Schatz Completes Ocala Sweep

Donny Schatz (15) races under Tony Stewart Saturday night at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. (Al Steinberg photo)
Donny Schatz (15) races under Tony Stewart Saturday night at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. (Al Steinberg photo)

OCALA, Fla. — Donny Schatz closed out the UNOH All-Star Circuit of Champions sprint car portion of the Bubba Army Nationals at Bubba Motorsports Park Saturday night with his second consecutive victory, worth $7,000.

The WoO superstar’s victor came at the expense of polesitter Dale Blaney, who got tangled up with a slowing Steve Kinser after leading through lap 20 and dropped to fifth before getting his momentum back.

Tim Shaffer took advantage of the shuffle to grab second, with Tony Stewart finishing third ahead of Blaney, Daryn Pittman, David Gravel, Greg Wilson and Paul McMahan.

“Lapped cars won us the race again tonight,” declared Schatz. “I was hanging with Dale waiting for traffic to come into play when he got messed up. It would have been tough to pass him otherwise, as cars were going in the infield and throwing loose dirt out, which killed the track.”

Dash winner Blaney had Shaffer alongside for the start, with Schatz and Stewart in the second row. Shaffer blew by Blaney briefly as they lapped the tail enders on lap eight, but Blaney got the lead back the next time around and prevailed through the first yellow on lap 14.

With the lapped cars out of the way, Blaney got away from Shaffer on the restart, with Schatz then getting alongside the All-Star champion a couple of times before finally putting him away as they came off turn four on lap 17. By then, Blaney was catching the tail again, with lapping tougher than ever as the track had blackened considerably and everyone wanted to be in the same line.

Schatz had closed on Blaney when suddenly Kinser’s right-rear tire went flat just as the leader caught him, slowing him markedly and letting Schatz and the other blow by the pinned in Blaney. From there, Schatz was home free.

“Most of the guys were good and gave the leaders room,” observed Stewart, the obvious favorite of the huge crowd. “But the track had rubber on the bottom and guys were throwing the dust out on it, so there wasn’t much to get a hold of. Still, it was a lot of fun tonight!”

Shaffer agreed, saying, “It was sure better than last night, when I crashed right at the start. All those lapped cars actually make the racing good, especially when you’re running second or third like we were. Things just fell Schatz’s way tonight. He’s always good and this time there was a lot of luck involved too.”

The finish:

Donny Schatz, Tim Shaffer, Tony Stewart, Dale Blaney, Daryn Pittman, David Gravel, Greg Wilson, Paul McMahan, Jason Sides, Lance Dewease, Danny Dietrich, Cody Darrah, Steve Buckwalter, Cap Henry, Danny Holtgraver, Kraig Kinser, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Danny Smith, Caleb Helms, Jack Sodeman Jr., Steve Kinser, Jac Haudenschild, Danny Lasoski, Logan Schuchart.