Thursday July 2, 2015
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Donny Schatz romped from 10th-starting spot to win his 18th World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series feature of the season Wednesday night at Lakeside Speedway.
It was the first victory for the six-time series champion at Lakeside.
“We’ve never actually run very good here,” Schatz said. “This Bad Boy Buggies race team just worked hard on it trying to figure out what we do at all these places where we haven’t been good. We’ve had a real balanced race car everywhere we’ve been. Hats off to them.”
Schatz became the first driver to score back-to-back wins without participating in the dash. Schatz won at Beaver Dam last Saturday after starting in 10th.
David Gravel led the field to the green flag with Joey Saldana on his outside. The two drivers drag raced side by side into turn one with the advantage to Saldana as they exited. Through the opening laps, Saldana built a sizable lead. He caught the back of the field on lap five.
As he and the cars behind began working through traffic the distance between all of them closed. By lap eight, third place Kerry Madsen had his hands full, fending off the No. 51 of Paul McMahan and trying to get around Gravel, then in second. As the three drivers battled, Schatz, who had moved into the fifth position by the third circuit, was poised to make moves. Madsen took over the second spot on lap 11 while McMahan and Schatz followed around Gravel. The next lap by, Schatz took over third.
The first yellow flag of the night came out on lap 13 as the No. 21 FVP car driven by Brian Brown slowed to a stop in turn three. When the field returned to green, Schatz got around Madsen for the second position.
Saldana maintained and built his lead through the next seven laps, but as he caught the back of the field once again, Schatz closed the gap and began looking for a way around. He finally got his opportunity on lap 27 as Saldana was slowed up by a lapped car off of turn four. Schatz dove low and took the position as the two went into turn one.
One more yellow flew, but Saldana was not able to get around Schatz on the green-white-checkered finish that ended the 30-lap feature.
“That green-white-checkered was the fastest I felt all night,” Schatz said. “This place is tricky to get through traffic like that. It was really fast on the top — I didn’t know if we were going to be able to do it. We just caught traffic and put ourselves in a good spot.”
After overcoming a little adversity in the form of a flat trailer tire before they got to track earlier in the day, Saldana and his No. 71m Motter Equipment team maintained laser consistency throughout the night.
“It was a great night,” Saldana said. “The guys worked hard to make it and the whole night was really good. We were stuck in second – second in qualifying, second in heat, second in the dash and feature. It’s a really good solid night for us and something for the team to be proud of.”
Madsen, who ran as high as second Wednesday night after starting in sixth, said his car was good but Schatz was just able to find the better lines through traffic.
“We went on that double file restart there, took a chance and went for the big wide line on the restart and went for the slider down in one and two there and just gave Donny a good run there,”” Madsen said. “We had a great race car we just didn’t quite get it done…On to Dodge City. I feel like we’re getting some momentum and get some podiums and possible a win here shortly.”