Donny Schatz showed he will be the driver to beat during the “Month of Money” for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series as he picked up three wins in a four-race span in the state of Ohio, including his third straight in the $50,000 Kings Royal.
The week began with Schatz winning the Brad Doty Classic at Attica Raceway Park. He followed that up with a triumph in the Knight Before the Kings Royal and capped it off with his fifth Kings Royal triumph, before the largest crowd in Kings Royal history. Shane Stewart opened the Kings Royal Weekend with a victory in the Joker’s Wild, which was his first win of the season.
The “Month of Money” rolls on this week with visits to Western Pennsylvania and the sprint car hotbed of Central Pennsylvania.
Donny Schatz became the first driver ever to win the Kings Royal in back-to-back seasons, last year. This year, he became the first driver to ever win the event in three consecutive years. Schatz now has five total Kings Royal crowns on his ever-growing resume. The nine-time and defending World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion took the lead in lapped traffic from Trey Starks on lap 15 and held off a hard-charging Brad Sweet on the last lap to score the $50,000 victory.
Oh so close
Brad Sweet made a spirited charge on the last lap as he nearly stole the Kings Royal from Donny Schatz, coming up just 0.189-seconds short at the line, which equated to about a half a car length. Sweet was able to cut a significant chunk out of Schatz’s lead in the late-going but had some trouble getting through lapped traffic as he was working to track the leader down.
A couple more records
The crowd for the Kings Royal was the largest in the history of the 35-year marquee event. Fans from just about every state in the country were in attendance, as well as several foreign countries.
Also, the 50/50 drawing during the finale of the Kings Royal also set a record, as the winner took home $50,199, which was $199 more than Schatz won for his victory in the race. Along with vigorous sales at the track, fans anywhere within the state of Ohio were also able to purchase 50/50 tickets online, which added a significant portion to the total.
What a debut
Cory Eliason made the most of his debut run in the Kings Royal, coming home third. After not qualifying for the main event on the first two nights of the event, the California native won the first heat race, which put him in the sixth starting spot for the 40-lap main event. After losing a spot on the opening lap, Eliason worked his way back forward and ran as high as second for about 10 laps of the Kings Royal.
Making his home state proud
Lee Jacobs was the highest finishing Ohio driver in the Kings Royal, taking the checkered flag in fourth. The veteran driver started 16th and found himself in the top 10 after the opening lap and continued to claw his way forward. For Jacobs, the son of Hall of Famer, Kenny Jacobs, it was his best career Kings Royal and best Outlaws finish of the season.
Back in the top five
Kraig Kinser worked his way from the 13th starting spot to finish fifth in the Kings Royal to earn his second career top five in the prestigious event. The third-generation driver now has a pair of top-five finishes this season with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series as he battles Brent Marks for the ninth spot in points.
The Haudenschild line
Sheldon Haudenschild used the patented “Haudenschild Line” around Eldora Speedway en route to a third-place run in the Knight Before the Kings Royal. Running just inches off the wall on a razor-thin cushion, he was able to jockey for position with some very fast cars as he ran among the top five.
Plenty of passing
Dave Blaney passed more cars than anyone during the Knight Before the Kings Royal. The former World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion started 22nd in the 30-lap main event and powered his way to a fifth-place finish. Prior to that, Blaney came from 10th to fourth in the Last Chance Showdown to earn a spot in the main event. In the finale of the Kings Royal, Rico Abreu came from 24th to ninth, which garnered him the Hard Charger Award. Also, Ian Madsen powered his way from 23rd to 10th.
Glued to the bottom
Greg Wilson has become well known for being able to keep his car glued to the extreme bottom of the track at Eldora Speedway. The veteran driver used that maneuver to score his initial World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series win at the half-mile in 2015. Wilson used the procedure again during the Knight Before the Kings Royal to come from 14th to second, which marked his best finish of the season.
