World of Outlaws–Late Race Pass Gives Donny Schatz Win at River Cities Speedway

Late Race Pass Gives Donny Schatz Win at River Cities Speedway
The Win is the 24th World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory of the season for Schatz
GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Aug. 21, 2015 – With a late race pass of Paul McMahan at Friday night’s Second Leg of the Northern Tour at River Cities Speedway, Donny Schatz picked up his 24th World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory of the season.

With the hard fought win, Schatz also scored the sweep of series events at the track in 2015. He stood in victory lane when the Outlaws were in Grand Forks on June 19.

“These three guys working on the racecar, they are the ones you should be talking to,” Schatz said. “They’re just incredible. (Driving the late model tonight) kind of threw me off a little because I didn’t get a lot of time to talk to them in between races. They made great calls to try to make things better for me. We finally got our racecar back to where it’s better late in the race and they’ve worked hard to make that happen.”

Schatz picked up quick time to start the night in his No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance car with a lap of 10.398.

McMahan battled past Schatz in the night’s Dash and took the top starting spot in the 40-lap feature. When the green flag fell, Schatz tried hard to get around McMahan but the CJB Motorsports driver held the position.

Through several cautions in the early going, a bunched up field and restarts provided opportunities for several drivers not least of which was Schatz and Mark Dobmeier, the winningest driver in River Cities’ history.

Joey Saldana had taken over the second position from Schatz in his No. 71m Motter Equipment car on an early restart. When the field came to green following a caution on lap 17, the second, third and fourth place running cars of Saldana, Schatz and Dobmeier bunched up and set up a three-way battle for position. Schatz and Saldana battled side-by-side on the restart and through the succeeding lap. Advantage to Schatz as Dobmeier rode the cushion at the top around Saldana.

“We had a really good car and I gave it away on that restart there,” Saldana said. “I don’t know what I was thinking. Running the bottom and no, I’m going to try sliding to the top. That was a total mistake on my part.”

As McMahan worked his way through lapped traffic, Schatz closed on the leader. McMahan beat Schatz down the front into turns one and two but Schatz ran down McMahan in turn three, lap after lap, McMahan blocked the line and held Schatz off.

The final stoppage of the night occurred on lap 27 as Jason Sides, Dusty Zomer, Austen Wheatley and Mitch Mack were caught up in a crash on the exit of turn four. All drivers were OK.

On the restart a new face emerged. Jason Johnson, who started the feature in 16th had steadily worked his way to sixth and when green flag again flew, Johnson moved from that position to third in one lap.

The pitched battle for the lead once again returned as McMahan worked to hold off Schatz. Lap after lap, with Schatz on the bottom of turns one and two and McMahan on the top, McMahan held off the No. 15. One bobble though was all it took for Schatz to get around McMahan off of turn two. As Saldana fought back in to the top three for his position, Schatz did not look back in the final eight laps.

For Saldana, the third place finish was a solid run for his team but a missed opportunity.

“I had to work my way back up there and had a shot at second and just didn’t run a smart race the whole 40 laps,” Saldana said. “But it was definitely a good solid effort by the whole team. Anytime you can be on the front straightaway after a World of Outlaws race, you’ve accomplished something.”

McMahan, who finished second to Schatz after leading the first 32 laps of the feature, said his team has been making strides to get better after a rough middle part of the season. Ultimately though, he said every Outlaws team is chasing Schatz.

“I thought I had a shot tonight,” McMahan said. “You always have a shot on the front row. You just always know that that 15 car is up there chasing you down. We started to get a little free. We took a big rock to the wing and knocked the right front corner in on it a little bit. No excuses. We just flat got beat, got outdriven tonight.”