Schatz Wins Third Night of Alltel DIRTcar Nationals Donny Schatz continued to gear up for the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season opener by winning for the second time in three nights with the All Star Circuit of...
Schatz Wins Third Night of Alltel DIRTcar Nationals
Donny Schatz continued to gear up for the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season opener by winning for the second time in three nights with the All Star Circuit of Champions on Thursday night in the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
The two-time defending Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion led from start to finish in the 30-lap event. At one point, he had nearly a five second lead before a red flag bunched up the field.
"It's good to get back to Victory Lane," said Schatz, whose car owner Tony Stewart was in attendance. "These guys deserve this, they have been working real hard. Our Chevrolet engine got us a good lap in qualifying tonight. We're doing some playing the last couple of nights and we'll go back to basics tomorrow and hopefully we'll be back in Victory Lane."
Schatz started on the pole, and ran side-by-side with Lance Dewease for most of the first lap and was scored the leader at the line. From there, he began to pull away and was in lapped traffic just six laps into the race.
The only thing that slowed him down was a lap-21 red flag. On the restart, he quickly pulled away from the field to earn his third career All Star Circuit of Champions win at the half-mile. He began the evening by setting fast time in qualifying and also charged from the third row of the first heat race to win that contest.
"We ran a whole different thing tonight than we have and we said we would commit to it tonight and do it, no matter if we won or lost," explained the North Dakota native, who earned $7,000 for the win. "I had to drive as hard as I could and some nights you have to do that. It helps me get better and you become more diversified as a driver."
Joey Saldana lined up third and battled Dewease and Jason Meyers throughout the 30-lap A-Feature. At the halfway point of the race, he traded the third spot with Meyers a number of times. After moving into third, Saldana set his sights on Dewease and caught him late in the race to move into the runner-up position. With three laps remaining, Schatz entered lapped traffic which gave Saldana a chance to close the gap slightly, but he ran out of laps.
"It was a good race for us," said Saldana. "We struggled in the last two and went back to basics tonight. We're back on the front straightaway and it's a good place to be heading into tomorrow."
Meyers used a last lap pass of Dewease to snare the third spot. He finished second on Tuesday night in the opener of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals for the All Star Circuit of Champions and is pleased with his team's performance this week. They debuted a self-designed and self-built KPC chassis earlier this week.
"We can't complain about tonight," said Meyers. "This is a great start to our season and these guys are doing a great job. All of the hard work is paying off. The new chassis is working really good. Everyone one has worked hard all winter and we look forward to starting the point season tomorrow night."
Craig Dollansky earned his second consecutive Top-Five finish, as he came home fourth on Thursday night. He finished sixth of better all three nights with the All Stars this week.
Daryn Pittman finished seventh in the finale of the three-day portion of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals for the All Star Circuit of Champions, to earn his second Top-10 finish of the week.
Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series drivers rounded out the Top-10, with Danny Lasoski in eighth, Chad Kemenah in ninth and Lucas Wolfe in 10th.
Also in action on Thursday night was: Jac Haudenschild, Steve Kinser, Shane Stewart, Chad Hillier, Tony Bruce Jr., Kraig Kinser, Tim Shaffer Terry McCarl and Sam Hafertepe Jr.