Schatz Magical in Front of Hometown Fans at Nodak Speedway
The Minot native records his fourth win in the last seven Outlaws points events
MINOT, N.D. – Aug. 19, 2012 – After arguably the loudest cheer he has heard all season, Donny Schatz had a rare – and brief – emotional moment in Victory Lane on Sunday.
In front of a packed facility in the town where he grew up, Schatz picked up his first career World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory in the Magic City Showdown Presented by Gerdau, Sleep Inn & Suites, Minot Visitors Bureau and Magic City Implement at Nodak Speedway.
“This is where it all started for me,” he said. “This is where I made my first laps in a car and my family is from. To be here a few times and come close to winning, tonight we get to taste that victory. It’s as special as the Knoxville Nationals. To hear the crowds’ reaction and to get that trophy in front of that grandstands means everything to me.”
It continued a hot streak during the past seven points races when Schatz has amassed four wins, six podiums, seven top-five finishes and an average finish of 2.0 to close within 20 points of championship points leader Craig Dollansky.
Dollansky has been just as consistent with 10 consecutive top 10s, including five podiums and nine finishes in the top five.
The duo were the class of the field for the 35-lap feature, which they started on the front row. Dollansky, who began on the pole, led the first lap before Schatz slid him in turn two for the lead on the second lap.
“We raced hard from the get-go,” Schatz said. “I was gonna either win it or wear it. Winning it sounds like it’s a lot better option.”
They entered traffic on lap five before the first of three red flags thwarted the first half of the race. On lap seven, Bill Rose spun in turn one and Lou Kennedy slid into him, which tipped Kennedy onto his side.
Schatz broke away with Dollansky in pursuit on the restart as traffic entered the picture on lap 11. Schatz maintained the lead, but Dollansky stayed within a couple of car lengths until Cody Darrah had a wild flip on the frontstretch on lap 18.
The red flag was waved after Darrah, who was in a battle for a top 10 after starting 17th, collided with the wall near the flag stand. It sent him into the catch fence and a series of violent flips, which delayed the race for nearly a half hour as repairs had to be made to the fence.
On the restart, Steve Kinser collided with Jason Sides as they battled for third place entering turn three. Kinser got into the left front tire of Sides, who flipped off the track to bring out the third-and-final red flag.
Schatz continued to get clean restarts and while the second half of the race didn’t have a caution, traffic nearly played a role. Schatz held a sizeable lead until thick traffic, including cars racing side by side, slowed him on a couple of occasions in the final five laps.
Dollansky cut into the lead and closed to within two car lengths in the final two laps, but Schatz was able to maneuver through the slower cars as he became the seventh different winner in as many World of Outlaws events at the track.
“We were better in the longer runs,” said Dollansky, who won at Nodak Speedway in 2010. “The longer the race went, we were getting better as it was going. It was a good race. It was a fast track. We just came up one spot short.”
Stevie Smith, who challenged Dollansky for second place with approximately 10 laps remaining, held off Kinser for the final spot on the podium.
“At one point I kinda got with Dollansky and it just didn’t balance out in lapped traffic too well,” Smith said. “Just kinda circumstances there how I entered into lapped cars. Dollansky bottled up in front of me and got a little room going, so it was just a racing deal.”
Sammy Swindell finished fifth. Jac Haudenschild earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after piloting from 13th to sixth, Kerry Madsen was seventh, Mark Dobmeier ended eighth, Kraig Kinser placed ninth and Joey Saldana rounded out the top 10.