Schatz, Kinser Storm through the Plains as Outlaws Kick-off June

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The first full weekend of June saw the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series storm through the Great Plains with races in Nebraska and Kansas. Donny Schatz led the two-car Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) tandem into competition as the series’ most recent winner and leader in the WoO championship standings. Mother Nature showed her hand, but the traveling Outlaws were able to beat the weather Friday at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Nebraska and Saturday at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Schatz posted finishes of second and 11th behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J, while his TSR teammate Steve Kinser drove the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim 14th–place finishes in both WoO A-Feature programs.

The Outlaws made their first appearance at I-80 in 11 seasons Friday night and the standing-room only-crowd was entertained with a fast-paced program as storms threatened. Schatz qualified third in the field of 30 cars and finished second in heat three. The five-time WoO champion out-dueled Sammy Swindell in the six-lap dash to earn his third pole position of the season. Schatz took the lead at the drop of the green, but a spin nullified the start. Joey Saldana took the lead on the restart and led all 30 laps. Schatz raced closely with Paul McMahan as the two exchanged the runner-up spot midway through the race before Schatz seized control on lap 20. He tried every line possible with hopes of getting a shot at overtaking Saldana but would come home second for the fourth time in 2014. The finish was also his ninth consecutive top-five and 19th straight top-10. Kinser was making the first of two stops in Nebraska during the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour.” The 20-time WoO champion began the night by qualifying 16th before he was involved in an opening-lap incident in heat one. A slow pace by the leaders bottled up the rest of the field and Jason Sides drove over Kinser’s right-rear tire. The Bad Boy Buggies crew replaced the tire and Kinser rejoined the field. He finished fifth and transferred into the 30-lap A-Feature, where he started 15th and finished 14th.

Mother Nature took over after the main event at I-80 and kept a steady rain falling near Kansas City until late Saturday morning. Track officials at Lakeside Speedway put in long hours Saturday afternoon in order to host the FVP Outlaws at Lakeside event. The track was lightning fast and the top-13 drivers in qualifying put up laps under the previous track record. Schatz and Kinser qualified 13th and 15th in the field of 23 cars. Both transferred through their heats but were only able to advance a few positions in the 30-lap A-Feature, where passing was at a premium. Schatz finished 11th, Kinser 14th as Kerry Madsen picked up the victory.

With 35 of the scheduled 92 races in the 2014 WoO STP Sprint Car Series campaign complete, Schatz continues to lead the championship standings. The Fargo, North Dakota racer has 4,956 points and is six markers ahead of Daryn Pittman. Schatz has posted five wins and a series-best 23 top-fives and 31 top-10s. Kinser holds the seventh spot with 4,538 points.

The TSR teams resume action this weekend with races in Minnesota and Iowa. The annual stop at Jackson (Minn.) Speedway opens the action Friday before the teams make their first of two stops at legendary Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway. Last June, Schatz won both A-Feature events on his way to a career-best 23 WoO A-Feature victories. Kinser won the Jackson A-Feature in 2010 and has 34 career A-Feature wins at Knoxville.

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