OCALA, FL — For the second time in as many days, Donny Schatz is an Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions main event winner in Ocala, Florida; scoring night two of the Sixth Annual Winter Nationals at Bubba Raceway Park. Schatz, pilot of the Tony Stewart Racing/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/No. 15, took command of the 30-lap feature program on lap 25, overtaking the “Steel City Outlaw” Tim Shaffer with an aggressive slide job nearing the exit of turn four. The Fargo, North Dakota, native scored $5,000 for his efforts, now increasing his career total to 15 against “America’s Series.”
“This is really cool,” Schatz said. “Every team in this pit area worked hard all winter long, but I have a group of guys that I thoroughly love racing with. They are like brothers that I never had, and to be able to get to victory lane is something we all want to do. It feels extra special to do that with Arctic Cat on board with our program.”
After a pair of cautions during the first two circuits, one of which during the initial start which resulted in a complete restart, the Winter Nationals main event officially commenced with Tim Shaffer taking control at the front of the field from the outside-pole position. Despite Shaffer’s attempt to drive away from fourth starting Donny Schatz, the eight-time and defending World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion kept pace, never allowing Shaffer to escape on the open track, and eventually in traffic.
By lap 20, Schatz was on the back bumper of the Demyan-Rudzik Racing/No.49X, continuing his pursuit through traffic while repeatedly attempting to drive under Shaffer at the exit of turn four. A negated slide job attempt on lap 24 was followed by a successful slide job attempt on lap 25, allowing Schatz to officially take command for the first time.
Schatz drove on to score the four-digit payday, navigating through traffic along the bottom groove of the speedway for the remaining five circuits. Tim Shaffer followed in second, a second consecutive runner-up performance for the Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, native, followed by David Gravel, Kerry Madsen and Joey Saldana.
“Great race,” Schatz explained. “The track kinda threw me for a loop there at the start of that race. I kept trying to make the topside work in one and two. I’m not sure if it was wet, or my fuel load kept me too loose, but I couldn’t make it work. Eventually the track changed to work in our advantage. That race was fun, though; the whole race was fun.”
“We are getting close. Definitely feels good to be this competitive,” Tim Shaffer said. “Those Tony Stewart Racing guys are fast right now, no denying that. I guess anytime you can finish second behind Schatz is pretty good.”
The Sixth Annual Bubba Army Winter Nationals featuring the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions will conclude with a third and final program on Saturday evening, February 11. It will be the final Bubba Raceway Park appearance for the traveling Arctic Cat All Stars in 2017. The Winter Nationals finale will go 30 laps in distance, once again awarding a $5,000 top prize, as well as a full points toward the 2017 Arctic Cat All Star championship.
Those seeking additional news and information regarding Bubba Raceway Park, such as gate times and ticket prices, should visit the facility live on the Web at www.bubbaracewaypark.com.
-All Star Circuit of Champions Press Release. Photo credit: Chris Seelman
A-Main 1 – (30 Laps)
1. 15-Donny Schatz ; 2. 49x-Tim Shaffer ; 3. 5-David Gravel ; 4. 2M-Kerry Madsen ; 5. 17s-Joey Saldana ; 6. 24-Rico Abreu ; 7. 10H-Chad Kemenah ; 8. 4p-Paul McMahan ; 9. 27-Greg Hodnett ; 10. 18-Ian Madsen ; 11. 22-Cole Duncan ; 12. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 13. 21-Carson Short ; 14. 13D-Danny Dietrich ; 15. 17-Caleb Helms ; 16. 14T-Tyler Clem ; 17. 17B-Steve Buckwalter ; 18. 13-Brandon Matus ; 19. 5M-Max Stambaugh ; 20. 7J-Joe Swanson ; 21. 14-Tony Stewart ; 22. 7C-Caleb Armstrong ; 23. 49H-Bradley Howard ; 24. 8M-TJ Michael ; 25. 4-Danny Smith ; 26. 59-Ryan Smith