One week after successfully sweeping the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series 2014 Canadian tour, Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz continued his winning streak aboard the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J with three more wins over Labor Day weekend. Schatz swept the state of Washington, winning twice at Skagit Speedway in Alger Friday and Saturday, then closing out the weekend Monday night with his 20th win of the season at Grays Harbor Raceway Park in Elma.
“This feels great, being a part of such a great team,” Schatz said after becoming the first WoO driver to win 20 races in consecutive seasons since Kinser did it in 2002 and 2003. “Winning all of these races is kind of overwhelming, really. You come here every day wanting to win. The reality of it is, most days you’re not going to. It’s been a great year. It’s not over yet. We’ve got a lot of races left and we’ll just keep working hard. The STP guys (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson, Eric Prutzman) are doing a phenomenal job with the car every night. I mean, 20 races – there’s no way you ever dream of being in this position, but here we are. Living it. Loving it.”
TSR’s Steve Kinser made his final appearance in the state of Washington as a full-time driver with the Outlaws behind the wheel of the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim. The 20-time WoO champion continued the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour” with an impressive performance Monday leading the first nine laps of the A-Feature before finishing third.
The two-night Monster Energy Meltdown at Skagit Speedway opened with both TSR teammates qualifying inside the top-10. Kinser timed in eighth and Schatz was 10th before heat race action. Schatz won the opening heat to grab a spot in the eight-lap dash. Kinser finished second and transferred directly into the 25-lap A-Feature. Schatz finished second in the dash and started the 25-lap A-Feature from the outside-front-row spot. The five-time WoO STP champion took the lead at the start and led every lap to win his fourth straight WoO A-Feature and second in a row at the 3/10-mile dirt oval. Kinser started 11th and finished 12th.
Schatz was the final car in the 26-car field to make a qualifying lap in Saturday’s finale at Skagit. He turned the second-best lap of the night to position himself for a weekend sweep. After racing from fourth to second in heat two, the Fargo, North Dakota racer won the dash from position two. Joey Saldana got the jump at the start of the 35-lap A-Feature, but Schatz kept close to the leader during the opening 10 laps. On lap 13, Schatz made his bid for the lead coming out of turn two and paced the field the rest of the way to score his 19th WoO win of the season.
Kinser qualified 13th and started the A-Feature on the inside of row seven. After a spin early in the main event, “The King of the Outlaws” rejoined the field and came home 19th.
The annual Northwest swing continued with Monday’s Lucky Eagle Casino Outlaw Invasion at Grays Harbor Raceway. Kinser qualified 10th and dominated the opening heat before leading every lap of the dash to earn the pole position for the 30-lap A-Feature. Schatz qualified sixth and staged an epic battle with Brad Sweet in heat three. The two exchanged the lead several times before Schatz took the lead coming to the checkered flag to secure his spot in the dash. Kinser took control of the A-Feature from the start while Schatz held third for the first handful of laps. As the field quickly worked its way into lapped traffic, Kinser continued to lead the way but, on lap nine, Schatz took second from Cody Darrah in turns one and two and passed Kinser for the lead coming out of turn four. Schatz led laps 10 to 30 and scored his 166th career WoO A-Feature victory. The win also gave him two straight at Grays Harbor, five straight wins in Washington dating back to 2013, and six consecutive wins this season. In his last 17 starts, Schatz has won 11 times, finished second on four occasions and finished third in the other two. Kinser battled Darrah for second but ultimately finished third.
The winning streak has allowed Schatz to pull out to a 219-point lead in the 2014 WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship standings. He has 9,663 points and leads the series with 20 wins, 49 top-fives, 62 top-10s, 392 laps led and 12 KSE Hard Charger Awards. Kinser ranks eighth in the standings with 8,558 points.
The TSR teams resume action this week with races at Willamette (Oregon) Speedway Tuesday and Southern Oregon Speedway in Medford Wednesday. Following those two nights of action, the TSR teams will travel to California for the Gold Cup of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California.