Charlotte, NC – In fitting fashion, Donny Schatz came from 10th at The Dirt Track at Charlotte to win the final night of the World Finals presented by Can-Am. Schatz wrapped up his 10th World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series Championship on Thursday.
Logan Schuchart, who exchanged slide jobs with Schatz coming to the white flag, settled for second with ninth-starting Brad Sweet completing the podium.
Spencer Bayston, in search of his first career World of Outlaws win, won the Sears Craftsman Dash, earning the pole for the 30-lap feature alongside Carson Macedo, who won the second Dash.
It was Macedo, who will join the Outlaws full-time with Kyle Larson Racing in 2019, getting the jump on the initial start to lead the opening circuit. Bayston remained in tow as fifth-starting Logan Schuchart darted to third on the second lap.
Schuchart, who came from 20th to complete the podium Saturday afternoon, took second from Bayston on Lap 8 and set his eyes on Macedo.
Schuchart went for the lead on Lap 9 with a big slide job in turn four, but Macedo powered around the Shark Racing No.1S. Schuchart took the lead on Lap 11 with a slide job in turn two but once again Macedo was ready with a slide job of his own out of turn four to lead the lap.
Jason Sides brought out the first caution of the event on Lap 14. Schatz, who started 10th, went from sixth to fourth on the restart before Sheldon Haudenschild slowed on the following lap.
On that restart Schatz maneuvered by Bayston and Schuchart for the runner-up position and began closing in on Macedo.
Macedo set a strong pace and looked poised out front in his second night racing for KLR but it was not meant to be as a flat right rear tire sent the Lemoore, CA native into the wall with 23 laps complete.
Schatz inherited the lead, but his job was far from done as a determined Schuchart stayed right with the champion on the restart. As Schuchart closed in on Schatz, the sellout crowd roared in anticipation of an upset victory.
With two laps remaining, Schuchart pulled the big slide job through turn one and two but Schatz returned the favor on the other end to remain in command coming to the white flag. A last-ditch effort from Schuchart came up just short as Schatz went on to win his 22nd Feature of the season.
When asked about the pace set by young guns Macedo and Schuchart, Schatz said, “The sport’s pretty damn bright. Even the old guys can still get it done.”
“Hats off to my guys, they have worked their butts off all season. I’m the hardest guy in the pits to work for because if it’s not perfect, I’m not happy,” Schatz said with a smile next to his Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing No.15. “These guys do an excellent job night in and night out. I felt great on that restart with seven to go and I knew it would take someone with a lot of speed to stay with me and sure enough here comes the 1S.”
Before celebrating his victory, Schatz showed true sportsmanship going over and congratulating Schuchart on a great, clean race.
“I knew it was going to be tough to beat him. I had one shot and couldn’t make it stick but it is great to be able to have a good, clean race with the 10-time Champion,” Schuchart said.
When asked about the progress of Shark Racing, who just secured Drydene Performance as a title sponsor, Schuchart couldn’t help but get emotional, “We have grown tremendously, and it all starts with [Bobby Allen]. I’m so proud to be his grandson,” Schuchart said to a huge ovation.
Brad Sweet clawed his way forward from ninth to finish on the podium.
"We’ve been in the hunt all year long. It was a great season and it was nice to end on the podium,” Sweet, who enjoyed a career-best season, said.
Tim Shaffer finished fourth, his second top-five of the day, with 11th-starting Gio Scelzi completing the top-five. Kraig Kinser earned KSE Hard Charger honors, advancing 13 positions after taking a provisional.
The 2018 World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series 40th Anniversary officially comes to an end tomorrow evening with the Awards Banquet. DIRTVision.com will be live streaming both the Sprint Car and Late Model banquets for free.
RESULTS (30 Laps): 1. 15-Donny Schatz [$12,000]; 2. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$5,500]; 3. 49-Brad Sweet [$3,200]; 4. 49X-Tim Shaffer [$2,800]; 5. 71-Giovanni Scelzi [$2,500]; 6. 39-Spencer Bayston [$2,300]; 7. 5-David Gravel [$2,200]; 8. 5M-Kerry Madsen [$2,100]; 9. 41-Joey Saldana [$2,050]; 10. 71P-Parker Price-Miller [$2,000]; 11. 2-Shane Stewart [$1,500]; 12. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$1,200]; 13. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$100]; 14. 18-Ian Madsen [$1,050]; 15. 9-Daryn Pittman [$1,000]; 16. 21-Brian Brown [$1,000]; 17. 7S-Jason Sides [$]; 18. 71X-Dominic Scelzi [$1,000]; 19. 87-Aaron Reutzel [$1,000]; 20. 13-Paul McMahan [$1,000]; 21. 19-Brent Marks [$1,000]; 22. 83-Cory Eliason [$1,000]; 23. W20-Greg Wilson [$]; 24. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$1,000]; 25. 1A-Jacob Allen [$]; 26. 17A-Austin McCarl [$1,000]; 27. 22-Carson Macedo [$1,000]; 28. 15H-Sam Hafertepe [$1,000]; Lap Leaders: Carson Macedo 1-23, Donny Schatz 24-30; KSE Hard Charger Award: 11K-Kraig Kinser[+12]
-World of Outlaws Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51.com