SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. — official series release — Donny Schatz Motorsports photo —
Donny Schatz battled late and won a rain postponed inaugural Marthaler Chevrolet of Glenwood presents the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at Granite City Speedway in front of a near capacity crowd Wednesday night.
Schatz hung around fourth place most of the night and as the feature wound down, battled forward, passing the then leader Shane Stewart with three laps to go as they worked their way through lapped traffic. It was the third straight win and 14th World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory of the season for Schatz and his Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing team.
“I can’t say enough about this Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet team,” Schatz said. “They are the ones who should be standing here. The adjustments they make, the things that they see with this racecar, it’s just an unbelievable machine to drive. That was fun. That was an absolute riot.”
Schatz started the feature in fourth with Danny Lasoski, Logan Schuchart and Shane Stewart starting ahead of him. Lasoski led through much of the feature as he worked his way through lapped traffic and held off Schuchart and Stewart. On a lap 13 restart, Joey Saldana got around Schatz pushing the 15 back to the fifth position.
“I lost a spot late in the race on a restart and I didn’t really panic, but the race track started to move up and the bottom started to get a little slicker and I thought maybe we were going to have a hard time getting through there,” Schatz said. “Once we got to traffic, I went wherever I had to. The racecar kind of came to me a little bit.”
Lasoski, still leading, hit that traffic on lap 18. Saldana battled around the 1S of Schuchart for third and Schatz got by the Shark Racing driver on lap 19 to take over fourth. As the field continued to work its way through traffic, Schatz closed on Saldana. On lap 21, as the two worked their way through turns three and four, Schatz got side-by-side with the ‘Brownsburg Bullet.’ As they exited the turn, Schatz drag raced him back to the line and tried to make a move on second place Stewart. A lapped car held him up.
Stewart found breathing room from Schatz in the next couple of laps and as Lasoski’s car continued to loosen up, Stewart closed on the leader. They battled through lap 26 and as they went around to complete lap 27, Stewart got around the No. 2L GoMuddy.com car on the bottom of turns 3 and 4. Stewart led lap 27.
Schatz was on the move. He got around Lasoski on lap 28 and then as he exited turn four on to the front straight, Stewart got caught up by a lapped car on the high side and Schatz made his move.
“The racecar kind of came to me a little bit,” Schatz said. “To come under ‘The Dude’ and go into three and pass Shane coming out of four was really good. It’s a tribute to this whole team and how hard they work.”
Schatz parked his car in victory lane – the first ever Outlaws winner at the Sauk Rapids, Minnesota track.
“I don’t know how much you can ask for, you’ve got to have lap traffic to be able to get yourself in these positions,” Schatz said of the traffic that played into much of the 30-lap feature. “Everybody’s cars are so good. Everybody is so equal, you just have to be able to move around on the racetrack when positions put you there. Hats off to these guys for getting this race in tonight. A little bit of bad weather last night but we’re here tonight and celebrating a victory.”
A frustrated Stewart was complimentary of his team but lamented the familiar story for his Larson Marks Racing team this season of finishing second to Schatz.
“Man, I tell you what, my guys gave me a really good racecar and I felt like that was our race, we were going to win and gosh darnit, got held up a little bit behind some lap cars,” Stewart said. “And here goes the 15 right through the middle. It’s been the story all year. I can’t thank these guys who work hard on this racecar enough. We try things on the racecar from time to time to try to get a little better. Trust me, I throw some crazy ideas out to these guys and they don’t gripe about it, they just sometimes shake their head. But the cool thing about it is that we do try it and we are learning.”
Lasoski, who has one win on the season and six top-five runs, closed out the night at Granite City on the podium in the third position.
“I was getting looser and looser,” Lasoski said. “There was nothing I could do. I was committed to the top and just got beat by two good guys and that’s all we can say.”
CREDIT: World of Outlaws