Schatz held his pole start for 30 laps.
It has been 11 years and a lot has changed since Donny Schatz has raced at 81 Speedway, But one thing that didn’t change was the end result as Donny Schatz won for the 2nd straight time at the three-eights-mile as the Outlaws returned to 81 Speedway for the Kansas Outlaw Klassic brought to you by Great Clips, Murphy Tractor and the City of Park City, Kansas.
I will repeat that, this is Schatz’s 2nd in a row win at 81 Speedway. His wife and crew, have family members from the area, that are involved with the operations at 81 Speedway so his sweeping performance had extra meaning for them.
Donny Schatz said, “This is like a hometown win for Rick and Danele Warner, Rick has been with me a long time and we have won a lot of races together. The last time we were here, we won and were fortunate to get here again tonight. It was a great crowd tonight and it’s great to see all of the enthusiasm here. It’s incredible to be standing here in front of them winning.”
Starting on the pole wasn’t without challenges, he had a very close call, when a pair of lapped cars got together right in front of him on the 18th lap. Even tho there was some damage to his race car, the North Dakota native was able to go flag-to-flag in the lead
Schatz also said, “The No. 4 car stopped and I got into him there, I thought I was going over and when I got away from him I could steer, but I knew something was bent in the front. It obviously bent the front axle, but it didn’t really hurt me much. It might have actually helped me.”
In the only restart of the race, Schatz took the low side of the three-eighths-mile track, with Jason Johnson beside him on the high side Schatz was quickly back in front as Johnson, David Gravel and Daryn Pittman battled for second.
Schatz also said, “We just had the car rolling and are trying a lot of funky things right now and there are a lot of weird pieces on this race car, but we are learning, Sometimes you pay the price and April was that time, so May is going a lot better.”
Pittman past David Gravel in the last lap to earn his 2nd consecutive runner-up finish. as he continues to look for his 1st win of the season in his Great Clips, No. 9 car for the Kasey Kahne Racing team. Pittman started 2nd and wound up 2nd but he did not kept pace with Schatz the whole race.
Pittman said, “We are bringing better race cars to the track, Eric Prutzman is making great changes as the night goes on. Getting in the dash has been huge with the extra track time. Most of the headway we have made with our race cars the last two nights has been in the dash. That’s really been key. When the car is faster, it’s a lot more fun to drive. We had to fight hard for that one, We fell back to 4th and got by Jason Johnson after the yellow. David Gravel got caught up by a few lapped cars and we were able to get back by him coming to the checkers. It was a good finish and a good weekend for us.”
Gravel picked up his 13th top-five finish of this season, with his third-place finish here at 81 Speedway. Gravel got behind the leader Schatz late in the race however keeping up with Schatz and getting by some slower lapped cars proved to difficult for The Connecticut native.
Gravel said, “Lapped cars were pretty tough, they were running pretty high and made it pretty difficult, It was hard to tell where they were going to go. Daryn Pittman got by me, but I think we had a second-place car. I just wish we could have qualified a little better to get in the dash and get another shot at the race track. If we had started on the front two rows, I think we could have gotten the win. We’ll take our podium and move on to the next race.”
Jason Johnson wound up 4th and Brad Sweet was 5th. Shane Stewart started 16th and finished 6th. Logan Schuchart fell into 7th, Aaron Reutzel made 8th, Jason Sides took 9th and the rookie Brent Marks found 10th.
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series returns to action at the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio on Fri., May 12 and Sat., May 13.