Sweet simmers Schatz in late-race showdown at the Stockton Dirt Track
By Gary Thomas
Stockton, CA – March 26, 2017 - An exhilarating late-race battle between the top-two in World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series points thrilled the crowd on Saturday at the Stockton Dirt Track, which ultimately ended with Grass Valley, California’s Brad Sweet coming out on top to earn his first victory of the 2017 campaign.
Sweet out-dueled eight-time World of Outlaws champion and current series point leader Donny Schatz in a back and forth fight to claim his first ever Stockton triumph at the annual FVP Western Spring Shootout. After earning back-to-back podium finishes last weekend in Tulare the win on Saturday marked the 14th of Sweet’s career with the “Greatest Show on Dirt.”
“That was a tough race with Donny Schatz right there and I’m definitely glad we came out on top,” said the driver of the Napa Auto Parts/ Kasey Kahne Racing No. 49 mount. “You don’t have many opportunities to beat Donny the way he’s running, so you always want to capitalize whenever you have the chance. Sometimes the cautions work in your favor and sometimes they don’t, luckily they fell at the right times for me tonight. It’s always the hardest to get that first win out of the way and I’m excited to do it with a lot of friends and family here tonight. Big thanks to all of my guys for working hard and continuing to give me great cars.”
The 30-lap feature started out with pole sitter Jason Sides jumping into the lead, but it didn’t last long as the caution lights came on after just one-lap was complete. On the restart Sweet blasted around the outside to take the lead away, with Schatz also coming along for second. Shortly after that Sides slowed with reported steering issues that unfortunately ended his night prematurely.
A number of yellows and a couple of reds slowed the pace over the first half of the feature, but through it all Sweet did a solid job out front.
Following a restart with 11-laps remaining things began to heat up as Schatz started to reel in the leader once lapped traffic hit. The duo then proceeded to exchange the lead a couple of times through heavy traffic as the crowd came to their feet. Sweet was able to fend him off until Schatz executed a picture perfect move entering turn one on lap 27 to grab the lead. At that same time however, the caution lights came on for a stalled car off the second corner, which saved the lead for Sweet.
With the champ on his back bumper Sweet knew he had to be perfect on the restart with just three-circuits remaining. When the green came back out he hammered the throttle and put together three perfect laps to take the Ed Entz checkered flag by 1.065 seconds back to runner up Schatz.
On the heels of his first victory this season Sweet now puts his promoters hat on, as he brings the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series back to the Placerville Speedway this coming Wednesday night.
“We’re really looking forward to Placerville on Wednesday and we hope all the fans can make it out. Kyle Larson is coming out to run and of course all the Outlaws will be there so it should be a great show. Our cars have been really good lately so hopefully we can take this momentum there and get another win.”
Despite not getting another victory Schatz remained positive on the front stretch after earning his seventh top-five in nine World of Outlaws races this season at the helm of the Arctic Cat- Tony Stewart/ Curb-Agajanian Racing No. 15 Sprinter. “We were good enough to win the race tonight and just had a caution that came out at the wrong time, but that’s how it goes. Hope you fans saw a great show because it sure was fun from my seat. It’s been a great start to the season for this whole team and we’ll now move on to Placerville and try to get one spot better.”
Third place finisher Shane Stewart of Bixby, Oklahoma was also upbeat after the race and had a front row view to the late-race battle between Sweet and Schatz. “That was a heck of a race to watch from my vantage point,” commented the wheel-man of the Eneos- Larson/Marks Racing No. 2 mount. “I was hoping I could get up there and race with Brad and Donny, but we never seemed to get a green flag run that kept us in traffic long enough. I want to send a big thanks to my guys, we have a lot of speed right now and the wins are going to come.”
Grain Valley, Missouri’s Brian Brown had a strong outing and came home in the fourth spot aboard the FVP Racing/ Casey’s General Store No. 21 machine. It was a great run for Brown with a number of associates and friends from FVP on hand at the Western Spring Shootout. After claiming his first win of the season last week Watertown, Connecticut’s David Gravel came back and rounded out the top-five on Saturday in the Go Muddy/ CJB Motorsports No. 5 Sprinter.
The remainder of the top-10 was filled out by Owasso, Oklahoma’s Daryn Pittman; Rutherford, California’s Rico Abreu; Australian Ian Madsen; Myerstown, Pennsylvania’s Brent Marks and San Jose, California’s Tim Kaeding, who earned the KSE Hard Charger Award coming from 24th to 10th.
