Schatz Tames Topeka: Wins Second Straight at Heartland Park Topeka, KS-- October 25, 2008--After winning at Heartland Park Topeka for the second time in his career last season, a bounty was placed on two-time defending Advance Auto Parts...
Schatz Tames Topeka: Wins Second Straight at Heartland Park
Topeka, KS-- October 25, 2008--After winning at Heartland Park Topeka for the second time in his career last season, a bounty was placed on two-time defending Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Donny Schatz. The series returned to the Kansas track on Saturday night for the second annual Thunder at the Heartland, which was postponed by rain last month. Schatz made sure that none of his fellow drivers claimed the bounty, as he took the checkered flag to win for the second consecutive season and third time in his career at the track.
Schatz led the final 10 laps, after getting around Kerry Madsen in lapped traffic en route to his 17th A-Feature win of the season and the 87th of his Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series career. In addition to the $10,000 top prize, Schatz also received an extra $500 for the win due to no other driver claiming the bounty, which was $1,000.
"It was a very good night for us," said Schatz. "We qualified well and that's a step up from last weekend and a step down from the weekend before that. Heartland has been good to me. They have always had a great race track and I have always enjoyed it. I seem to put myself in a good position here. I'm pumped about it."
After starting on the outside of the front row with Madsen, Schatz kept pace with him on both the initial start and the second start which came after an opening lap red flag. Schatz gained significant ground on the leader in lapped traffic. After a few early caution flags gave the Madsen clear track to work with, the leaders found themselves in heavy traffic just past the halfway point of the 35-lap contest. Schatz kept pace with Madsen and closed in when the latter went above the cushion coming off turn four two laps in a row.
Schatz took the lead for the first time from Madsen on the 24th lap, diving under him in turns one and two. Madsen fought right back and retook the lead on the back straightaway as the pair went three-wide with a lapped car. On the next lap, Schatz got a run on Madsen on the high side of turns one and two to pass him and quickly pulled away as he charged down the back straightaway aboard the Armor All J&J.
"You always have to be patient, no matter when it is," explained the North Dakota native. "Sometimes you have to be patiently aggressive. The way the cushion got choppy, it was a little demanding. Under that red (flag), Ricky (Warner) told me what I was doing wrong in (turns) three and four to get the car around the corner. It really helped me when I was out front. It's a complete team effort. Everyone has to do their job and sometimes I have to do mine."
After taking the lead, Schatz had to endure the aforementioned red flag and one more caution on a very chilly night. He used strong restarts each time to quickly pull away from Madsen. On the final restart, Madsen kept pace with him as the pair found themselves in lapped traffic.
"It's all part of racing and there is nothing you can do about it," Schatz quipped of all the cautions. "You have to deal with. As a driver when you grit your teeth and try to be aggressive to win races and pass guys, the cautions always save some guys. I am the hunter, not the hunted. I'm not the kind of guy that gets out front and just sits there. I always try to push myself and that's how you make yourself better."
Schatz's 17th A-Feature win of the season helped him extend his lead in the championship standings to 123 points over Jason Meyers with two races remaining in 2008. Meyers was running in the seventh spot late in the race on Saturday night when he had some trouble on the back straightaway. He worked his way back to finish 12th. With his third consecutive series title nearly wrapped up, Schatz and his team are focused on wins next weekend at the second annual VAULT World Finals.
"With the year we have had, it would be the icing on the cake," said Schatz. "We've had a stellar year. It's hard to top what we have done the last couple of years and I think we're actually doing that right now. We've won a lot of races this year and we are pumped about it. These guys have taken a lot of pride in putting the feature winner stickers on the tail tank and they are running out of tail tank, so that is a good sign."
Madsen started on the pole Saturday night after winning the Crane Cams Dash. He darted to an early lead, and in clear race track was able to pull away from Schatz. As the race wore on, he began to battle his car and in lapped traffic lost a lot of ground to Schatz. Madsen wound up finishing second for the second time this season aboard the TK Concrete machine.
