Donny Schatz Rebounds, Picks Up Second Win at DIRTcar Nationals

Donny Schatz Rebounds, Picks Up Second Win at DIRTcar Nationals
Brad Sweet continues his DCN roll with second place run
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 13, 2016 – One night after his first did-not-finish result since September 2013, Donny Schatz rebounded at DIRTcar Nationals as he battled with Brad Sweet on Saturday night to score his first World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series win of the 2016 season.

“It’s kind of a relief to be over that hill of having that DNF that’s been haunting us for I guess 180 races or whatever,” Schatz said. “Now we can just focus on trying to win races.”

The win is Schatz’s second of DIRTcar Nationals after he won the second All Star Circuit of Champions night.

Schatz started the night by being second quick in qualifying but it was Daryn Pittman who took the quick time for the second straight night.

Chad Kemenah led the field to the green flag in but Sweet quickly overpowered him, taking over the lead after a short battle on lap four.

As Sweet built a several second lead in front of the field, the fight was on for the second, third and fourth positions. Kemenah, in second had Pittman behind him and Schatz in fourth. The three drivers engaged in a multi-lap fight, with Pittman taking over second on lap 11.

With lapped traffic in play, Schatz got around Kemenah for third and then Pittman in second.

The caution flag flew for the first time on lap 16 and when the field returned to green, Schatz and Sweet raced wheel-to-wheel for the lead. With the inside advantage, Sweet held off Schatz. When the caution flag flew again five laps later, Sweet was not as lucky. As the two drivers worked to complete lap 22, Schatz entered the front straight off turn four and dove to the low side, cutting off the line for Sweet and propelling his No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance car to the lead.

“I beat him to the line. He stepped outside on me there,” Sweet said. “I knew he was going to be tough.”

The final restart proved pivotal for Dale Blaney, the reigning All Star Circuit of Champions champion. After running much of the night in the top-five, Blaney had Pittman in sight. He passed Pittman on lap 27 but lost the position the next time by. As the two drivers made the final circuit, Blaney battled past Pittman for the third position.

Schatz cruised to victory with Sweet in second.

“I’d be even better if we could win all of them,” Schatz said. “That’s what this team shoots for, that’s what they aim for, and that’s what they work hard for. We’re here tonight and that’s all that matters… Another good night, lots of people in the stands, glad to see everybody.”

Sweet, who won Friday night’s season opening World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series feature at Volusia Speedway Park, was disappointed with the finish but said he was pleased with his team’s performance.

“You know there’s a few things on our car that we can maybe get a little bit better and hopefully this is a sign for things to come throughout the season,” Sweet said. “It’s not bad losing to the best in the world. As long as we can keep giving him a run for his money you know we’ll win some of these.”

Blaney, who along with Schatz, Sweet and Greg Hodnett has been consistent throughout the five nights said he struggled early with the restarts but was able by the end of the night to get the run he needed to put his No. 1B car in position.

As the series heads into the final night of sprint week at DIRTcar Nationals, Greg Hodnett leads Schatz by one point in the championship standings. Blaney is in third, 12 points out of the lead and Sweet is in fourth, 32 points out of the lead. The winner will hoist the coveted ‘Big Gator’ on Sunday night.

Kerry Madsen was the night’s KSE Racing Hard Charger, advancing nine positions to finish in ninth.

The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series returns action Sunday night at DIRTcar Nationals for the final night of sprint week.