As noted the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series will return to action this coming Wednesday March 29 for Brad Sweet’s Placerville Short Track Showdown at the Placerville Speedway.
Donny Schatz charges from third to first in closing laps to win sixth World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series feature in eight races
By Gary Thomas
Tulare, CA – March 18, 2017…Fargo, North Dakota’s Donny Schatz found more late-race magic on Saturday night getting around Kasey Kahne Racing teammates Brad Sweet and Daryn Pittman with just a few laps left en route to his sixth victory of the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series season.Read more: Donny Schatz Charges Late for Sixth Win
David Gravel gets by Shane Stewart late to claim first World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series win of season Friday in Tulare
by Gary Thomas
After scoring his first Thunderbowl Raceway World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series win last season Watertown, Connecticut’s David Gravel returned on Friday night and made it back-to-back, earning his first series victory of 2017.
Gravel stalked race-long leader Shane Stewart as the laps wound down and made a beautiful power move to the outside with just a few circuits remaining to claim the victory aboard his CJB Motorsports/ Big Game Tree Stands No. 5 machine.Read more: Gravel Steals Tulare from Stewart
Abreu and Schatz battle in the closing laps
LAS VEGAS – March 10, 2017 – In front of a nearly packed grandstand, local fans and beyond witnessed an exciting performance from one of the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series’ most elite drivers, Donny Schatz. Not only were members of the Nellis Air Force Base in attendance to witness their racing heroes fly around The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but the drivers were also racing on the fast-action track as a salute to America’s servicemen and women in the final night of the FVP Outlaw Showdown.Read more: Schatz Secures the Sweep at Vegas
Rico Abreu battles his way from the back to finish on the podium
LAS VEGAS – March 9, 2017 – As the sun sank below The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Thursday night, a cool breeze drifted through a near-capacity crowd. Specifically on the half-mile course, the intense crosswinds from the track were the product of 42 World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series winged-sprints. The No. 15 Tony Stewart-Curb/Agajanian Racing car of Donny Schatz was the fastest in the field, taking the first night of the FVP Outlaw Showdown.Read more: Schatz Slips by to Win at Vegas
Sheldon Haudenschild records first podium finish in rookie season
KILGORE, Tex. – March 3, 2017 – There is a crater wrapped around turns one and two of LoneStar Speedway – now a reinvented third-mile dirt course. Shortened from a 3/8-mile oval since the last time the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series visited there in 2010, the “Greatest Show on Dirt” competed on the equally as fast bullring Friday night for the first time at the new length. Wheel-to-wheel with 23 other cars, Donny Schatz avoided the expected dangers of short-track racing and took the checkered flag without a hitch.Read more: Schatz Sweeps the Show at LoneStar
Gravel awarded the coveted ‘Big Gator’
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – February 19, 2017 – Donny Schatz etched his name into DIRTcar Nationals history Sunday, winning both the afternoon and night show at Volusia Speedway Park. The trip down victory lane gave Schatz 17 career wins at the half-mile, and he captured three of the five sprint shows in the 12-day event.Read more: Schatz Charges to Win in DIRTcar Nationals Finale
Two series regulars reverse their luck to record top-five showing
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – February 19, 2017 – It is not unusual for two series champions to face-off in the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. In the first show of a Sunday double-header, eight-time World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series Champion Donny Schatz revisited his fierce battle with Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions titleholder Chad Kemenah. Like the Wednesday night thriller – starting in the first row with Kemenah – Schatz again established himself as the best-of-the-best between the two series.Read more: Schatz Wins Second DIRTcar Nationals Gator
Wins first career Gator at DIRTcar Nationals
BARBERSVILLE, Fla. – February 17, 2017 – Jason Johnson made a grand entrance into 2017 Friday night, winning the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series opener at the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals. Johnson, whose 2016 season was highlighted by a Knoxville Nationals victory, took home his first Gator and a $10,000 purse.Read more: Johnson Takes Flight in Outlaws Opener
Outlaws sweep the podium
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – February 16, 2017 – David Gravel shut down a Donny Schatz sweep Thursday night, taking the checkers for the Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series finale at the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals. Schatz, who threatened to win his fourth All-Star show in the last five he entered, was denied the lead late despite a caution in the final laps.Read more: Gravel Wins First Ever Gator at DIRTcar Nationals