"We got the best we could ask for," shared Madsen. "We had a chance to win the race. We were good early and the track got heavier and the cushion got heavier. We just couldn't keep the front of the car down. I couldn't make the necessary line adjustments in traffic to keep out of trouble and Donny (Schatz) got us. "
Kraig Kinser joined his teammate on the podium by finishing third in the Bass Pro Shops Maxim. He fought off an early battle from Jac Haudenschild and late in the race tried everything he could to find a way around Madsen.
"It was a real good night," said Kinser. "I wish we could have been a little bit closer, especially a couple of times when those guys were up there racing. All in all it was a good night. A third-place finish is good and I'm glad to be up front. We had the opportunity to run one-two as a team and almost did, so that is a good as well."
Jac Haudenschild finished fourth in the Owens-Corning Fiberglass Maxim, with fellow Ohio native Chad Kemenah in fifth in the Kantor Oil Company Maxim.
Terry McCarl was sixth in the Big Game Treestands Maxim, with Joey Saldana behind him in seventh in the Budweiser/Open Joist Mopar-powered JEI. Steve Kinser was eighth in the Q Oil Maxim, while Sam Hafertepe Jr. was ninth in the Fusion Energy Boost J&J. Jason Sides rounded out the Top-10 in the Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim.
As the leaders took the white flag, a couple of lapped car were ahead of Schatz, forcing him to get off the throttle just enough for Madsen to close in on him as the pair worked their way into turns one and two. As they motored down the back straightaway, Schatz was able to weave his way through the slower machines to put a car between himself and Madsen at the finish.
"I actually had a good run on him on the last lap," explained the native of St. Mary's, NSW, Australia. "I had to make a good corner in one and two I screwed it up and didn't get the run I needed. We're real happy. We struggled last weekend and to come out and run strong was good for us."
A couple of late restarts gave Kinser two more chances to work on Madsen. Each time the pair charged down the front straightaway, he would look under Madsen and once was able to get even with him, but could not quite make a pass.
"I knew I wouldn't be able to pass him unless he made a big hiccup in one and two," noted the third generation driver. "I was hoping to get beside him and maybe have a shot in three and four. I knew it would be hard to make the pass on the restart in one and two. I kept trying, and I could get next to him, I just couldn't get ahead of him. I needed the whole race track."
An open red flag with eight laps remaining, which came out after Daryn Pittman got upside down while running fourth, gave the teams a chance to fine tune their cars for the final sprint to the checkers. Madsen and his team led by veteran crew chief Sonny Kratzer made some minor changes to their car.
"We put a little bit in the right rear," Madsen noted. "It helped a little bit. We just didn't catch them at the right time. We had a great car and we're happy about that. We have two more races, and we still have a chance to get one for the year."
Kinser making his first start at Heartland Park since 2001, quickly got up to speed at the 3/8-mile, as he ran second in the third heat race and found himself third in the Crane Cams Dash. He wasn't really affected by the cold weather or caution flags, but rather had a tough time with ever changing track conditions late in the race.
"Once we felt like we were getting in a rhythm the track started feeling like it was getting rough," he said. "That kind of knocked me out of rhythm. The way the cushion was, I was getting thrown around and am happy to finish third."
The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series returns to action October 30-November 1 with the second annual VAULT World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.
HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA NOTEBOOK
* FAST QUALIFIER: Terry McCarl paced the 25 cars that took time with an AMB i.t. timed lap around the semi-banked 3/8-mile oval at 12.192 seconds at 110.728 mph. For his qualifying effort, McCarl earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including: Daryn Pittman (4), Donny Schatz (3), Chad Kemenah (2), and Jason Meyers (1).
* QUALIFYING WINNERS: Kerry Madsen, Jac Haudenschild and Donny Schatz won heat races... Kerry Madsen won the Crane Cams Dash.
* UP NEXT: The second annual VAULT World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway, which will conclude the 2008 season for the World of Outlaws.
Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Heartland Park Topeka; Topeka, KS; October 25, 2008
1) 24-Terry McCarl 12.192
2) 21-Daryn Pittman 12.217
3) 15-Donny Schatz 12.257
4) 8K-Chad Kemenah 12.351
5) 14-Jason Meyers 12.433
6) 20-Kraig Kinser 12.441
7) 6-Paul McMahan 12.451
8) 5W-Lucas Wolfe 12.553
9) 1-Jason Martin 12.617
10) 55-Kerry Madsen 12.685
11) R19-Jac Haudenschild 12.729
12) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. 12.790
13) 11-Steve Kinser 12.858
14) 5C-Chad Hillier 12.902
15) 9-Joey Saldana 12.990
16) 7K-Justin Zimmerman 13.066
17) 18-Don Droud Jr. 13.068
18) 7S-Jason Sides 13.110
19) 1K-Kim Kennedy 13.154
20) 2-Craig Dollansky 13.195
21) 23W-Scott Winters 13.428
22) D1-Barry Lamb 13.441
23) 92J-JR Topper 13.629
24) 3-Cody Forshee 13.690
25) 71-Robert Bell -.---
Heat 1 (10 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 55-Kerry Madsen
2) 6-Paul McMahan
3) 8K-Chad Kemenah
4) 24-Terry McCarl
5) 11-Steve Kinser
6) 7K-Justin Zimmerman
7) 1K-Kim Kennedy
8) D1-Barry Lamb
Heat 2 (10 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) R19-Jac Haudenschild
2) 14-Jason Meyers
3) 5W-Lucas Wolfe
4) 21-Daryn Pittman
5) 5C-Chad Hillier
6) 18-Don Droud Jr.
7) 2-Craig Dollansky
8) 92J-JR Topper
Heat 3 (10 Laps, top 6 finishers transferred to A-feature)
1) 15-Donny Schatz
2) 20-Kraig Kinser
3) 9-Joey Saldana
4) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.
5) 7S-Jason Sides
6) 1-Jason Martin
7) 23W-Scott Winters
8) 3-Cody Forshee
Crane Cams Dash (8 laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting
positions of A-feature)
1) 55-Kerry Madsen
2) 15-Donny Schatz
3) 20-Kraig Kinser
4) R19-Jac Haudenschild
5) 6-Paul McMahan
6) 24-Terry McCarl
7) 21-Daryn Pittman
8) 14-Jason Meyers
9) 5W-Lucas Wolfe
10) 8K-Chad Kemenah
A-main (35 laps) - Starting Position [#]
1) 15-Donny Schatz [$10,000]
2) 55-Kerry Madsen [$5,500]
3) 20-Kraig Kinser [$3,200]
4) R19-Jac Haudenschild [$2,800]
5) 8K-Chad Kemenah [$2,500]
6) 24-Terry McCarl [$2,300]
7) 9-Joey Saldana [$2,200]
8) 11-Steve Kinser [$2,100]
9) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [$2,050]
10) 7S-Jason Sides [$2,000]
11) 23W-Scott Winters [$1,500]
12) 14-Jason Meyers [$1,200]
13) 5W-Lucas Wolfe [$1,100]
14) 7K-Justin Zimmerman [$1,050]
15) 5C-Chad Hillier [$1,000]
16) D1-Barry Lamb [$900]
17) 18-Don Droud Jr. [$800]
18) 21-Daryn Pittman [$800]
19) 6-Paul McMahan [$800]
20) 92J-JR Topper [$800]
21) 1-Jason Martin [$800]
22) 3-Cody Forshee [$800]
23) 1K-Kim Kennedy [$800]
24) 2-Craig Dollansky [$800]
25) 71-Robert Bell [$800]
Lap Leaders: Kerry Madsen 1-25, Donny Schatz 26-35
Chicken Hawk Hot Lap Award: Kerry Madsen
Penske Power Position Award: Kraig Kinser
SuperClean Start of the Night Award: Kraig Kinser
KSE Hard Charger Award: Scott Winters