Backup Car Is Good Enough For Schatz
EDMONTON, Alberta — Donny Schatz continued a streak of 14 consecutive World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series podium finishes on Saturday night when he took a backup car to victory lane in the Oil City Cup finale at Castrol Raceway.
Schatz, who crashed hard during a hot-lap session at the beginning of the night, was forced to race a backup car, which he qualified in a position that put him on the front row of a heat race and the perfect position for the dash inversion that helped him secure a front row starting spot for the 30-lap A-main alongside Friday night’s winner Kerry Madsen.
For the second night in a row, Madsen started from the pole and led the most laps, but Schatz was relentless in his pursuit of the Aussie, often going wheel-to-wheel before finally making a pass for the lead on lap 24 only to have Brad Sweet charge past Madsen then Schatz to lead lap 28 before Schatz went back to the front for the final two laps and his 17th victory of the season and the 141st win of his career.
Sweet came back at Schatz again but settled for second with Madsen in third. Joey Saldana was an early contender but finished fourth as championship points leader Daryn Pittman rounded out the top five and now has a 24-point lead in the standings over Schatz.
Coming to green in the A-main, Saldana’s Motter Equipment GF1 got a great start to get around Schatz for second place, but a red for Marc Duperron in turn four required a full restart. Saldana repeated the move while Madsen again darted to the lead from the bottom of the track. Schatz took the position back on a lap four restart and immediately set his sights on Madsen.
Behind the lead, the battle for third heated up as Saldana and Cody Darrah ran side-by-side for several laps with Saldana on the bottom and Darrah riding the rim of the three-eighths-mile track. On lap 13 the battle for the lead was heating up as Madsen and Schatz had to navigate lapped traffic. On lap 18 Schatz had completed the pass in turns one and two and led down the back tretch.
Madsen dove to the middle of the track and got the drive off of the bottom coming to the line and crossed it back in front. The pair was deadlocked for another five laps with Darrah slowly reeling them in. Darrah was finally in contention for the battle when caution flew on lap 23.
On the restart Schatz, drove through middle of one and two and made the pass stick, this time for good on Madsen. Sweet got the high side working after the restart and moved up from fourth around Darrah and Saldana.