awesome," said Schatz. "Everyone has their cars stuck so hard that it puts it more on the drivers and that's what I like to see. I'm glad to get the win. Normally I don't run well on the top when its fast, but I could go all over. The guys have been working pretty hard and we have been playing since we got to Ocala. We learned a lot of things and I think we have five or six nights ahead of everyone, hopefully."
For Schatz, the $10,000 victory was his fourth World of Outlaws A-Feature win at Volusia Speedway Park and his ninth career victory at the track. He has claimed the season opener in three of the four years. The North Dakota native has finished eighth or better in eight straight events with the series at the half-mile.
"This place is so much different than it used to be," explained Schatz. "It used to have sand on it and now it has more clay and it changed the surface a little bit. It's great to see the races when you get two grooves and you can run the bottom and the top. That is all you can ask for in a race track."
Saldana, who won earlier in the week in the DIRTcar Nationals in an event under the All Star Circuit of Champions banner, finished second aboard the Budweiser Maxim on Saturday night to earn his third straight podium at the half-mile. He lined up eighth and steadily worked his way to the front.
"We've had a good car these last three races and the cool part is that we have been passing cars to get to first and second," shared Saldana. "We're doing everything right. We're learning our race cars with these new tires. We'll come back tomorrow and try to get a win."
Schatz battled Jason Meyers early in the race while Shaffer opened a slight lead before the pair closed back in on the leader in lapped traffic 10 laps into the main event. After Schatz took the lead from Shaffer, Meyers closed in and began to battle for the runner-up spot with Saldana in the mix as well.
The first caution of the season flew on the 15th lap leading to the first double file restart of the year. Schatz chose the inside line for the restart and used a strong start to lead the field into turn one, with Saldana nearly taking the second spot from Shaffer.
Meyers moved into second on lap-18 and was closing on Schatz when the caution flew on the very next circuit. On the restart, Schatz again chose the inside lane and opened a couple of car length lead while Saldana powered his way around the top to come from fourth to second.
Schatz continued to pull away as he entered lapped traffic with six laps to go. At the same time, Steve Kinser and Meyer battled for third, with the former eventually taking the final spot on the podium. Schatz negotiated traffic down the stretch to score the 101st A-Feature win of his World of Outlaws career.
In his first World of Outlaws race for Tony Stewart Racing, 20-time series champion Steve Kinser, finished third in the Bass Pro Shops Maxim on Saturday night. He fell back to sixth early in the race and began to work his way back up after that, including battling his son Kraig for a number of laps.
"We went a little bit overboard on the set-up," shared the Hall of Famer. "It's a little different car than we normally run so we're playing with it a little bit. I can't complain, but I'm still a little bit disappointed."
Jason Meyers finished fourth in the GLR Investments KPC to earn his seventh consecutive Top-10 finish in a World of Outlaws event at Volusia Speedway Park. Tim Shaffer wound up leading a total of 10 laps aboard the Kistler Engines J&J and came home fifth.
Kraig Kinser was sixth in his return to his father's team aboard the Quaker State Maxim. Lucas Wolfe came all the way from the 22nd starting spot to finish seventh in the Allebach Racing Maxim. Lance Dewease was eighth in the Advance Development Systems J&J, with Jason Sides ninth aboard the Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim. Mark Smith rounded out the Top-10 in the Bricker's French Fries Mach 1.
Saldana, who led the World of Outlaws with 20 A-Feature wins last season, is the current point leader in the battle for the overall DIRTcar Nationals titles, which he has come close to winning a couple of times in the past. Steve Kinser is currently second in event points, with Craig Dollansky third, Donny Schatz fourth and Jason Meyers fifth.
"We just have to keep doing what we are doing," said Saldana. "If we keep running how we are, we're bound to win a race. It may not be tomorrow, but if you start eighth and run second, you are definitely making progress all night and are doing the right things. I know we worked our way up there and back and then up there again racing some real tough competitors. It's been a great performance for this team all three nights."
The World of Outlaws wrap up the sprint car portion of the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio on Sunday night at Volusia Speedway Park.
DIRTCAR NATIONALS SATURDAY NOTES
* FILLING IN: Brad Sweet filled in for Cody Darrah in the No 91 Great Clips Maxim for Kasey Kahne Racing on Saturday night. Darrah suffered a broken leg earlier in the day in a traffic accident that will require surgery.
* FAST QUALIFIER: Jason Sides paced the 37 cars that took time with an AMB i.t. timed lap around the semi-banked half-mile oval at 13.691 seconds at 131.473 mph. For his qualifying effort, Sides earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Joey Saldana (4), Donny Schatz (3), Steve Kinser (2) and Kraig Kinser (1).
* DIRTCAR NATIONALS QUALIFYING WINNERS: Kraig Kinser, Joey Saldana, Fred Rahmer and Sam Hafertepe Jr. won heat races. Tim Shaffer won the dash. Dale Blaney won the B-Main.
* FEATURE WINNERS: There has been one World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature event held in 2010. The winner was Donny Schatz (Volusia Speedway Park).
* HALF-MILE WINNERS: Volusia Speedway Park is a semi-banked half-mile. The World of Outlaws have raced once a track that size in 2010. The winner was Donny Schatz (Volusia Speedway Park).