World of Outlaws–Shane Stewart Crowned at Wild 32nd Annual Kings Royal

Shane Stewart Crowned at Wild 32nd Annual Kings Royal
Sweeps the Kings Royal weekend at Eldora Speedway
ROSSBURG, Ohio – July 18, 2015 – Neither rain nor Donny Schatz could keep Shane Stewart down on Saturday night as the Larson Marks Racing driver scored the biggest win of his career and was crowned ‘King Shane’ in a Kings Royal no one will soon forget.

“This is an awesome, awesome weekend,” Stewart said in victory lane. “I don’t even know what to say, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”

Mother Nature wreaked havoc early on as the skies opened up on Eldora Speedway just after the first Heat race of the night got underway. The rain persisted off and on for the next two hours and with track work, pushed the rain delay past four hours. By the time the track was back in racing condition, it was just past 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

Nearly three hours later and in front of packed house at Eldora, the green flag fell on the 40-lap Kings Royal feature with Tim Shaffer and Donny Schatz on the front row. Schatz dominated through the opening laps as Stewart charged through the field from a 14th place starting position.

By lap 17, Stewart had pulled his No. 2 Eneos/GoPro car in to fourth and began running down Jason Johnson for third position. The two traded the spot for the next several laps as Christopher Bell in second tried to make up ground on Schatz. Through several cautions and a battle with Bell, Stewart was in sight of his first ever Kings Royal win.

With just four laps to go and Stewart in second, Schatz’s No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies car sputtered and began to lose power, apparently nearly out of fuel. Stewart took the lead as the two exited turn two. Schatz tried to limp his car around the track but Brent Marks made contact with him and that brought out the final caution of the night.

On the restart, Stewart jumped out to a comfortable lead with Johnson in second and Daryn Pittman in third. Rico Abreu, who started 10th, battled past Pittman as the two dove into turn three.

Ultimately, Stewart claimed his first ever Kings Royal title, just after 4:30 a.m., and sixth World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory of the season. He is the eighth different driver in the last eight seasons to win the $50,000 Kings Royal prize. Stewart also completed a weekend sweep at Eldora Speedway after winning the Knight Before the Kings Royal on Friday night.

“I don’t know what to say,” Stewart said. “I just can’t thank my guys enough. They gave me a great, great racecar all weekend long and I actually thought I had a legitimate shot at Donny there. I knew everyone had to be getting close on fuel. I don’t know what to say!”

“This is definitely the biggest win of my career. I actually told myself coming into the weekend that this is definitely the best shot I’ve ever had at winning a big race. I can’t thank these race fans enough for sticking around. By god, this is a late night and I’m going to celebrate.”

Susie Barga, the sister of the late Eldora Speedway founder Earl Baltes, served as the Royal Sovereign and crowned Stewart in victory lane following the feature.

Just weeks after returning from injury, Jason Johnson has been proving that adversity will not keep him or his No. 41 Priority Aviation team down. His second place finish was his second podium finish since July 1.

“Three months ago, to be able to get back in a racecar was going to be a privilege,” Johnson said. “To come back and already be on the podium in a couple of weeks, it feels really good.”

Abreu, who charged forward throughout the night added to an already stellar year that has included two World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victories and success in other racing series. He was all compliments to the fans and facility.

“I just want to thank every one of these fans tonight,” Abreu said. “You all could have headed home after it started raining and this place was still packed here. I don’t know what time it is, but this is pretty damn impressive… definitely my favorite race track to come to every year.”

Jac Haudenschild took home the night’s KSE Racing Hard Charger Award, advancing 16 positions to finish in eighth.