ELMA, Wash. — official release — Lisa Dynes photo — After winning Monday night’s Lucky Eagle Casino Outlaw Invasion at Grays Harbor Raceway, Donny Schatz has entered territory few other World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series drivers before him have ever been in.
With his 20th win this season now in the books, the Tony Stewart Racing driver is the first since Steve Kinser’s 2002 and 2003 seasons to have consecutive 20-win seasons and his six race win streak moves Schatz closer to legendary seasons had by three-time champion Sammy Swindell and Kinser.
“Well, it feels great,” Schatz said. “It’s kind of overwhelming really. You come here every day wanting to win. The reality of it is most days you’re not going to. It’s been a great year. It’s not over yet. We’ve got a lot of races left and we’ll just keep working hard.”
“There’s no way you could ever dream of being in this position but I’m here. I’m living it – I’m loving it.”
Kinser led the field to the green on the 3/10 mile oval after winning his heat and the dash. The 20-time champion built up a healthy lead as Schatz battled with Cody Darrah for the second position.
With lapped traffic in play, Schatz found his way around Darrah on lap nine and then he drove his STP / Armor All car around Kinser on the same lap as the two came out of turn four.
Darrah then set his sights on Kinser’s Bad Boy Buggies car in the second position. After working on Kinser for several laps, Darrah took the second spot back over on lap 17. The move however was short lived as the caution flag flew on lap 22.
When the field returned to green, Kinser jumped past Darrah as Darrah slipped back giving up several positions.
“We entered one in fifth or sixth and I think I might have gotten one or two cars there and then in three and four I just gave it all I could give,” said Darrah, driver of the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet car. “Doing that I stuck my right rear and I realized the way I was driving before, trying to lift and moving my car around and trying to get lift – I kind of did that out of desperation but I learned a lot about how we were working on our car.”
As the field completed lap 23, Schatz led Kinser in second and Darrah in third. With the laps winding down, Darrah slid Kinser, taking over the second spot just before the checkered flag flew.
Kinser, who finished third after leading the first nine laps of the race, said he was disappointed he did not bring home the win, but he was happy with a podium finish.
“It’s better than what it has been,” Kinser said. “I got a little loose but stayed in the hunt. A little better, we might have gone the right way.”
Darrah said he felt like his Kasey Kahne Racing car had something for Schatz but he said he was up on his wheels and put himself in a bad position.
“It’s nice to come out of here with a second place,” Darrah said. “I really feel like we’re working toward beating this 15 but he’s in his own league right now.”
Schatz again credited his team and crew chief Ricky Warner for all the work they do providing him with a racecar capable of winning night in and night out.
“It was fun. I had a great racecar,” Schatz said. “These guys just keep making the right decisions and every time you get in it, it’s definitely the most fun car to drive right now. Hats off to them, they’re working their tails off and it shows.”
Schatz now leads second place Daryn Pittman by 219 points in the race for the championship. Third place Paul McMahan is 282 points out of the lead.
The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series heads south to Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Ore. on Tuesday and Southern Oregon Speedway in Medford, Ore. on Wednesday before heading to California for a three race swing.
World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Grays Harbor Raceway; Elma, Wash.; Sept. 1, 2014
A-Main – (30 Laps) – 1. 15-Donny Schatz  [$6,000]; 2. 4-Cody Darrah  [$3,500]; 3. 11-Steve Kinser  [$2,000]; 4. 9-Daryn Pittman  [$1,800]; 5. 2-Shane Stewart  [$1,500]; 6. 1s-Logan Schuchart  [$1,400]; 7. 29-Kerry Madsen  [$1,350]; 8. 33V-Henry VanDam  [$1,300]; 9. 71M-Joey Saldana  [$1,250]; 10. 11K-Kraig Kinser  [$1,200]; 11. 51-Paul McMahan  [$900]; 12. 3C-Jonathan Allard  [$800]; 13. 83-David Gravel  [$700]; 14. 44W-Austen Wheatley  [$650]; 15. 18-Jason Solwold  [$600]; 16. 49-Brad Sweet  [$550]; 17. 57-Reece Goetz  [$500]; 18. 7S-Jason Sides  [$500]; 19. 98-Matt Jensen  [$500]; 20. 2J-Jonathan Jorgenson  [$500]; 21. 4J-Allison Journey  [$500]; 22. 22-Mike Romig  [$500]; 23. 7-Kevin Smith  [$500]; 24. 1A-Jacob Allen  [$500].
Lap Leaders:Steve Kinser 1-9, Donny Schatz 10-30.
KSE Hard Charger Award: 3C-Jonathan Allard [+7]
Qualifying – 1. 9-Daryn Pittman, 11.973