Tony Stewart-Curb/Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and the Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance-backed team continued their run of podium finishes with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series Saturday night at Fulton (N.Y.) Speedway. The eight-time and reigning WoO champion finished third in the 25-lap A-Feature at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval, finishing on the podium for the third consecutive race and the sixth time in his last seven races.
“We battled the best we could,” Schatz said. “That’s what you have to do to win a championship. These Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance guys have been doing a great job all season. We’ll turn our attention to next weekend, when we have three nights of racing.”
Schatz led the traveling Sprint-car stars back to New York for the Outlaws program at Fulton, which was part of NAPA Super DIRT Week. He entered the race with an advantage of 148 points in the 2017 WoO Championship standings over Brad Sweet and only 10 nights of racing remaining in the season.
The driver of the TSR No. 15 Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J was the 27th of 28 to make a qualifying lap. His lap of 13.472 seconds ranked eighth overall and landed the North Dakota driver the third starting position in heat two. He chased front-row starters David Gravel and Shane Stewart at the start of the eight-lap heat race. While Gravel took command of the race, Schatz tried everything he could to overtake Stewart, but ultimately he finished third. The result transferred Schatz directly into the 25-lap A-Feature. He started the 79th WoO A-Feature of season outside of row four and he quickly jumped into sixth. He passed Stewart for fifth on lap four and then was part of a terrific duel with Jac Haudenschild over the next five laps. Schatz reached third on lap nine and restarted in that position after leader Daryn Pittman made contact with Clyde Knipp and brought out a caution. Schatz followed Gravel and Jason Johnson back to green and the trio pulled away from the rest of the field. Another restart on lap 14 bunched the field, but Gravel continued leading until he took the white flag. A caution during the final lap extended the race, giving Schatz and Johnson one more opportunity. On the ensuing green-white-checkered finish, neither driver could make a run at Gravel, who won for the 17th time in 2017.
With the finish, Schatz added 10 points to his advantage over Sweet in the championship standings, and he continues to lead the series in wins with 18, top-fives with 60 and top-10s with 68.
The Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb team returns to Pennsylvania and New York this weekend for three races beginning Saturday night at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway. Schatz will make his eighth appearance at the half-mile dirt oval where he won the Outlaws’ 2004 race at “The Speed Palace.” Schatz has finished on the podium the past three seasons at Port Royal, coming home second in 2014 and third the last two seasons. Sunday and Monday, it’s back to New York to make up races that were postponed by Mother Nature earlier this season. Schatz returns to Weedsport Speedway Sunday winner of the past two races at the track and, Monday night, he’ll make his first appearance at Ransomville Speedway since his rookie season in 1997.