21917 SCS DCN SCHATZ

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.

But it did not come easily for the Fargo, N.D. native, who has now won a DIRTcar Nationals show every year since 2011. On Friday night Schatz finished 14thin the feature, his worst finish since the series opener last season (when he placed 18th). But Schatz said one major adjustment was opting for a harder tire.

“We did make some tire changes today and went with a harder tire,” Schatz said. “I think it hurt us early in the race, but they don’t pay for the first lap they pay for the last. The driver just showed up today with an attitude.  I guess you could say he made all the mistakes in one night (Friday).”

Once the green flag was waved, Schatz overtook Kemenah and extended his lead to nearly one second. Kemenah reclaimed his spot before the race’s first caution on the ensuing restart. In the race’s most exhilarating exchange, the two danced around each other – inversely switching lines high and low. Schatz was the first to take the lead, wedging his car under Kemenah’s in the second turn. Kemenah used the back-stretch to regroup, and butted his left-front tire nearly up against the inside wall in turn three for first position.

On Lap 14, strategy played to Schatz’s favor. Schatz made the decision to start on the inside of the race’s second caution – as the two made their passes on the bottom earlier. Schatz was successful on the restart. Kemenah dropped off Schatz’s pace – nearly two tenths faster than the field with each lap. This left the door open for Friday night’s winner Jason Johnson to slip by Kemenah and secure a second-place finish; Kemenah settled for third.

Like Schatz, David Gravel also underwent a roller-coaster of a week. Gravel won Thursday’s All-Star finale, but since has blown four motors. Expending his reserve, CJB Motorsports sent for three new motors to be shipped to Volusia. Gravel said race engines “eat dirt every day,” so self-inflicted malfunctions are bound to happen.

On his fifth Kistler motor, Gravel turned-around Friday’s last place finish by first setting Sunday afternoon’s quick time with a 13.453. He carried that momentum to his heat race, doubling on his successes. There was a small scare in the Craftsman® Club Dash when he got into the turn two wall. Escaping with only minor damage, this was the only hiccup Gravel had throughout the show; he ultimately collected his first World of Outlaws top-five performance of the year.

“When that fifth motor is good enough to quick time, it speaks to how good our engine program is,” said Gravel, who added that he never lost doubt in his Kistler Engine package. “We never give up. We screwed up a little in the dash, but we just kept looking forward. There’s no reason why we can’t win tonight.”

With the victory, Schatz can become the first Outlaw since Jeff Swindell and Sammy Swindell to win multiple series races in one day. Jeff Swindell first accomplished the one-day sweep at Rolling Wheels (N.Y.) Raceway Park on October 8, 1994. Sammy Swindell matched his brother’s feat in 1999 at Bloomington Speedway.

Volusia Speedway Park Notebook

RACE NOTES:Donny Schatz wins a World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series race at DIRTcar Nationals for the fourth consecutive year. After fending off Chad Kemenah – who led the 26-car feature into the green flag – Schatz nearly opened-up a two second lead. Jason Johnson, who won the previous show, caught up to Kemenah and took second place in the closing laps.

CONTINGENCY WINNERS: MSD Ignitions ($25 cash): Jacob Allen; MSD Ignitions ($50 cash): Donny Schatz; Penske Shocks ($50 cash): Paul McMahan; JE Pistons ($50 cash): Brent Marks; VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash): Jason Sides; Edelbrock ($50 cash): Danny Dietrich; Comp Cams ($50 cash): Logan Schuchart; Morton Buildings ($50 cash): Terry McCarl;Super Flow ($50 cash): Jason Johnson; Craftsman Club Fast Five ($100 cash): Joey Saldana, Paul McMahan, David Gravel;Craftsman/Sears: Chad Kemenah; KSE Hard Charger: Kerry MadsenComp Cams ($50 product certificate): Donny Schatz; JE Pistons (Set of Rings): Brad Sweet; JE Pistons (Set of Rings): Caleb Helms

SEASON WINNERS: Jason Johnson – 1 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 17); Donny Schatz – 1 (Volusia Speedway Park on February 19)

World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Volusia Speedway Park, Fla.; Feb. 19, 2017

Feature -  (25 Laps) - 1. 15-Donny Schatz [1] [$10,000]; 2. 41-Jason Johnson [3] [$5,500]; 3. 10H-Chad Kemenah [2] [$3,200]; 4. 17-Joey Saldana [4] [$2,800]; 5. 5-David Gravel [8] [$2,500]; 6. 14-Christopher Bell [6] [$2,300]; 7. 4-Paul McMahan [5] [$2,200]; 8. 19-Brent Marks [9] [$2,100]; 9. 7S-Jason Sides [12] [$2,050]; 10. 13D-Danny Dietrich [7] [$2,000]; 11. 2M-Kerry  Madsen [19] [$1,500]; 12. 1S-Logan Schuchart [14] [$1,200]; 13. 18-Ian Madsen [10] [$1,100]; 14. 24-Terry McCarl [13] [$1,050]; 15. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [18] [$1,000]; 16. 1-Dale Blaney [20] [$900]; 17. 49-Brad Sweet [17] [$800]; 18. 27-Greg Hodnett [16] [$800]; 19. 2-Shane Stewart [24] [$800]; 20. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [23] [$800]; 21. 24R-Rico Abreu [22] [$800]; 22. 17X-Caleb Helms [15] [$800]; 23. 9-Daryn Pittman [11] [$800]; 24. 1A-Jacob Allen [25] [$800]; 25. 87-Aaron Reutzel [21] [$800]; 26. 13-Clyde Knipp [26] [$800]; Lap Leaders: Chad Kemenah 1-13, Donny Schatz 14-25; KSE Hard Charger Award: 2M-Kerry  Madsen[+8]

