Donny Schatz drove around Joey Saldana on a restart six laps intoSunday night’s feature at Lebanon Valley Speedway then held off Daryn Pittman on a green-white-checkered finish to earn his 12th World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series victory of the season.
Saldana jumped out to the early lead but when Cody Darrah slowed on the front stretch bringing out a caution, it gave Schatz the chance he needed. Schatz darted to the lead on the ensuing restart pulling points-leader Daryn Pittman with him.
Schatz, who won the Silver Cup on Tuesday at Lernerville and the Summer Nationals title on Saturday at Williams Grove, tried to run away to the checkered flag but a late caution for Saldana’s blown tire set up a green-white-checkered finish.
Schatz again jumped out fast in his STP/Armor All J&J and powered around the half-mile oval to the checkered flag for his fifth victory in July and series-leading 12th overall.
“These STP guys did a phenomenal job, this is as good as we have been at Lebanon in a long time,” said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. “The car felt so good throughout the mid-part of the race, barring a flat tire we just had to make good laps. I started the race on bottom and with the green-white-checkered you just have to go as hard as you can for two laps and we did.”
Pittman held on to finish second in the Great Clips GF1, but thanks to a track-record qualifying lap he gained five bonus points that led him to actually gain a point in the overall championship over Schatz, who has quickly closed a large gap in the standings due to his recent run of wins.
“We got a good start and Joey surprisingly chose the bottom (on the lap 6 restart), especially after winning the first start on the outside,” said championship leader Pittman, a native of Owasso, Okla. “We were running fourth and Sammy and Joey moved up and we just got around them on the bottom. Honestly I never did find a spot on the track where I was really feeling good and making time.”
Paul McMahan charged from eighth to finish third in the CJB Motorsports GF1, giving him a solid podium finish.
“I got up to third and we kind of settled in right there, we weren’t as good as the other two on the restarts,” said McMahan, of Nashville, Tenn. “Our motors really didn’t take off very well so we lost a little bit on the starts. This isn’t one of my (better) places so to get on the podium is great, especially here. We’re coming off of a few bad races so to come back here to Lebanon Valley and get on the podium is awesome.”
Kerry Madsen crossed the line fourth while Sammy Swindell finished fifth. Steve Kinser collected the KSE Hard Charger bonus by gaining nine positions from his 16th-starting position.
For the second consecutive night, Tony Stewart was competing against the Outlaws. He started sixth but wound up going to the pits with mechanical trouble on the same late caution as when Saldana’s tire went down. He was credited with a 20th-place finish.
Pittman holds onto the championship point lead by 106 points over Schatz. McMahan sits in third 54 points behind Schatz. The Big Game Treestands teammates of Swindell and Craig Dollansky are fourth and fifth in the points, trailing Pittman by 412 and 450 points.
The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series invades central New York on Tuesday at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in Elbridge, just west of Syracuse, before heading north of the boarder for a three-race swing in Canada.