Tony Stewart Racing Tandem Consistent in North Carolina-Indiana Double
Friday, May 23, 2014
Monday, May 26, 2014
World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series
Friday – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (N.C.) Speedway
Monday – Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway
Friday – Joey Saldana of Motter Motorsports
Monday – Donny Schatz of Tony Stewart Racing
Friday –Schatz (Started 2nd, Finished 2nd)
Steve Kinser (Started 9th, Finished 7th)
Monday – Schatz (Started 4th, Finished 1st)
Kinser (Started 17th, Finished 6th)
Schatz (3rd with 4,383 points, 10 out of first)
Kinser (7th with 4,048 points, 345 out of first)
During what’s annually viewed as one of the biggest weekends in motorsports, Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz was looking to gain some momentum in his quest for a sixth World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series championship. A pair of single-night races bookended the holiday weekend with stops at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (N.C.) Speedway Friday and Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway Monday. The results were nearly a clean sweep for the five-time WoO champion as he drove the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J to a second-place finish Friday and his fourth victory of the season Monday.
TSR’s Steve Kinser continued the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour” with two more top-10 finishes. Kinser, who overcame heat race misfortune both Friday and Monday, raced the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim forward to finish seventh in Charlotte and sixth at Lawrenceburg.
The Dirt Track at Charlotte has been a personal stomping ground for Schatz over the past decade. The Fargo, North Dakota driver has been extremely successful circling the 4/10-mile clay oval. He set the pace early Friday by topping the qualifying charts and then racing from fourth to first in the opening heat. When the six pill was pulled for the dash inversion, his job became tougher, but the seven-time Charlotte WoO winner surged from sixth to second in the six-lap race. In the 30-lap A-Feature, Schatz stalked early leader Joey Saldana for the first seven circuits before taking the lead with a pass coming out of turn two on lap eight. Schatz crossed the start-finish line moments before a spinning car brought out a caution. Officials deemed only Schatz crossed the line, which resulted in the restart being based on the running order from the previous lap. Schatz made several runs at Saldana but wasn’t able to execute another move for the lead and finished second.
Kinser was one of the final cars in the 22-car field to make his qualifying pass and ended up 10th overall. “The King of the Outlaws” took advantage of starting from the pole position and raced away to a commanding lead. Halfway through the eight-lap race, his right-rear tire shredded. He rejoined the field, but sixth was the furthest he could climb. In the A-Feature, he started on the inside of row five, raced inside the top-10 throughout and ultimately finished seventh.
After traveling from North Carolina back to their respective shops in Indiana, both TSR teams were poised for better results Monday. Schatz retuned to Lawrenceburg as the most recent WoO winner at the 3/8-mile high-banked, dirt oval. He was again fast in qualifying and ended up second in the field of 36. He raced to third in heat two and fourth in the dash to set the stage for the 35-lap A-Feature. Schatz was able to get a solid start, but caution flags every couple of laps slowed his progress. After a red flag for a multicar accident, Schatz charged from fourth to second and then patiently worked on leader Sammy Swindell. A caution with 19 laps down slowed the action again, but Schatz was up to the task on the restart and made his move for the lead through the middle of turns one and two. He pulled away from Swindell and built a four-second lead before a final caution slowed the race on lap 32. Schatz pulled away from Swindell on the restart and won his third WoO A-Feature in his last four starts at the track and fourth overall in 2014. The victory was also his 151st career WoO A-Feature, moving him to within two of Hoosier native Mark Kinser’s 153, which ranks third all-time in WoO history.
Steve Kinser, the all-time winningest WoO driver with 577 A-Feature wins, was looking for his second career win at Lawrenceburg. After qualifying 16th, he raced to a huge lead in heat four. A late caution was not what the 20-time WoO champion was looking for. Debris on the track cut his left-rear tire and forced him to the pit area. He would be credited with seventh and would have to earn his spot in the A-Feature through the B-Feature. Kinser led all 12 laps of the B-Feature to transfer into A-Feature. The Bloomington, Indiana native took advantage of the numerous cautions and ensuing restarts and just continued charging forward. He worked his way up to sixth in the final running order.
The consistency allowed Schatz to close in on leader Daryn Pittman in the 2014 WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings. Schatz has accumulated 4,383 points and trails Pittman by 10 points. Saldana is currently four points behind Pittman. Schatz has four wins, 20 top-fives and 28 top-10s in 31 starts. Kinser remains in seventh with 4,048 points and the weekend results were his 19th and 20th top-10 finishes of the season.
This week, the TSR teams close out a busy month of May with races Friday at Attica (Ohio) Raceway Park and Saturday at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Michigan.