DODGE CITY, Kan. – Donny Schatz knows his way away around the three-eighths-mile Dodge City Raceway Park clay oval.
That fact was apparent during Friday’s opening leg of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series Boot Hill Showdown, as the 10-time series champion from Fargo, N.D., dominated the field in the 25-lapper for his ninth series win of the year.
Aboard the Tony Stewart Racing/Curb-Agajanian Racing Ford Performance/Toco Warranty No. 15, Schatz led all but one lap of the main event and beat David Gravel to the finish line following a six-lap sprint set up by a late caution flag.
“The track went away a little quicker than I thought that it would,” Schatz commented. “I like that; we were really able to move around and the guys had the car working flawlessly.”
After posting a heat race win, Schatz drew the one pill for the Dash and outlasted fellow front row starter Gravel to secure the pole position for the feature.
Schatz got the better of Gravel at the drop of the green and the start of the feature, though Gravel used a nifty turn-four crossover to lead the opening lap before Schatz retook command. From there, Schatz kept the JJR No. 41 and third-starter Logan Schuchart at bay, though traffic came into play in short order.
After opening up nearly a half straightaway lead, Schatz’s lead began to evaporate as the laps ticked off, with Gravel closing the gap.
A caution with six laps to go gave Schatz a clear track, and he used it to cruise on to the stripe ahead of Gravel, with Schuchart filling out the podium in the Shark Racing No. 1s.
Track record holder Ian Madsen held fourth throughout the race, with past Boot Hill Showdown winner Kraig Kinser rounding out the top five.
Sheldon Haudenschld was sixth ahead of Daryn Pittman, Carson Macedo, Brad Sweet and Shane Stewart.
Schatz also increased his points lead over Sweet, who finished ninth after struggling to find his way forward. Schatz now leads Sweet by 28 points.
“It’s not the year you’ve had when you’ve won 20 plus a year, but, hey, it’s a very competitive deal at the moment,” Schatz noted. “I mean, look at all of the cars that have run good. We’re in a position to try and run for a championship and that’s all you can ask for when you start the year.”
While Schatz scored his fifth Boot Hill Showdown triumph at DCRP and third in a row, Blaine Walt made it two wins in a row in the companion IMCA Sport Modified feature.
In the 15-lap Sport Mod main event, Walt battled past Brian May on the sixth round en route to his second consecutive DCRP triumph.
Walt took the checkered flag ahead of track champion Jeff Kaup, who climbed up to second in the closing rounds. May, Mitch Beusel and Kyle Wiens rounded out the top five.
To view complete results, advance to the next page.