Donny Schatz started on the outside pole for the main eventon Tuesday night at Ohsweken Speedway, sized up the lead for 11 laps then swept in front and never looked back, crushing the competition for his 13th World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series victory of the season.
For the second consecutive race, Jason Sides started on the pole. He charged out to an early lead until he was slowed by lapped traffic on lap 11, allowing Schatz around him. Schatz then faced traffic himself, coming up on several pairs of cars racing the top and bottom for position, forcing the five-time series champ to navigate three-car battles several times.
Once in front, though, Schatz was nearly untouchable in his STP/Armor All J&J, taking the checkered flag nearly 7 seconds ahead of runner-up Chad Kemenah.
“We just had to figure out where the racetrack was going to be, move around a little bit,” said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. “We started moving around and found a different line and got rolling and that was really fun. There were lapped cars racing each other and we were able to stick our nose in there and get past them.”
Kemenah made a strong showing, starting third and passing Sides late in the race to pick up second position in his Hampshire Engines Maxim. Kemenah was noticeably quicker than much of the competition, but was never able to mount a challenge against Schatz for the lead.
“We went out late in qualifying and had a good run,” said Kemenah, of Elvada, Ohio. “We had a pretty strong heat race, and missed it a bit in the dash and Donny got around us. But overall to come out here second I can’t complain, we’re really happy with it. Jason and I were racing really hard for a couple of laps, but Jason will race you really clean, so you’ve got to race those guys clean. This is a morale boost headed into Pevely, which is a really fun race, then of course the Knoxville Nationals.”
Championship leader Daryn Pittman started seventh. Early in the race he picked up several positions before it seemed as if he would settle for a top-five finish. Then a late-race surge lifted him to third as the race wound down.
“I would have liked to have had some yellows, but they said Schatz won by six seconds so I think anyone would be fooling themselves to say they just needed a yellow to beat him,” said Pittman, a native of Owasso, Okla. “We were moving forward the first few laps, but then we really stalled out. With about five to go we found out where we needed to be and got really quick. We ran Sides, McMahan and Tony down really quickly. We definitely made big improvements from our heat race to the dash and then again for the A-main. We ran third, and sometimes that’s just all we got.”
The third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place drivers of Pittman, Sides, Tony Stewart and Paul McMahan came to the stripe separated by just over one-second. Sides held on for fourth while Stewart finished fifth.
Shane Stewart was ninth after starting 15th to pick up the KSE Hard Charger award.
Schatz’s victory closes the gap at the top of the championship point standings another by six points. Pittman still sits at the top while Schatz is now only 79 points back. McMahan is third in points and another strong run helps him continue to hold pace with the top two.
The series is back in action stateside on Friday and Saturday night in Pevely, Mo., for the $20,000 to win Federated Auto Parts Ironman 55 weekend at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55.