Back in Victory Lane: Donny Schatz Wins Circle K NOS Energy Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on SPEED Concord, NC- May 29, 2010- Donny Schatz has certainly been fast this year and has been in position and contention for a number of...
Back in Victory Lane: Donny Schatz Wins Circle K NOS Energy Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on SPEED
Concord, NC- May 29, 2010- Donny Schatz has certainly been fast this year and has been in position and contention for a number of wins, only to have bad luck befall him. Schatz put that all behind him on Saturday night to score his second win of the season in the Circle K NOS Energy Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on SPEED over Joey Saldana in the race which had been postponed by rain on Friday night.
Schatz had a spirited battle with Saldana over the last five laps of the 30-lap contest with the pair trading the lead twice and running side-by-side a couple of times to score his third A-Feature win at the state-of-the-art four-tenths-mile and fourth overall triumph dating back to his debut at the track in 2000.
For Schatz, the $12,000 win was the 102nd of his World of Outlaws career and first since the season opener back on February 5 at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida. The four-time and defending series champion, who is one of just two drivers that has competed in every single World of Outlaws event at Charlotte has finished eighth or better in each of his last 12 starts at the track.
"It feels good to get Armor All and STP back where they belong in Victory Lane," said Schatz. "I can't thank my guys enough. We beat ourselves up pretty bad and shouldn't have, but we did. We learned a lot through it all about each other and I think it made us a lot stronger."
Schatz used a couple of strong double file restarts en route to the win, choosing the high side of the track each time, first with Lucas Wolfe lining up down low and then Joey Saldana on the bottom on the final restart. Schatz wound up winning by 0.775 seconds aboard the Armor All/STP J&J.
"It wasn't an easy choice, but I had to be on the top, because with the way the tires were that's where I needed to be in the first corner," noted Schatz. "The bottom was probably a little better. The thing about the double file restarts is that when you are the leader you restart the race. So it doesn't matter if I am on top or bottom I get to start the race and the guy beside you is supposed to let you start the race."
Late in the going, Saldana caught Schatz in lapped traffic and got by him on the 26th lap in turn one, with Schatz retaking the top spot in turn two on the next circuit. Saldana made a final charge with a couple laps to go, getting even with Schatz coming off turns three on the low side of the track, though he went a little too low and clipped one of the tractor tires on the inside of the track.
"I don't if you really call it holding anyone up," stated Schatz when asked about lapped traffic. "They are out there doing their thing and don't know we are back there trying to race. When the track gets slower you just have to be a little patient. We've won races that way and lost races that way. If I couldn't pass a car on the outside, then I had to get on the inside and that's what I did."
Saldana won the dash to earn the pole for the main event on Saturday night and led one lap en route to his runner-up finish, which was his series leading 15th Top-five finish of the season. He extended his lead in the World of Outlaws championship standings to 26 markers over Jason Meyers as he chases his first series title in the Budweiser Maxim for Kasey Kahne Racing. Saldana fell back to third early in the race and after battling Lucas Wolfe for a number of laps moved into second on the 15th lap.
"It was driver error tonight," deadpanned Saldana. "I was trying too hard and I hit that infield tire and knocked the left front shock off," said Saldana. "That's not an excuse. We had a good car. I just made a mistake. We'll come back and try again tomorrow."
The race began with Saldana leading the field to the green flag and into turn one, with Schatz charging around him on the high side of turn two. Schatz jumped to an early lead and was in traffic just five laps into the race. The first caution flew on the 10th lap as the leaders worked their way through some light traffic. Saldana got around Lucas Wolfe on the 16th lap following a restart and set his sights on Schatz.
Wolfe had another strong run on Saturday night coming home third aboard the Allebach Racing Maxim. For the Pennsylvania native it was his fifth Top-Five of the season and vaulted him to seventh in the series standings. Wolfe lined up sixth and charged to second on the opening lap.
"It was a good run," said Wolfe. "Anytime we can be racing this close to the front is great with these guys. These are the two best guys in the world for the last many years, so I'm happy to be on the same track as them and be able to race them."
Steve Kinser came home fourth in the Bass Pro Shops Maxim to score his series leading 19th Top-10 finish of the season. Kinser charged from the fifth starting spot on the opening lap of the first heat to take the lead and ultimately the win to earn a spot in the dash and ultimately a Top-10 starting spot in the main event.
Danny Lasoski was fifth in the Casey's General Store JEI, with Jason Sides sixth piloting the Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim. Paul McMahan came home seventh in the Great Clips Maxim with Craig Dollansky eighth in the Big Game Treestands Maxim. Jason Meyers finished ninth in the GLR Investments KPC after a stop in the work area just past the halfway point of the race to make a chassis adjustment. Jac Haudenschild rounded out the Top-10 in the Owens-Corning Fiberglass XXX.
The World of Outlaws return to action on Sunday, May 30 with an inaugural event at Tri-City Speedway in Franklin, Pennsylvania.
CIRCLE K NOS ENERGY OUTLAW SHOWDOWN NOTES
FAST QUALIFIER: Sam Hafertepe Jr. paced the 24 cars that took time with an AMB i.t. timed lap around the high-banked four-tenths-mile oval at 12.998 seconds at 110.786 mph. For his qualifying effort, Hafertepe earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Lucas Wolfe (4), Paul McMahan (3), Jason Meyers (2) and Danny Lasoski (1).
THE DIRT TRACK AT CHARLOTTE QUALIFYING WINNERS: Steve Kinser, Chad Kemenah and Sammy Swindell won heat races. Joey Saldana won the dash.
FEATURE WINNERS: There have been 20 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature events held in 2010. The winners include: Jason Meyers (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Thunderbowl Raceway, Volunteer Speedway, Tri-State (Okla.) Speedway, Virginia Motor Speedway and I-96 Speedway), Joey Saldana (Thunderbowl Raceway, Volunteer Speedway, I-55 Raceway and Eldora Speedway), Steve Kinser (Volusia Speedway Park and Jackson Speedway), Donny Schatz (Volusia Speedway Park and The Dirt Track at Charlotte), Craig Dollansky (Lone Star Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (Paducah International Raceway), Chad Layton (Williams Grove Speedway), Paul McMahan (Eldora Speedway), Fred Rahmer (Williams Grove Speedway) and Jason Sides (Houston Raceway Park).
FOUR-TENTH-MILE WINNERS: The Dirt Track at Charlotte is a high-banked four-tenths-mile oval. The World of Outlaws have raced three times this season on a track that size. The winners include: Jason Meyers (Volunteer Speedway), Joey Saldana (Volunteer Speedway) and Donny Schatz (The Dirt Track at Charlotte).