ROSSBURG, Ohio — Despite a two-month wait thanks to a rain postponement, Donny Schatz completed a sweep of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series portion of #LetsRaceTwo at Eldora Speedway on Wednesday night.
Schatz grabbed the top spot on lap eight of the 30-lap feature, courtesy of an inside sweep around rival Brad Sweet, then dominated the remaining 23 laps for his fifth Outlaw victory of the season.
The 10-time and defending series champion had been notably absent from the winner’s circle for much of the season, but now has wins in back-to-back weeks going into the prestigious Kings Royal weekend.
Wednesday night’s score marked the 288th Outlaw win of Schatz’s storied career, as well as his sixth victory in his last nine series appearances at the half-mile Ohio dirt track.
“My guys threw a couple ideas at me before the feature that they thought might work, and I knew tonight was the night to try things, because we want to be spot on for the rest of the week,” said Schatz, who won the first half of #LetsRaceTwo back in May. “We tried something, and there were some things that worked really well … but at the same time I couldn’t quite keep up with the track at times. We made it work, though.
“We were good on the bottom, but even at the end, as the groove moved around we could get through the middle and the top when we needed to in traffic,” he added. “Hats off to my team, because they made this happen. It’s pretty cool. I didn’t think the weather would let us get it in, but we did!”
Though DIRTvision Fast Pass Dash winner Carson Macedo led the field to green, it was Sweet taking command in the initial start, racing to the lead from the outside pole as Schatz challenged Macedo for runner-up honors in the early going.
It took Schatz five and a half laps to dispatch Macedo and move into second, but once he did he hunted Sweet down in a hurry. Barely a lap later, he was alongside the NAPA No. 49 for the race lead, and by the time the field raced off turn two the Toco Warranty No. 15 was in front to stay.
As Schatz worked traffic effortlessly, David Gravel found himself closing on Sweet for second. His charge was further aided by a caution at the halfway point, when Kerry Madsen slowed to a stop in turn four.
Gravel actually lost a spot to Logan Schuchart on the ensuing restart, but methodically worked his way back forward amid a pair of restarts in the second half before finally getting back to Schuchart with three laps left as the Shark Racing driver got hung up in the waning laps of the race.
After finally passing Schuchart on lap 28, Gravel ended his night with a runner-up finish, despite the stress of having to change an engine in his No. 41 after the DIRTvision Fast Pass Dash earlier in the night.
“It was chaotic all night,” admitted Gravel. “Tyler, Patrick and Phillip thrashed on it all night long. We broke a steering gear at the beginning of the night, changed that, and then changed the motor before the main. For not getting to fine-tune on it very much all night, we had a damn good car there in the A.”
Schuchart completed the podium after his back-and-forth battle with Gravel in the closing stages. He was followed across the finish line by Sweet, who faded to fourth, and Ohio native Greg Wilson.
Rico Abreu, Kraig Kinser, Brent Marks, Brian Brown and Macedo capped off the top 10.
Tyler Courtney won the USAC sprint car feature.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.