KNOXVILLE, Iowa — If it wasn’t obvious before, Donny Schatz made it clear on Saturday night: The path to winning at Knoxville Raceway goes through him.
Schatz charged from seventh to victory in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Mediacom Shootout at the famous half-mile, where he has won five of the past six Knoxville Nationals crowns in addition to winning six additional series races there since 2006.
In a field of 51 cars, it was Brian Brown, Craig Dollansky and Tim Kaeding who tried to prevent Schatz from returning to Knoxville’s victory lane, a place Schatz practically calls home. Brown earned his second pole of the season and jumped out to a quick lead before Dollansky was able to slide into the top spot on lap 9. Meanwhile, Schatz reeled in Kaeding, then Brown and set his sights on Dollansky.
On lap 18, Schatz stalked Dollansky through lapped traffic in his STP/Armor All J&J, finally making his move on the exit of turn two as they headed down the backstretch. A red flag for Rager Phillips in turn four forced a restart, and a multi-car crash on the frontstretch led to another, helping Schatz secure his advantage. Schatz then pulled away over the waning laps, leaving Dollansky and Brown to battle for second, which Dollansky took in the Eyecon Trail Cameras Maxim. Kerry Madsen and Paul McMahan went side-by-side in a race for fourth, which Madsen earned in the Keneric Racing KPC.
“This place is just unique, and we’ve come here so many times in the past and were so terrible and then one day figured it out,” said Schatz. “These guys on this STP team do a phenomenal job and when it works it seems like it works at a lot of places.”
Schatz made the pass for the lead on the top of the track, and then extended his advantage by working the bottom groove. The victory was Schatz’s third of the season, one behind point leader Daryn Pittman and Friday night winner Tim Kaeding.