Qualifying - 1. 5-David Gravel, 13.453; 2. 5W-Lucas Wolfe, 13.456; 3. 15-Donny Schatz, 13.543; 4. 10H-Chad Kemenah, 13.567; 5. 41-Jason Johnson, 13.574; 6. 14-Christopher Bell, 13.578; 7. 9-Daryn Pittman, 13.605; 8. 4-Paul McMahan, 13.608; 9. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild, 13.614; 10. 13D-Danny Dietrich, 13.619; 11. 17X-Caleb Helms, 13.627; 12. 7S-Jason Sides, 13.628; 13. 19-Brent Marks, 13.631; 14. 18-Ian Madsen, 13.647; 15. 17-Joey Saldana, 13.682; 16. 27-Greg Hodnett, 13.701; 17. 49-Brad Sweet, 13.720; 18. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 13.736; 19. 2M-Kerry  Madsen, 13.797; 20. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier, 13.812; 21. 24-Terry McCarl, 13.823; 22. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 13.873; 23. 24R-Rico Abreu, 13.876; 24. 1-Dale Blaney, 13.908; 25. W20-Greg Wilson, 13.920; 26. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 13.929; 27. 1A-Jacob Allen, 13.937; 28. 2-Shane Stewart, 14.000; 29. 49X-Tim Shaffer, 14.019; 30. 59H-Justin Henderson, 14.083; 31. 7W-Tasker Phillips, 14.254; 32. 59S-Ben Schmidt, 14.315; 33. 2X-Parker Price-Miller, 14.602; 34. O7-Jacob Wilson, 14.707; 35. 13-Clyde Knipp, 14.917; 36. 21-Brian Brown, nt

Heat 1 -  (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the feature) - 1. 5-David Gravel[1] ; 2. 41-Jason Johnson[2] ; 3. 19-Brent Marks[4] ; 4. 24-Terry McCarl[6] ; 5. 49-Brad Sweet[5] ; 6. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild[3] ; 7. 49X-Tim Shaffer[8] ; 8. W20-Greg Wilson[7] ; 9. 2X-Parker Price-Miller[9]

Heat 2 -  (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the feature) - 1. 14-Christopher Bell[2] ; 2. 13D-Danny Dietrich[3] ; 3. 18-Ian Madsen[4] ; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart[6] ; 5. 5W-Lucas Wolfe[1] ; 6. 59H-Justin Henderson[8] ; 7. 11K-Kraig Kinser[7] ; 8. 87-Aaron Reutzel[5] ; 9. O7-Jacob Wilson[9]

Heat 3 -  (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the feature) - 1. 15-Donny Schatz[1] ; 2. 17-Joey Saldana[4] ; 3. 9-Daryn Pittman[2] ; 4. 17X-Caleb Helms[3] ; 5. 2M-Kerry  Madsen[5] ; 6. 24R-Rico Abreu[6] ; 7. 1A-Jacob Allen[7] ; 8. 7W-Tasker Phillips[8] ; 9. 13-Clyde Knipp[9]

Heat 4 -  (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the feature) - 1. 10H-Chad Kemenah[1] ; 2. 4-Paul McMahan[2] ; 3. 7S-Jason Sides[3] ; 4. 27-Greg Hodnett[4] ; 5. 1-Dale Blaney[6] ; 6. 2-Shane Stewart[7] ; 7. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier[5] ; 8. 59S-Ben Schmidt[8]

Craftsman Club Dash -  (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 8 starting positions of feature) - 1. 15-Donny Schatz[2] ; 2. 10H-Chad Kemenah[1] ; 3. 41-Jason Johnson[5] ; 4. 17-Joey Saldana[7] ; 5. 4-Paul McMahan[8] ; 6. 14-Christopher Bell[3] ; 7. 13D-Danny Dietrich[6] ; 8. 5-David Gravel[4]

Last Chance Showdown -  (12 Laps - Top 4 finishers transfer to the feature) - 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel[2] [-]; 2. 24R-Rico Abreu[4] [-]; 3. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild[1] [-]; 4. 2-Shane Stewart[8] [-]; 5. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier[3] [$300]; 6. W20-Greg Wilson[5] [$250]; 7. 59H-Justin Henderson[10] [$225]; 8. 11K-Kraig Kinser[6] [$200]; 9. 49X-Tim Shaffer[9] [$200]; 10. 59S-Ben Schmidt[12] [$200]; 11. 7W-Tasker Phillips[11] [$200]; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen[7] [$200]; 13. O7-Jacob Wilson[14] [$200]; 14. 13-Clyde Knipp[15] [$200]; 15. 2X-Parker Price-Miller[13] [$200]; 16. 21-Brian Brown[16] [$200]

Unofficial World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series Championship Standings to be posted after the series' DIRTcar Nationals finale.



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