Schatz Gets No. 15 On Home Turf
MINOT, N.D. — Joey Saldana and Donny Schatz fought a pitched battle through much of the feature Sunday night at the Gerdau Magic City Showdown at Nodak Speedway presented by Schatz Crossroads Truckstop, but it was Schatz who came out on top, scoring his 15th World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series victory of the season.
Schatz, a North Dakota native, said it meant a lot to him to get a win in front of a hometown crowd.
“It’s great. Nothing feels better than that,” Schatz said. “Thank you everybody here for 20 years of great support. What a race. These guys are unbelievable. Slick, sticky, cushion, no cushion, they got one hell of a racecar. It’s a pleasure to drive it. It’s fun to be here.”
Schatz started the feature in third and quickly took over the second spot after the green flag flew. For the next 25 laps Schatz adapted to a changing racetrack, attempting different lines and making more than one abortive attempt to get around Saldana.
“(Saldana) was on the top and he got underneath us and he seen us and he started moving down,” Schatz said.
On lap 26, Schatz, who had been driving on the bottom of turns three and four moved to the top line. As the two drivers exited turn four, side-by-side, Schatz took the lead from Saldana and kept it through the remaining nine laps.
“You’ve just got to go where they’re not,” Schatz said. “Sometimes you’re at a disadvantage leading these races when the track starts to change. The rain definitely changed the racing surface. I didn’t expect it to be that quick. I thought it would blow off a lot quicker than it did. It stayed really good, you just had to get up and pound the cushion and do the best we could.”