Schatz Sizzles at Lernerville: Claims Commonwealth Clash Donny Schatz and his team have been trying a number of different combinations this year as they have been searching for that perfect balance that will help them return to the winning ways...
Schatz Sizzles at Lernerville: Claims Commonwealth Clash
Donny Schatz and his team have been trying a number of different combinations this year as they have been searching for that perfect balance that will help them return to the winning ways that they have been accustomed to for the last four seasons. Over the last few weeks, they have certainly hit on something as the four-time and defending series champion has been near the front of the field in almost all of the races during that span. He scored his fifth win of the season on Saturday night in the Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway before a very large crowd in the series first fall race at the track since 2001.
Schatz claimed the overall title in the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup back in July and has now won four times at Lernerville in his career with the World of Outlaws. He has racked up 13 consecutive Top-10 finishes at the historic track located in Western Pennsylvania dating back to 2004. The $10,000 triumph on Saturday night for Schatz was the 105th of his career with the World of Outlaws, putting him just two behind Hall of Famer Doug Wolfgang for fourth on the series all-time win list.
"We had an awesome car," said Schatz. "It was fun to race Paullie (McMahan) like that and be in traffic. We've been working hard and these guys deserve to win every night with how hard they work. We haven't been able to do that so we have to pick up the pace a little bit. It's fun to be able to know you still can do it after you lose all of that advantage."
Schatz started second aboard the Armor All/STP J&J and was all over Paul McMahan in the early going, nearly taking the lead a couple of times. The North Dakota native used a strong restart on the 11th lap to blast by McMahan on the high side of turn four. He would pace the remainder of the 35-lapper on his way to the win.
"It was a fast demanding track tonight," shared Schatz. "It was get up on the cushion and go. You could get on the bottom as well. It was pretty much two and three grooves. Getting in lapped traffic was fun and that's where your races are won and lost. The way I was going through lapped traffic I was catching it just right and I had quite a few lapped cars in there before the yellow came out."
Schatz had a huge lead on the 28th lap when the final caution of the night flew, setting up a double file restart between him and McMahan. Schatz chose the low line on the restart and quickly shot to a lead. He would encounter some light lapped traffic over the last couple of laps putting a comfortable gap between himself and McMahan.
"I could have started from either place, but I knew that Paul (McMahan) was better on the bottom than he would have been on the outside, so I just took the line he wanted," admitted the winner. "It wouldn't have mattered, because with the double file restarts the leader gets to start the race. I could have taken off anywhere I wanted in turns three and four, so it's your bonus to be leading at that point. The double file restarts for the most part have been good this year and they were fun tonight."
McMahan, who finished third at Eldora Speedway on Friday night, ended up second to earn his 28th Top-Five finish of the season aboard the Great Clips Maxim. He has finished in the runner-up position six times in 2010 as he looks to add to his win earlier this season. While running second he fended off battles from Dale Blaney and then Tim Shaffer.
"We had another great car tonight," McMahan stated. "I made a little mistake there and Donny (Schatz) jumped on it. This whole team has been working hard and we are really knocking on the door. Hopefully we'll be able to pick up a couple of wins here before the year is over. I'm having a blast driving this thing and I can't thank Kasey Kahne and the entire team enough for the opportunity."
Tim Shaffer, who began the night by setting fast time in qualifying, ended up third in the Kistler Engines J&J. After trouble in his heat race forced him into the Last Chance Showdown, which he won, the native of nearby Aliquippa, Pennsylvania started the main event 11th and steadily worked his way to the front. He used a masterful double file restart on the 28th-lap to go from sixth to third.
"It definitely put us behind after the heat race, but we have a great car and a great team," said Shaffer. "We were able to rebound and to come out of here third is pretty awesome. It's been a great season overall for us. We were stumbling a little on the restarts and it was killing us all night. I finally timed that one right where I could stay with them. We had some great momentum through (turns) one and two and to split the guys coming off (turn) two was pretty awesome."
Dale Blaney finished fourth in the Ti-22 Performance machine with Craig Dollansky fifth in the Big Game Treestands Maxim.
