Schatz Fires Off His Big Guns at Knoxville to Join the Winningest Drivers
Story By: COLBY GORNIEWICZ / WOO SERIES MEDIA
Photos By: RACERSGUIDE.COM / PHOTO STAFF
KNOXVILLE, IA — June 11, 2017 — Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing driver and eight-time World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series Champion Donny Schatz officially joined the ranks of the top-10 winningest drivers at Knoxville Raceway, leading all 25 laps of the Brownells Big Guns Bash night two Feature. The win marks his 25th career win at the 1/2-mile oval, tying him with two-time Track Champion Skip Jackson. It also marks the 10th win of the season for the No. 15 Arctic Cat car.
Much like the previous night, in which Brad Sweet led flag-to-flag, an exciting battle took place behind the leader, resulting in the same three Outlaws to the podium, only slightly rearranged this time with Schatz on top. And he was unusually happy about it.
“We haven’t been on pace the last couple months,” said Schatz. “You keep looking for little things that aren’t right. One thing here. But we found three things. And so, that’s why I’m smiling. I’m a happy guy. I got my feel back. I can feel all four corners again, and that’s important. These guys have put up with me through some not so good moods the last few months, but it feels good to be back in Victory Lane, especially here at Knoxville, and get that win.”
Behind Schatz, David Gravel, Brad Sweet and Ian Madsen fought a tough battled for second and third. A caution on Dakota Hendrickson four laps in gave Madsen the chance he needed to jump past Logan Schuchart, then Daryn Pittman. A second caution — from Jason Sides spinning into the wall in turn one — allowed Gravel to slide inside Sweet, leaving Sweet momentarily at Madsen’s mercy as the two exchanged positions a couple of times almost halfway through the Feature. But Sweet prevailed, and with only eight laps to go pressed on Gravel for second as he got caught in lap traffic.
“It hurt me there,” said Gravel. “I tried to go under Sides, and he slipped off and kind of caught me up a little bit. I thought that was my only chance to even get close to Donny, but I lost ten car lengths in that corner and never really had a shot at him. We’re really happy with how the car is. The track was super super fast tonight. That was a hell of a workout for 25 laps.”
Despite the heat and strong winds, the track was in great condition on night two and did not rubber up at all like the previous night.
“Last night the race track was a little bit different,” said Schatz. “It got abrasive. It was really slick early. It was hard to get a hold of, so yeah, you try things. You don’t get too far away from baseline, but these guys did an incredible job with the race track today. It’s miserable and hard to do this in the heat and the wind, and they did an incredible job, got us two grooves, so hats off to the Duncans for that and just a great night.”
Unfortunately, Sweet was unable to comment after his win, as the heat and the tough workout left him dehydrated and worn out enough to warrant medical attention.
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series returns to action on Tuesday for the Eagle Nationals in Eagle, NE. Tickets are available online. The Series will then continue to Schatz’s home state of North Dakota on Friday and Saturday.