It’s A Donny Schatz Sweep In Las Vegas

Donny Schatz in victory lane at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last weekend. (Michael Diers photo)

LAS VEGAS — Donny Schatz held off hard-charging Rico Abreu to complete a sweep of the FVP Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday night.

It was Schatz’s fifth victory in six WoO races this season and his eighth overall sprint car triumph. It was also his 11th career triumph at the half-mile oval.

Schatz added another $15,000 to the $15,000 he won on the opening night of the event, having picked up the Badlands Bonus for both races.

“All I can say is, I finally got to ‘Park It,'” said Schatz in front of a roaring crowd. “We had something happen there in the mid-part of the race — I just couldn’t get into rhythm. I tried to get through lapped traffic and Rico (Abreu) obviously got by us there on the restart. I got in good position to get out front and had clear track after that. It’s been tricky here, but if it was easy then it wouldn’t be fun for any of us.”

Schatz started on the outside of the first row for the 30-lap feature and took the lead from fellow series regular Logan Schuchart almost instantaneously to when the green flag waved. However, a yellow flag with one lap complete brought a restart, giving Shchuchart the opportunity to regain the lead and pull away to a 1.115-second lead.

Meanwhile, Schatz was battling Abreu for second.

Lap 12 may have provided the pivotal moment of the feature, as Schuchart, Abreu and Schatz spread nearly three-wide across the frontstretch. The three virtually locked wheels – a few feet from one another. Schatz reaction time was the quickest of the three, as he weaved through Schuchart and Abreu for the lead entering turn one.

Two laps later, Abreu overtook Schuchart, but Schatz was two seconds ahead at that point. Schuchart quickly ran him down and used the cusion to take the lead the lead on lap 21.

The shear speed of his No. 24R Abreu Vineyards/Priority Aviation car though caused him to tap the wall in turn four, breaking his momentum. Schatz took advantage of Abreu’s mistake and reclaimed the lead, but a yellow flag negated the move and Abreu led the field on the restart.

Abreu chose the bottom on the double-file restart and Schatz roared to the top of the track and raced away for his fifth consecutive victory.

“I was just thinking about what to do to stay ahead,” said Abreu, who finished second and third in two nights in Vegas. “Just some poor decisions there at the end of the race on my part. I just live and learn. You learn so much racing with the Outlaws. The pace is so fast, so you try your hardest every lap. When you’re trying really hard, it’s easy to make mistakes. I felt like once we got to traffic and I got passed Donny, I just made bad decisions behind lapped cars. I just get so nervous trying to clear guys – to try not to clear them too far to blow through the cushion and hit the wall. We’re knocking on the door and everyone is chasing this No. 15 Arctic Cat car.”

Schuchart finished third.

“Any time you’re improving, that’s key,” Schuchart said. “We’ve been here a couple times and really haven’t had good finishes. Our season started really slow, but we got our engine working really good, and our guys are doing great. We had a good car this week, and we improved every night. But any time you start on the pole and go backward, it’s not what you want to happen. The World of Outlaws is a very tough group of drivers and teams, and to be sitting out here…you know you did a good job.”

By sweeping the Vegas stretch, Schatz is the only driver eligible for another $10,000 from Badlands Motor Speedway’s bonus system. He will attempt that feat at the Outlaw FanFest on July 1-2 at Badlands Motor Speedway. Schatz joking said, “Yeah, no pressure. But we feed off of that.”

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