Jason Meyers used a strong late restart with eight laps to go to go from eighth to sixth in the GRL Investments KPC. He would finish in that same position to extend his lead in the series standings to 50 points over 20-time series champion Steve Kinser, who spun on the 28th lap and ended up 13th in the Bass Pro Shops Maxim. Joey Saldana, who was injured at Eldora Speedway on Friday night and missed Saturday's race, fell to third in points, 85 markers back, after receiving 75 "Medical Exemption" points. Donny Schatz used his win to gain some ground in fourth, and is now 89 markers out of the lead, as the closest four-way championship battle in series history continues. Just six races remain in 2010 for the World of Outlaws.
Brad Sweet, who was filling in for Saldana in the Budweiser Maxim was seventh. Jac Haudenschild, who won on Friday night at Eldora Speedway, came from the 19th starting spot to finish eighth in the Owens-Corning Fiberglass XXX to earn the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award. Danny Lasoski was ninth in the Casey's General Store JEI, with Sammy Swindell rounding out the Top-10 in the Big Game Treestands Maxim.
The World of Outlaws return to action on Friday, October 1 and Saturday, October 2 at the legendary Williams Grove Speedway for the opener of the National Open.
COMMONWEALTH CLASH NOTES
* FAST QUALIFIER: Tim Shaffer paced the 32 cars that took time with an AMB i.t. timed lap around the high-banked four-tenths-mile oval at 12.844 seconds at 126.129 miles per hour. For his qualifying effort Shaffer earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Donny Schatz (4), Dale Blaney (3), Jason Meyers (2) and Jason Sides (1).
* LERNERVILLE SPEEDWAY QUALIFYING WINNERS: Paul McMahan, Craig Dollansky, Sam Hafertepe Jr. and Brad Sweet won heat races. Paul McMahan won the Dash. Tim Shaffer won the Last Chance Showdown.
* FEATURE WINNERS: There have been 63 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature events held in 2010. The winners include: Joey Saldana (Thunderbowl Raceway, Volunteer Speedway, I-55 Raceway, Eldora Speedway-twice, Dodge City Raceway Park, River Cities Speedway, LaSalle Speedway, Beaver Dam Raceway, Lernerville Speedway, Nodak Speedway, Castrol Raceway and Deer Creek Speedway), Jason Meyers (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Thunderbowl Raceway, Volunteer Speedway, Tri-State (Okla.) Speedway, Virginia Motor Speedway, I-96 Speedway, North Central Speedway, I-55 Raceway, Castrol Raceway and Silver Dollar Speedway), Steve Kinser (Volusia Speedway Park, Jackson Speedway, River Cities Speedway, Lakeside Speedway, Eldora Speedway, Autodrome Drummond, Fulton Speedway and Skagit Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (Paducah International Raceway, Knoxville Raceway, Skagit Speedway, Clay County Fair Speedway and Eldora Speedway), Donny Schatz (Volusia Speedway Park, The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Ohsweken Speedway, Silver Dollar Speedway and Lernerville Speedway), Jason Sides (Houston Raceway Park, Tri-City Speedway, Missouri State Fair Speedway and Ohsweken Speedway), Craig Dollansky (Lone Star Speedway, Cedar Lake Speedway and Nodak Speedway), Sammy Swindell (Dodge City Raceway, Huset's Speedway and Silver Dollar Speedway), Lance Dewease (Lernerville Speedway and Williams Grove Speedway), Brooke Tatnell (Knoxville Raceway and Junction Motor Speedway), Dale Blaney (Limaland Motorsports Park), Doug Esh (Lebanon Valley Speedway), Greg Hodnett (Williams Grove Speedway), Danny Lasoski (Cottage Grove Speedway), Chad Layton (Williams Grove Speedway), Paul McMahan (Eldora Speedway), Fred Rahmer (Williams Grove Speedway) and Tim Shaffer (I-55 Raceway).
* FOUR-TENTHS-MILE-WINNERS: Lernerville Speedway is a high-banked four-tenths-mile oval. The World of Outlaws have raced six times this season on a track that size. The winners include: Joey Saldana (Volunteer Speedway and Lernerville Speedway), Donny Schatz (The Dirt Track at Charlotte and Lernerville Speedway), Lance Dewease (Lernerville Speedway) and Jason Meyers (Volunteer Speedway).