Barberville, FL – Clearly, Donny Schatz has a flair for the dramatic in 2018. After sweeping All-Stars competition with a pair of thrilling victories, Schatz excited the DIRTcar Nationals standing room only crowd once again Saturday night, exchanging slide jobs with Jason Johnson en route to his 250th World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series Feature victory. Johnson settled for second with Tim Shaffer, who rebounded from a nasty crash last night, completing the podium.
Johnson won the Craftsman Club Dash and set a torrid pace from the drop of the green. Paul McMahan and Tim Shaffer continued their fantastic battle from the Dash and went side-by-side for multiple laps battling for the runner-up position. That battle allowed Schatz to close in from his sixth position.
By the halfway point, Shaffer had established the position and Schatz had worked into third. Johnson continued to lead, maneuvering lapped traffic at a rapid pace. A lap 17 yellow for 2018 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender Parker Price-Miller cleared Johnson from the heavy traffic but allowed Schatz to restart on his bumper.
On the restart, Schatz quickly disposed of Shaffer and set his eyes on the Eunice, LA native. Johnson was able to keep Schatz at bay in clean air, but in traffic Schatz narrowed the gap quickly.
With three laps to go, Schatz engaged Johnson with a big slider arousing the huge DIRTcar Nationals crowd. Johnson turned back underneath the nine-time Series Champion, but Schatz prevailed to lead the white flag lap and never look back.
“That is what we live for,” Schatz said in reference of the slide job exchange with Johnson. “It had my heart pumping,” Donny added before asking the crowd if they enjoyed the show. “Good. Come back tomorrow, it will be even better.”
Johnson, despite leading 28 laps, was in good spirits, “I hesitated too long in traffic and Donny never hesitates. He is one of the toughest in the business,” Johnson said before praising his crew for their efforts.
Tim Shaffer and the Demyan-Rudzik Racing, who will follow the World of Outlaws through the entire month of March, put together a new car after flipping last night and Shaffer cited the quick turnaround was a part of racing. 10th-starting Brad Sweet and 18th-starting David Gravel had strong runs to complete the top five. Last night’s winner, Sheldon Haudenschild picked up KSE Hard Charger honors coming from 21st to seventh.
Schatz’s victory extends his DIRTcar Nationals points lead to a monumental margin heading into the final night of Sprint Car racing at Volusia Sunday evening. As always, if you cannot make it to the track, watch live on DIRTVision.com.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 15-Donny Schatz [$10,000]; 2. 41-Jason Johnson [$5,500]; 3. 49X-Tim Shaffer [$3,200]; 4. 49-Brad Sweet [$2,800]; 5. 5-David Gravel [$2,500]; 6. 2M-Kerry Madsen [$2,300]; 7. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$2,200]; 8. 10H-Chad Kemenah [$2,100]; 9. 13X-Paul McMahan [$2,050]; 10. 2-Shane Stewart [$2,000]; 11. 26-Joey Saldana [$1,500]; 12. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$1,200]; 13. 9-Daryn Pittman [$1,100]; 14. 19-Brent Marks [$1,050]; 15. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [$1,000]; 16. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$900]; 17. 83-Cory Eliason [$800]; 18. 70-Dave Blaney [$800]; 19. 4K-Kasey Kahne [$800]; 20. 7S-Jason Sides [$800]; 21. 44-Trey Starks [$800]; 22. W20-Greg Wilson [$]; 23. 4-Parker Price-Miller [$800]; 24. 27-Greg Hodnett [$800]; 25. 13-Clyde Knipp [$]; 26. 21-Brian Brown [$800] Lap Leaders: Jason Johnson 1-28, Donny Schatz 29-30; KSE Hard Charger Award: 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[+14]
-World of Outlaws Press Release
-Photo credit: Paul Arch