Podium Finishes Cap Busy Week for Schatz

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The World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series continued its battle with the “Pennsylvania Posse” last weekend with stops at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown and Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg before concluding its busiest week of the season with Sunday’s annual stop at Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, New York. Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz opened the week with a victory Tuesday in the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania and concluded the six-night stretch that included five nights of racing with a pair of podium finishes driving the No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J. TSR’s Steve Kinser put the No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim on the front row twice during the four-race stretch but ran into some bad luck to derail his run for victory number two of the 2014 World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour.”

The action in central Pennsylvania Thursday started four consecutive nights of racing for the traveling Sprint car teams. It was the series’ second appearance at Lincoln this season and 39 cars were competing. Kinser turned the 15th-fastest lap and won the third heat race to grab a spot in the dash. The 20-time WoO champion finished second in the six-lap race to earn a front-row starting position in the 35-lap A-Feature. He was running in the top-five before contact with another competitor sent him up the racetrack and into the turn-four fence. A broken front end was the result and he wasn’t able to rejoin the field and finish the race. He was credited with a 22nd-place finish. Schatz was the final car to qualify and turned the 19th-best lap on a surface that had dried out over the duration of qualifying. He finished third in heat three to transfer to the A-Feature, where he was able to advance five positions and finish 14th. Daryn Pittman started next to Kinser and led every lap to earn his 10th victory of the season.

Friday was the opener of the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove. Kinser led the duo in qualifying by making the ninth-best lap in the 43-car field. He finished second in the opening heat and transferred into the 25-lap A-Feature. Schatz qualified 18th and finished fourth in heat two. Kinser started the main event 11th and jumped into the top-10 at the drop of the green flag. He held his spot for most of the race before finishing 11th. Schatz started 17th and methodically advanced his way up toward Kinser. After passing his TSR teammate, he climbed to ninth, but that was as far as he could advance. Pennsylvania Posse member Greg Hodnett grabbed the lead on lap 17 and led the rest of the way to score the win.

The $20,000-to-win Summer Nationals was up for grabs Saturday night. Schatz, a four-time Summer Nationals winner, started his night strong by qualifying fifth. He finished fourth in the opening heat and third in the dash before a rain shower delayed the program by more than three hours. Kinser qualified 21st and was forced to run the B-Feature. The 12-lap B-Feature was the first race after the rain delay and Kinser’s night ended early after he was involved in an opening-lap accident. Schatz started the 30-lap A-Feature in position three and worked his way into second 10 laps in. Lance Dewease paced the field and Schatz closed in as the two worked their way through lapped traffic. Just when Schatz was positioned to make a bid for the lead, Kraig Kinser’s motor went up in smoke and drenched turns three and four with oil. Schatz hit the oil and did a complete 360 but kept his machine going. The yellow flag for Kinser on lap 18 was the final stoppage and Schatz spent the rest of the race tracking Dewease. On lap 29, he made a bid for the lead coming out of turn four but couldn’t make the pass. Dewease held on to score the win with Schatz following him to the stripe.

The marathon week for the WoO teams concluded with Sunday’s annual stop at Lebanon Valley, a high-banked, half-mile dirt oval in eastern New York. Kinser qualified eighth and won the second heat to make the eight-car dash field. He battled David Gravel early in the six-lap dash but finished second and, for the second time in four nights, would start the A-Feature on the outside of the front row. Schatz qualified 10th and won the opening heat. He started eighth and finished sixth in the dash to earn the sixth starting spot in the 25-lap A-Feature. Kerry Madsen led the first five laps with Kinser running a strong second. Unfortunately for Kinser, an electrical problem caused him to stop in turn two on lap six. The Bad Boy Buggies crew changed the magneto box and Kinser returned to the field. Seven laps later, contact knocked Kinser on his side to bring out a red flag. Once again, he rejoined the field and raced his way back to finish seventh. Schatz climbed to third on the lap-six restart and kept his sights on Gravel and Madsen throughout the race. A caution on lap 18 removed any chance of the leaders having to deal with lapped traffic and Schatz followed the duo to the finish line seven laps later.

Three podium finishes in six starts last week helped Schatz maintain the top position in the WoO championship standings with 6,746 points, giving him a 65-point lead over Pittman. Schatz has eight wins, 34 top-fives and 47 top10s. Kinser has one victory in 2014 and ranks eighth with 6,710 markers, 746 behind Schatz.

The TSR teams will remain in New York for Wednesday’s race at Fulton Speedway before venturing north of the border for three nights of racing beginning Saturday at Autodrome Drummond in Drummondville, Quebec.

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