CALISTOGA, Calif. — It shouldn’t be a surprise that Donny Schatz parked in victory lane Sunday at Calistoga Speedway.
Schatz continued his recent tear in dominating fashion, leading all 25 laps to record his ninth World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series win of the season and his second at the scenic half mile.
The victory was the latest highlight in a hot streak that dates back to late July. Schatz has recorded six wins and 15 top fives in the last 17 points races, including a current streak of six consecutive top-five finishes.
The success has also built a 50-point advantage in the championship standings, which is the largest difference between first place and second all season.
“We’re on attack mode,” Schatz said. “These guys definitely got their game face on. They’ve got an awesome machine behind me and we’ve got our motors running really good, so we’re happy.”
Schatz drove around polesitter Kerry Madsen as the duo exited turn two on the opening lap only to see a caution for Chad Kemenah, who came to a stop in turn two. As the caution flag was waved, Jonathan Allard flipped in turn four to cause a red flag.
Schatz left little room for error on the complete restart. He rocketed to the lead by the time the drivers reached the flag stand and began to pull away.
“It was very critical,” Madsen said. “I’m not saying we would have won the race if we got the (lead on the) start, but it would have helped.”
Traffic came into play on lap four, but it didn’t help Madsen close the gap. On lap 13, something on the right front of Cody Lamar’s car broke and it sent him into the exit gate between turn four and the frontstretch. The impact shot his car back across the track in front of Schatz and Madsen, who were able to avoid the melee.
“Man, that was close,” Madsen said. “He sped across there like a NASCAR wreck. I’m just glad he’s alright. That was a hard hit.”
The gate was badly damaged and required more than a half hour of maintenance before the feature resumed. However, once it did, Schatz was hardly challenged as he cruised to his second win in the last four races.
Madsen held off fast qualifier Sammy Swindell for the runner-up position.
“Every time I’d try to get close down there I’d kind of lose the front and get up on that curb, and I’d lose way more than I’d ever gained,” Swindell said. “I think I could run faster out there by myself because I could back up and catch them. So I know the car was fast, but (the track was) just one lane and nothing else to do.”
Tim Kaeding ended fourth and Joey Saldana placed fifth.