The remarkable results for Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and the TSR Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team continued north of the border this weekend during the ninth annual Oil City Cup at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta. Schatz, the six-time and reigning World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series champion, displayed both patience and perseverance in winning Friday’s 30-lap A-Feature and charging from the back of the pack to finish second in Saturday’s 30-lap A-Feature. The finishes increased his streak of finishes inside the top-three in WoO points races to 25.
“Tony Stewart has surrounded me with an incredible team,” Schatz after accepting the Oil City Cup trophy Saturday night. “We had a good weekend, but we were shooting for a great weekend. The Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance guys did a great job of getting this car better and better. We were able to get the win Friday night, but I felt like we had some work to do. They got the car better tonight, but we had a little problem during the red (flag) and had to come back through the field. Rick Warner, Steve Swenson, and Eric Prutzman did a phenomenal job to get me back going. I just wish we would have had a better shot or a few more laps there at the end.”
Schatz led the Outlaws back to Alberta on a two-race winning streak in 2015 and as winner of the previous three WoO A-Features at Castrol. Things got off to a good start with Schatz timing in second in the field of 26 cars. Following a third-place finish in the second heat and placing fifth in the dash, he started the 30-lap A-Feature inside of row three. The Fargo, North Dakota racer quickly moved into third before biding his time while leaders Shane Stewart and Joey Saldana battled for the top spot. During the middle stages of the race, he changed his lines and kept searching for the fastest way around the 3/8-mile dirt oval.
Everything came together on lap 24, when Stewart and Saldana were bottled up in heavy lapped traffic and Schatz motored past both to take the lead. Schatz made the most of the opportunity and led the final five laps to capture his fourth consecutive win at Castrol, 26th WoO A-Feature win of the season and 199th career WoO A-Feature triumph.
“I probably wasn’t as good as Shane or Joey, but we just kept running different grooves hoping they would make a mistake,” Schatz said. “I don’t know what happened. All I know is I came through there and no one was in front of me, anymore.”
The victory also moved Schatz to within one victory of the 200-win milestone. Only Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell have surpassed that mark in WoO history. It also tied his career-high win total of 26 that he set last season.
In Saturday’s Oil City Cup finale, Schatz was looking for a second consecutive WoO weekend sweep and he began the night by qualifying fifth overall. He finished third in the second heat and chased David Gravel for the win in the six-lap dash. Gravel got the early jump in the 30-lap A-Feature with Schatz again searching the track during the early portion of the race. He dropped to fourth following a lap-10 restart and disaster struck after a lap-15 red flag. When Schatz was trying to restart his No. 15 machine, the car would noy fire. He returned to the pit area, where his crew went to work. They found something lodged in the fuel shutoff and quickly got him back on the track. Instead of restarting fourth, Schatz was at the back of the 24-car field. He was on a charge when the race resumed and, within three laps, was back inside the top-10. With five laps remaining, he was back to fourth and had one final shot at victory when an accident between the second- and third-place runners stopped the race with two laps remaining. Schatz restarted second but wasn’t able to pull even with leader Daryn Pittman on the final lap. The second-place finish also continued an incredible streak of 163 races without a DNF (Did Not Finish) for Schatz.
With 21 races remaining in the 2015 WoO season, Schatz holds a 420-point advantage over Stewart and tops the series in wins with 26, top-fives with 48, and top-10s with 56.
The TSR team will return to action this weekend with the annual run through the northwest. First up is the two-night Monster Meltdown at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Washington. The Labor Day weekend concludes with Monday’s stop at Grays Harbor Raceway Park in Elma, Washington. Last season, Schatz swept the weekend, winning both races at Skagit and the Grays Harbor A-Feature.