World of Outlaws–Shane Stewart Gets His Knight’s Tale at Eldora Speedway

Shane Stewart Gets His Knight’s Tale at Eldora Speedway
Dominates the Knight Before the Kings Royal to score fifth World of Outlaws victory of the season
ROSSBURG, Ohio – July 17, 2015 – In spite a qualifying draw that sent him out last, there was little doubt Shane Stewart was the driver to beat at Friday night’s Knight Before the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway.

After qualifying third, Stewart won the Dash and started on the feature pole. Through two attempts to get the race started, Stewart built healthy leads on his nearest competitor. Sammy Swindell worked to catch the Larson Marks Racing driver as they fought their way through traffic but was never able to get much closer than a couple of car lengths.

In his mirror, a familiar foe emerged for Stewart – Donny Schatz. The two drivers, who have found themselves often battling in the first and second positions as the season has worn on, were poised to do it again Friday night.

On a restart on lap eight, Schatz threw a Hail Mary and drove his No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies car high against the wall in turns one and two. The daring move gave him two positions and moved him into the fourth spot. He battled past Daryn Pittman, then in third on lap 17 and then set his sights on Swindell who he caught and passed six laps later.

With just six laps remaining when the final caution of the night fell, Swindell tried to fight his way back around Schatz but wasn’t able to make it happen. He eventually lost the third spot to Pittman.

Schatz tried to close the gap on Stewart’s No. 2 Eneos/GoPro car in the closing laps but win number 21 was not to be tonight.

“I’m just really happy to be on the receiving end of having the (No. 15 of Donny Schatz) behind me instead of me being behind the 15, because it’s been that way all year,” Stewart said in victory lane. “Anytime (Donny Schatz) lines up close to you, you know you’ve got to be on your ‘A’ game.”

“It’s obviously great to win the Knight Before the Kings Royal. All these great fans here. You don’t see these big crowds unless you go to the Knoxville Nationals and it’s a testament to all the true fans we have that follow the sport.”

Tonight’s win was the fifth World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory of the season for Stewart, the 2005 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. He is second to Schatz in both championship points and in total wins.

For the Fargo, N.D. native and six time series champion, the night did not turn out like he had hoped.

“We did everything we could,” Schatz said. “This Bad Boy Buggies team did a phenomenal job and they gave me a great car – still have a little improvement for tomorrow. It felt really good in the top, bottom, middle – we’ve just got to be a little bit better.”

Despite struggles that have plagued the No. 9 Great Clips team this season, third place finisher Daryn Pittman has seen his fortunes on the rise of late with several podium and top-five finishes. The 2013 series champion credited his team for long hours and determination to make things better.

“A win is obviously what you’re shooting for,” Pittman said. “But for us to feel like we were as fast as we were all night long, stay in the hunt and be right there with (Shane Stewart and Donny Schatz) is better than we have been and makes us excited to come back here tomorrow.”

As the series prepares for another night of racing at historic Eldora Speedway on Saturday and of course, the coveted $50,000-to-win Kings Royal title, tonight’s winner Stewart said he feels good about the momentum for his team.

“Hopefully this was a good omen for tomorrow.”