CONCORD, NC – No matter who is in the pits, it’s tough to bet against Donny Schatz. That proved true on Night Two of the Textron Off Road World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as Schatz bested a stout field of 53 cars from across the world to win his 20th World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series Feature of 2017. Ian Madsen and 10th-starting Dave Blaney completed the podium.
The 2017 IRA Champion, Bill Balog, grabbed the early lead from fellow front row starter, Ian Madsen. Balog, a one-time World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series Winner in his career, led the first nine laps of the Feature before extremely heavy lapped traffic slowed his torrid pace. Balog was stalked by the Madsen Brothers in the early going, but it was Donny Schatz that made a three-wide pass for the lead down the backstretch to lead lap 10.
As Balog went high to navigate the lapped cars, Schatz made a jaw-dropping move. The, now nine-time, Series Champion glued his car to the bottom to work by Balog, Kerry Madsen and the lapped car of Parker Price-Miller off of turn two for the lead.
Lap 11 saw a pair of World of Outlaws young guns, Sheldon Haudenschild and David Gravel, succumb to flat right rear tires. Gravel was running third at the time of the misfortune.
The ensuing restart saw Ian Madsen maneuver his way back into the runner-up position. The Australian actually closed significantly on Schatz for the lead, coming as close as a car-length back of the Tony Stewart Racing No. 15.
With six laps remaining, Daryn Pittman’s top five run came to an end due to a flat tire. This set up a double-file restart with Ian to the outside of Schatz. Schatz got a brilliant restart and paced the field comfortably the final six circuits to score the victory.
The first thing Schatz mentioned in Victory Lane was the outstanding World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Feature that was held beforehand. “That [Feature] was pretty cool to watch. It got me motivated to get it done as well,” Schatz, who is doing double-duty this weekend, said.
“My team has worked awful hard lately. We’ve been stuck on 19 wins for a long time, so it was great to finally reach 20. It sucks the season is over, because we are rolling right now,” Schatz added. Tonight’s win marked the fifth consecutive season that Schatz has won at least 20 Features.
Ian Madsen, the 2017 Knoxville Raceway Track Champion, finished second with 1995 World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series Champion, Dave Blaney coming from 10th to complete the podium.
“It’s pretty cool to be able to run up front with these guys. I thought we had a shot for the lead a couple of times. It was a lot of fun out there,” Madsen said. Schatz echoed Madsen’s statement about the track conditions, “I thought the track would rubber up, but it really cleaned off and made it a lot of fun as a driver.”
Blaney cited restarts being a focal point to his success on the evening. “The car really took off on the starts and restarts. Going forward in the Heat Races is very important with this format,” the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Member said.
Kerry Madsen and Joey Saldana completed the top five. Balog, 20th-starting Logan Schuchart, Jason Johnson, 25th-starting Brad Sweet and Tim Shaffer completed the top ten. Sweet’s effort was good enough to earn KSE Hard Charger Honors.
The 2017 World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series concludes tomorrow with the finale of the Textron Off Road World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. If you can’t make it to the track, be sure to tune in to DIRTVision.com for LIVE VIDEO of all the action!
Abbreviated Results from The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway – November 3, 2017
WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT CARS TEXTRON OFF-ROAD WORLD FINALS RESULTS 11/3/17
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 15-Donny Schatz [$12,000]; 2. 18-Ian Madsen [$5,500]; 3. 71M-Dave Blaney [$3,200]; 4. 2M-Kerry Madsen [$2,800]; 5. 71-Joey Saldana [$2,500]; 6. 17B-Bill Balog [$2,300]; 7. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,200]; 8. 41-Jason Johnson [$2,100]; 9. 49-Brad Sweet [$1,050]; 10. 49X-Tim Shaffer [$2,000]; 11. 13M-Paul McMahan [$1,500]; 12. 21-Brian Brown [$1,200]; 13. 12N-Cole Duncan [$1,100]; 14. 2-Shane Stewart [$1,050]; 15. 7S-Jason Sides [$]; 16. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [$]; 17. 5-David Gravel [$1,000]; 18. 3-Sammy Swindell [$1,000]; 19. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$1,000]; 20. 17-Jac Haudenschild [$]; 21. 14-Tony Stewart [$1,000]; 22. 9-Daryn Pittman [$1,000]; 23. 44-Trey Starks [$1,000]; 24. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,000]; 25. 24-Terry McCarl [$1,000]; 26. 19-Brent Marks [$]; 27. 59-Ryan Smith [$1,000]; 28. 4-Parker Price-Miller [$]; 29. 15H-Sam Hafertepe [$1,000]; 30. W20-Greg Wilson [$1,000]; Lap Leaders: Bill Balog 1-9, Donny Schatz 10-30; KSE Hard Charger Award: 49-Brad Sweet[+16]