GRAND FORKS, N.D. — It seems only fitting that in his native North Dakota, Donny Schatz achieved a milestone moment on Friday night at River Cities Speedway when he earned the 153rd World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series victory of his career, tying him with Mark Kinser for third all-time behind only Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell.
On an “edge-of-your-seat” kind of night, with battles for position seemingly on every inch of the bullring, Kerry Madsen dominated the 40-lapper early, then Cody Darrah surged to the front in heavy traffic, and finally Schatz and Darrah raced side-by-side before Schatz slid in front with two laps to go and held on for the emotional win.
“It wasn’t pretty, I know that,” said Schatz, who was born in Minot, N.D., and resides in Fargo, about an hour-and-a-half south of River Cities. “It was on two wheels, no wheels, it was kind of all over the place. I was kind of nervous there the first part, I just could not get the thing to roll the corners very well. This STP crew, I can’t say enough about them. They’re unbelievable. We got qualifying a lot better. Generally we race a lot better, but tonight it wasn’t that way. They did a great job, they deserve this. They kept digging and let me have a little fun and we got the victory.”
Schatz, who was pulling double-duty at the track by also racing a dirt late model on Friday night, topped qualifying for only the third time this season in his Tony Stewart Racing STP/Armor All car. An eight-car invert in the dash forced him to dig hard, leading to a fifth-place dash finish and setting him up for a big push forward in the A-main, eventually moving in front for good on lap 39.