The Breakdown: World of Outlaws at Red River Valley Speedway
By: Tony Veneziano
WEST FARGO, ND — June 12, 2017 — The Gerdau Recycling Duel in the Dakotas was a longtime fixture on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series schedule. The event returns on Saturday, June 17, marking the first time since 2012 that the series has visited the track in West Fargo, North Dakota. Leading the way will be eight-time and reigning series champion Donny Schatz who now calls Fargo home. This edition of The Breakdown sets the stage for the 2017 edition of the Gerdau Recycling Duel in the Dakotas for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at Red River Valley Speedway.
Red River Valley Speedway is a high-banked, three-eighths-mile that was formerly a half-mile. The track record of 12.566-seconds was established by Joey Saldana on June 17, 2012 on the new configuration of the track.
Donny Schatz is the winningest active full-time World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series driver at Red River Valley Speedway with four victories. Schatz, who raced with the Outlaws for the first time at the track in 1993 as a teenager, won for the first time at Red River Valley Speedway in 2002. He followed that up with a preliminary feature win in 2003 and swept both nights of the Duel in the Dakotas in 2006, the season he won his first World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series championship.
Daryn Pittman, the 2013 series titlist, won at Red River Valley Speedway in 2008, while Joey Saldana won at the track in 2004.
Steve Kinser, the 20-time series champion, leads all drivers with 16 overall wins at Red River Valley Speedway. Kinser won nine A-Feature events and seven preliminary features. Fellow Hall of Famer Sammy Swindell, who won the most recent Outlaws race at the track in 2012, is next on the list with 14 totals wins, split evenly between A-Features and preliminary features.
Former series champions Jason Meyers and Danny Lasoski were both victorious at Red River Valley Speedway, when it was a half-mile.
Doug Wolfgang is also a past winner with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at Red River Valley Speedway, along with Jac Haudenschild, Stevie Smith, Johnny Herrera, Jeff Swindell and Craig Dollansky.
Donny Schatz is the current point leader with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series and leads the series with 10 A-Feature wins thus far in 2017. David Gravel and Brad Sweet are currently tied second, with Daryn Pittman fourth and Shane Stewart fifth. Jason Johnson is currently sixth in points, with rookie Sheldon Haudenschild seventh, Logan Schuchart eighth, Joey Saldana ninth and Jason Sides 10th.
Also on the road this season are veteran drivers Paul McMahan, Kraig Kinser and Greg Wilson, along with youngsters Jacob Allen, Clyde Knipp and rookie Brent Marks.
Donny Schatz will also compete in his late model with the Northern Late Model Racing Association (NLRA) at Red River Valley Speedway, as well as the night before at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks. Schatz swept both the World of Outlaws and NLRA races at River Cities in August of 2013. Schatz raced his late model last week in Winnipeg, picking up a top-10 finish.
Plenty of starts
Jason Sides, Paul McMahan and Shane Stewart have each raced nearly 20 times at Red River Valley Speedway in their respective careers. McMahan has seven top-10 finishes at the track, while Sides has six and Stewart five. Sides leads the trio with a best finish of second in 2007.
Greg Wilson, the defending Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award winner, made a pair of starts at Red River Valley Speedway in 2006, finishing 15th in each of those races.
On the podium
Brad Sweet and David Gravel both raced at Red River Valley Speedway in 2011 with the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions. Sweet finished second in that event to Donny Schatz, while Gravel finished third. Shane Stewart also competed in that race. Gravel has made a total of four starts with the All Stars at the track and has four top-10 finishes.
Jason Johnson, Logan Schuchart, Jacob Allen, Clyde Knipp and Brent Marks will all be making their first visit to Red River Valley Speedway.