The World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series kicked off its annual “Month of Money” last week in Ohio with three nights of action. Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz raced the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J to victory in Wednesday’s Brad Doty Classic at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima before he and teammate Steve Kinser ventured to Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg for the 28th annual Kings Royal on Friday and Saturday. Schatz and Kinser were joined in action all three nights by team owner Tony Stewart. Kinser drove the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/ Chevrolet Maxim to a fifth-place finish on Friday night in the Knight Before the Kings Royal 30-lap A-Feature. Stewart made his first career Kings Royal A-Feature lineup on Saturday night, driving the TSR No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 J&J, and finished an impressive 10th.
The action started on Wednesday at Lima, when Schatz was the last man standing in an action-packed evening that saw plenty of side-by-side racing and exchanges for the lead throughout the program. Schatz qualified seventh and finished second in the third heat to earn his position in the dash. He finished third to earn a second-row starting spot for the main event. The four-time WoO champion pressured early leader Brad Sweet numerous times before taking the lead for good on lap 32. He led the final eight laps to earn his third A-Feature victory of 2011 and the 108th of his career, giving him sole possession of fourth on the WoO all-time win list. Kinser qualified 18th and finished third in the second heat. He started the A-Feature 15th and finished 13th. Stewart bounced back from a tough qualifying lap that saw him 30th in the field of 39 cars. He raced from eighth to fifth in the second heat and, during the first four laps of the feature, he charged from 24th to 13th before spinning. Stewart would finish 18th.
On Friday night, the TSR teams returned to Eldora for a complete program. Kinser led the charge by racing to a fifth-place finish in the 30-lap A-Feature. The 20-time WoO champion began the evening by qualifying 14th in the field of 46 cars. He finished second in the second heat and eighth in the dash. In the main event, he was able to move up three positions and earned his 14th top-five of the season. Schatz qualified 22nd but was the talk of the night after racing from sixth to win the second heat. He started the A-Feature seventh but hurt an engine early in the race and nursed it to a 10th-place finish. Stewart finished fifth in the Last Chance Showdown, missing the A-Feature field by one position.
The energy for Saturday night’s 28th annual Kings Royal was felt throughout the standing-room-only crowd. Stewart led the three-car TSR contingent in qualifying by turning the 14th-fastest lap around the high-banked, half-mile dirt oval. He finished third in the second heat and started the 40-lap main event in 14th. He ran a consistent race and finished 10th in his first-ever appearance in the Kings Royal. Kinser qualified 15th and won the third heat to earn the fourth starting position in the main event. Contact with the wall early in the race forced him to the pit area for repairs during a lap-11 red flag. He would return to the race and drive back through the field to finish 11th. Schatz qualified 18th and finished second in the first heat. He started the 40-lap finale in seventh and gained two positions early in the race.
Schatz nearly pulled off the move of the night following a lap-11 restart. He charged from fifth into second coming out of turn two, but the move was nullified when a four-car accident stopped the race. On the ensuing restart, he wasn’t able to get the same jump and spent the final 20 laps trying to move from fourth into third. As the race unfolded, it became clear the track was becoming very hard on tires so the drivers had to be conservative. Race-long leader Sammy Swindell lost his right-rear tire coming to the finish line and was passed by winner Tyler Walker.
Schatz ranks second in the 2011 WoO championship standings, trailing leader Jason Meyers by 13 points. He has totaled 4,221 points, three victories, 15 top-fives, and 24 top-10s. Kinser remains fourth with 4,172 points, 62 behind Meyers, and has earned five wins, 14 top-fives and 24 top-10s.
Next up for the TSR team is a week of racing in Pennsylvania and New York. First is the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup Twin 30s on Tuesday night at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. On Friday and Saturday, the Summer Nationals will take place at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and the Outlaws return to Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y., on Sunday.