Schatz Wins at Fremont

Donny Schatz

Schatz picked up 18 points in the championship battle.

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Race Results

Donny Schatz started sixth on Saturday night at Fremont Speedway and charged to his 21st World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series victory of the season.

Schatz needed only nine laps to make it to the front of the 28-car A-main. He held off Caleb Griffith on restart after restart in the 40-lap feature to earn the win and cut his deficit to 52 points in the overall World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship battle.

Ohio natives dominated the top five, with Griffith holding on to finish second with Bryan Sebetto in third, Dale Blaney in fourth and fan favorite Jac Haudenschild fifth.

Schatz drove the STP/Armor All J&J to fourth after just one lap as Griffith jumped to the lead over second-place starter and series championship leader Daryn Pittman.

Only six events remained in the season going into the night so the race-within-the-race for the championship was in full swing as Schatz worked his way around Pittman on a restart with six laps complete and set his sights on Griffith. By lap nine Schatz was in command but Pittman was keeping pace.

Then, on a restart with 14 laps complete and the two championship contenders on the front row, disaster struck Pittman as he spun to a stop, bringing out a caution. Luckily the rest of the field was able to avoid him and he restarted at the tail of the field and would drive his way back up to finish ninth, minimizing the damage in the standings.

Schatz continued to lead as Griffith kept close tabs on the five-time series champion. Schatz maintained an advantage and by the checkered flag he was 1.234 seconds ahead of Griffith. Sebetto, Blaney and Haudenschild finished the race strong running 3-4-5 with Haudenschild and Blaney both making runs at Sebetto.

The A-main drivers certainly were aggressive. It took three tries to get the feature started as the race included 12 cautions.

Not only is the victory Schatz’s 21st of the season — he had never won more than 19 before this year — but it also is the 145th win of his career, moving him to within eight victories of tying Mark Kinser (153) for third all-time.

Schatz picked up 18 points in the championship battle, slicing Pittman’s lead to 52 points as the series enters Williams Grove Speedway on Friday for the National Open weekend. The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars have completed two events this season at Williams Grove and Schatz has won both of them despite leading only a total of five laps.

“These guys keep building great race cars,” said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. “I started sixth and kept picking them off, I had to kind of wait for the right time. People were kind of aggressive early and bouncing off of each other. The way my car was working it felt like it got more drive if I got the wheels spinning. It sure was a long race. I was a bit nervous with all the yellows and the red with the stop and start and stop and start just waiting for something to go, but it didn’t.”

Griffith, a former track champion who was fifth in Fremont points this year, represented the locals well with his runner-up finish.

“Donny certainly had a better car and has a ton more experience than me,” said Griffith, of Castalia, Ohio. “So to get beat by him here, I’m not too worried about it. We’ll take it and feel pretty good about it. If he would have got himself jammed up in traffic was the only way we could have caught him, but he’s smart enough he’s not going to let that happen as the cautions fell the way he needed them to.”

Sebetto brought home a strong finish in what was his final run in the 24H Hammer team.

“We’ve had a pretty rough year this year and to get a top three with these guys means a lot,” said Sebetto, of Fremont, Ohio. “It means a lot to me parting ways with these guys next year. There are a lot of eyes here tonight and maybe it will lead into something next year.

David Gravel proved he was back to form after missing several events fighting mononucleosis, finishing the night in 11th position.

The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series heads to Williams Grove next Friday and Saturday for the historic National Open. Only five A-mains are left to decide this year’s champion, with the upcoming weekend at Williams Grove followed races on Saturday, Oct. 12, Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in Elbridge, N.Y., and then the Nov. 7-9 World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C.

Related Topics:

World of Outlaws, Donny Schatz

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