Schatz Conquers Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track
Shane Stewart started from the outside pole and led the first 23 laps of Friday night's Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, but Donny Schatz used an expert slide job in Turn 2 on Lap 24 to speed away and collect his ninth World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars victory of the season. Schatz started second and struggled to keep pace with Stewart's No. 2 Kyle Larson Racing entry in the early stages. On the second and final restart, however, Schatz used a great jump to draw even - and once Schatz's No. 15 Tony Stewart Racing car pulled to the inside of Stewart's car, there was no stopping the nine-time and defending series champion from claiming his 11th win at Charlotte and his 270th career Outlaw triumph.
Stewart finished a season-best second with Logan Schuchart, last year's Outlaw Showdown winner, third. Brad Sweet and Sheldon Haudenschild completed the top five. A pair of NASCAR standouts also joined the action, as Kasey Kahne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. treated Friday as a dirt-flying prelude to their bids for glory in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Kahne's No. 4 Kasey Kahne Racing machine finished 11th in the A-Main, while Stenhouse drove his eponymous No. 17BC entry to 16th in a race heavy on passing - except at the front once Schatz assumed control.
"I don't know how this crew does it," Schatz said. "We have been plagued with being short a guy all year long. Thanks to a couple of guys from Stewart-Haas Racing who helped us out. I knew at the beginning of the race when Shane was setting a quick pace that the track would change and it was going to move around a little bit. I knew (the crew) would be chewing my butt out if I didn't win this race.
"This place is tricky every time we come here. It's fast, it's slick at the top and you have to get to the bottom. … I just happened to be in a good spot at the right time. Shane hasn't won a race yet this season so I knew he was digging and he'd try everything he could, but we were just in a good spot. It seems like we do better when we face adversity. I can't wait to get to the next race."
Stewart said he pulled out all the stops in his efforts to keep Schatz at bay.
"It's kind of hard to tell what to do when you're out front," Stewart said. "I've been doing this a long time and when you lose races like that, you kind of kick yourself in the butt a little bit. We had a strong finish, though. This team deserves to be on the podium, Kyle (Larson) wants it to be on the podium and we were able to do it."
A high-octane, lead-swapping South Eastern Crate Association Late Model feature saw Gaffney, South Carolina, native Dillon Brown prevail in a hard-fought A-Main. Brown held off Travis Pennington, Furman Parton, John Ruggiero and Matt Long - Charlotte Motor Speedway's vice president of corporate sales - to score an emotional win.
"That was a lot of fun," Brown said. "I've got to thank Furman. He checked up for me and I checked up for him. We tried to put on a good show in a crate car for these fans and you don't see one like that too much. It was a lot of fun."
The World of Outlaws World Finals - dirt racing's biggest, most spectacular race weekend of the year - will commence on Thursday, Nov. 1, and will run through Saturday, Nov. 3.
World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 1S - Logan Schuchart; 2. 07 - Gerard McIntyre; 3. 9 - Daryn Pittman; 4. 41 - Jason Johnson; 5. 4 - Kasey Kahne; 6. 1A - Jacob Allen; 7. 19 - Brent Marks; 8. 17BC - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.; 9. 5A - Justin Barger
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 15 - Donny Schatz; 2. 2 - Shane Stewart; 3. 17 - Sheldon Haudenschild; 4. W20 - Greg Wilson; 5. 7S - Jason Sides; 6. 20 - Nick Drake; 7. 5B - Logan Seavey; 8. 1X - Scott Hunter; 9. 4B - Steve Butler
Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 18 - Ian Madsen; 2. 49 - Brad Sweet; 3. 5 - David Gravel; 4. 11K - Kraig Kinser; 5. 13 - Clyde Knipp; 6. 22 - Cole Duncan; 7. 4S - Danny Smith; 8. 44 - Trey Starks
Dash (6 Laps): 1. 15 - Donny Schatz; 2. 2 - Shane Stewart; 3. 49 - Brad Sweet; 4. 1S - Logan Schuchart; 5. 18 - Ian Madsen; 6. 07 - Gerard McInytre
B-Main (12 laps): 1. 17BC - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.; 2. 19 - Brent Marks; 3. 5B - Logan Seavey; 4. 44 - Trey Starks; 5. 4B - Steve Butler; 6. 4S - Danny Smith; 7. 5A - Justin Barger; 8. 1X - Scott Hunter
A-Main (30 Laps): 1. 15 - Donny Schatz; 2. 2 - Shane Stewart; 3. 1S - Logan Schuchart; 4. 49 - Brad Sweet ; 5. 17 - Sheldon Haudenschild; 6. 18 - Ian Madsen; 7. 9 - Daryn Pittman; 8. 41 - Jason Johnson; 9. 5 - David Gravel; 10. 07 - Gerard McIntyre; 11. 4 - Kasey Kahne; 12. 19 - Brent Marks; 13. 11K - Kraig Kinser; 14. W20 - Greg Wilson; 15. 22 - Cole Duncan; 16. 17BC - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.; 17. 44 - Trey Starks; 18. 5B - Logan Seavey; 19. 7S - Jason Sides; 20. 13 - Clyde Knipp; 21. 4B - Steve Butler; 22. 1A - Jacob Allen; 23. 20 - Nick Drake; 24. 4S - Danny Smith.
SECA Late Models
B-Main 1 (8 Laps): 1. 78 - Thomas Robinson; 2. 28 - Taylor Puckett; 3. 6R - Shane Riner; 4. J1 - Joshua Bishop; 5. 17J - Jeff Johnson; 6. 28S - Bob Schwartzmiller; 7. 1J - James Jameson; 8. G18 - Chris Goose Calvert; 9. 5 - Colby Quick; 10. 11C - Trevor Collins; 11. 26 - James Fair
B-Main 2 (8 Laps): 1. 9 - Ryan Atkins; 2. 00Jr - Richard Kuiken Jr.; 3. 16 - Daniel Allen; 4. 08 - Layton Sullivan; 5. 1C - Kenny Collins; 6. 8 - Ron Parker; 7. 14C - Chuck Bowie; 8. 22 - Nick Deitz; 9. K9 - Deano Long; 10. 27 - James Plemmons; 11. 62 - Jacob Lehn
A-Main (25 laps): 1. 6 - Dillon Brown; 2. 01 - Travis Pennington; 3. 6P - Furman Parton; 4. 44 - John Ruggiero; 5. 55 - Matt Long; 6. T1 - Timbo Mangum; 7. 9 - Ryan Atkins; 8. 28 - Taylor Puckett; 9. 6R - Shane Riner; 10. 18P - Gray Parton; 11. 67 - Bryan Mullins; 12. 08 - Layton Sullivan; 13. 78 - Thomas Robinson; 14. J1 - Joshua Bishop; 15. 16 - Daniel Allen; 16. 17J - Jeff Johnson; 17. 14C - Chuck Bowie; 18. 8 - Tom Parker; 19. 1J - James Jameson; 20. 00Jr - Richard Kuiken Jr.; 21. 1C - Kenny Collins; 22. 21 - Owens Osteen; 23. 4 - Kale Green; 24. 28S - Bob Schwartzmiller