GRAND FORKS, ND — North Dakota’s own Donny Schatz continued his dominance at River Cities Speedway, passing race-long leader Kerry Madsen on Lap 25 to win his 11th World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series Feature of 2018. It was Schatz’s sixth win in his last seven starts at the bullring. Brad Sweet came forward to finish second with Madsen settling for third.
The “Mad Man” Kerry Madsen won the Sears Craftsman Dash, earning the pole for the 40-lap Feature alongside Schatz. Local driver Austin Pierce brought out the first of many cautions in the lengthy event, flipping off the banking on the opening lap. Pierce, the 2017 NOSA Sprints Champion, was uninjured in the accident.
Madsen got the jump on the start once again, utilizing the bottom of the speedway as Schatz pounded the cushion. Lap 6 saw third-starting Austin McCarl go for a light tumble in turn four, bringing out the Red Flag once again. McCarl completed the race with a damaged top wing.
Four laps later, Cory Eliason and Jade Hastings bounced off the racing surface, bringing out another caution and keeping the leaders out of lapped traffic. On each restart, Schatz, on the top, was able to stay with Madsen for a lap or two before the Australian would distance himself on the bottom.
Sheldon Haudenschild’s Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing No.17 lost power while running sixth on Lap 17, bringing out the caution. A caution on the ensuing double-file restart brought the field back to Green under single-file conditions.
Following that caution, for the first time, the leaders reached traffic on the bullring. Lapped cars were littered all over the racing surface. Madsen was able to clear the first few cars getting underneath them while remaining committed to the bottom. Schatz would follow suit on the bottom by some of the lappers, but the entire capacity crowd at River Cities Speedway knew the Tony Stewart Racing No.15 would be able to maintain speed on the cushion as well.
Schatz capitalized on Madsen’s inability to clear a slower car on the backstretch, powering around the No.2M off of turn four to lead Lap 25. Schatz used the same line to clear the lapped car before getting back to the bottom to protect the lead.
Brad Sweet followed Schatz on the cushion around Madsen as well and would line up next to Schatz with eight laps remaining after the caution flew for Jason Johnson. Schatz motored away on the restart and did the same thing on the final restart with four laps to go to win his 11th Feature of the 2018 campaign and extend his lead atop the Point Standings.
Sweet would finish 2.369 seconds behind the Fargo, ND native with Madsen settling for third.
“I kept trying that top and I knew if we got into traffic I might be able to make it work,” Schatz said in Victory Lane. When asked about the multitude of cautions, Schatz simply cited that they are part of racing, but the early cautions had him wondering how the track would change as the race would go on. The North Dakota native savored the emotion of the hometown victory saying, “You never know when your last win is going to be.”
Brad Sweet was upbeat about his runner-up finish. “We were fast, I had a couple of lines working in one and two. I would have liked to give Donny a better run for his money, but he never missed a mark out front. Eventually, we’ll figure out how to beat him here,” Sweet added with a smile.
Kerry Madsen led the first 24 laps but settled for third after losing the lead in lapped traffic. “I didn’t do a good enough job. I became immobile in traffic. I tried to play a patient game and I should have been more aggressive,” Madsen said honestly before thanking his team for giving him a great car.
Shane Stewart had a strong run coming from 11th to finish fourth with Daryn Pittman completing the top five. Dominic Scelzi charged from 21st to sixth, but Mark Dobmeier grabbed KSE Hard Charger honors coming from a provisional starting 25th to finish ninth. The massive crowd at River Cities was engaged all evening, especially when track regular Thomas Kennedy set Quick Time and won his Heat Race.
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series continues its 40th Anniversary Season Sunday at Nodak Speedway in Minot, ND. If you can’t make it to the track, watch every lap LIVE on DIRTVision.com!
Feature (40 Laps): 1. 15-Donny Schatz [$10,000]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [$5,500]; 3. 2M-Kerry Madsen [$3,200]; 4. 2-Shane Stewart [$2,800]; 5. 9-Daryn Pittman [$2,500]; 6. 41S-Dominic Scelzi [$2,300]; 7. 18-Ian Madsen [$2,200]; 8. 19-Brent Marks [$2,100]; 9. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier [$1,250]; 10. 5-David Gravel [$2,000]; 11. 83-Cory Eliason [$1,500]; 12. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,200]; 13. 1A-Jacob Allen [$1,100]; 14. W20-Greg Wilson [$1,050]; 15. 21K-Thomas Kennedy [$1,000]; 16. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$900]; 17. 19L-R.J. Johnson [$800]; 18. 17A-Austin McCarl [$800]; 19. 8H-Jade Hastings [$800]; 20. 7S-Jason Sides [$800]; 21. 27-Chris Ranten [$800]; 22. 41-Jason Johnson [$800]; 23. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$800]; 24. 9N-Wade Nygaard [$]; 25. 97G-Hunter Schuerenberg [$800]; 26. 2A-Austin Pierce [$800]
-World of Outlaws Press Release
-Photo credit: Tony Stewart Racing