Wednesday February 7, 2018 From 12th to 1st, Fargo, Donny Schatz led the last nine laps of the non-stop 30-lapper to take the checkers and the $5,000 prize 1.079 seconds ahead of Kasey Kahne Racing's Brad Sweet and CJB Motorsports’ David Gravel, during the opening night of the sprint car segment of the 47th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville Florida.
Very quickly, Schatz moved into a top-five by lap nine, challenging Chad Kemenah, and Brad Sweet for 1st. By lap 13 he was in second, then setting his sights on race leader, Brad Sweet, who by this time led all but one lap during the first 21 laps of the 30-lap program. By lap 22 Schatz moved into 1st by driving underneath Sweet at the beginning of turn one and then a drag race down the backstretch and into the entrance of turn three.
“I don’t know that we got as close as it looked,” Schatz explained. “It may have looked close to the fans, but Brad and I had a few city blocks between us. The track locked down and I didn’t really expect it to lock down that quick. If I would have been in a different position when it did lock down, I would have been in trouble. I was really struggling at the end. It’s just the way some days are. The dynamics of the dirt are always changing.”
“When the track gets rubber like that, when you get caught one lane out it feels like ice, but if you are in the groove then it feels like there are spikes in your tires. Unfortunately, I slipped out of the groove and it cost us,” Brad Sweet explained. “We got better and better and better every time we hit the track tonight. This is a new team with a new crew chief. We were searching around a little bit trying to find the perfect balance for this Napa Auto Parts, No. 49 car.”
The Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 will end their 2018 Florida takeover with a final day at Volusia Speedway Park on February 8, ending two-day All Star segment of the five-day sprint car stretch of the 47th Annual DIRTcar Nationals.
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