A solid night
Hunter Schuerenberg rebounded from a tough qualifying session to garner a top-10 finish during the Knight Before the Kings Royal. The native of Sikeston, MO, timed 17th-fastest in Flight B of time trials, which put him sixth on the starting grid in the fifth heat race. Schuerenberg used an amazing start to take the lead on the opening lap and win that heat, which put him in the second dash. The veteran driver won that dash and started on the outside of the front row of the main event, where he wound up finishing eighth.
Back in victory
Shane Stewart picked up his first World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series win since last fall in the Joker’s Wild, which served as the opener of the Kings Royal Weekend. The veteran driver took the lead from Jacob Allen on a lap-11 restart and led the remainder of the 30-lap contest. The win was the 33rd of Stewart’s career with the Outlaws.
Jacob Allen continues to close in on his first career World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series win. In the opener at Eldora, the 24-year-old charged from the ninth starting spot to take the lead from David Gravel on the 10th lap. Shane Stewart got by him on a restart on the next lap. Allen ended up finishing seventh. The young driver followed that up with a ninth-place showing in the Knight Before the Kings Royal. Allen wrapped up the weekend with a solid sixth-place effort in the Kings Royal, which marked the first time in his young career that he qualified for the 40-lap event.
There is passing in sprint car racing
The Joker’s Wild saw a trio of drivers power their way through the field into the top 10. Leading the way was Brent Marks, who came from 20th to fifth to earn the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award for the sixth time this season, which is tied for the lead in that department. Kerry Madsen came from 16th to fourth. Ian Madsen, Kerry’s brother, worked his way from 22nd to ninth.
Donny Schatz’s win in the Brad Doty Classic marked the fourth time he has won the event. The first two victories came at Limaland Motorsports Park, while the most recent pair has been at Attica Raceway Park. Steve Kinser and Dale Blaney are the only other drivers who have won the Brad Doty Classic more than once, with each having been victorious twice in the race, which is co-promoted and honors the Hall of Famer and Ohio native. Schatz returned to the winner’s circle two races later in the Knight Before the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway to score his 275th career World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series win.
Kyle Larson powered his way from the 15th starting spot to finish second in the Brad Doty Classic. The Californian had an uphill battle all night, after getting called for a jumped start in the second heat race, which took him from the pole of that 10-lap contest to the third starting spot. Larson wound up finishing third in that heat race, which put him 15th on the grid for the 40-lap main event. He was able to carve his way through the field and closed on leader Donny Schatz in the late going but ran out of laps.
Sheldon Haudenschild and Greg Wilson, a pair of Ohio natives, each passed their fair share of cars in the Brad Doty Classic. Haudenschild started 21st and powered his way to a seventh-place finish, which earned him the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award. Wilson, who lined up 18th, brought out an early caution and then proceeded to carve his way to an eighth-place finish.
Plenty of cars
Traditionally, the Brad Doty Classic draws the most cars for a single-night event on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series calendar. A total of 50 cars signed in for the event, which to date is the highest single-night car count of the season. Last year, 58 cars signed in for the Brad Doty Classic.
A tough break
Brent Marks led the first 21 laps of the Brad Doty Classic as he chased his second win of the season. At some points, he had a nearly two-second lead over the field. Unfortunately, bad luck befell the sophomore driver on lap 22 as he suffered a flat right rear tire, which sent him to the work area. After getting the tire changed, he restarted at the tail of the field but was not really able to gain much ground.
The “Month of Money” continues for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at Lernerville Speedway on Tuesday, July 17, at Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania for the running of the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup, which will pay $25,000 to the winner. A trip to Lincoln Speedway in Pennsylvania awaits on Thursday, July 19, for the Gettysburg Clash, which was rained out in May. The series then heads to the famed Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA, for the Summer Nationals on Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21. The winner of the finale will receive $25,000. Also, the Morgan Cup, which was rained out in May, will be run, with that race adding $5,000 to the winner’s share.
Donny Schatz extended his lead in the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series standings to 158 over Brad Sweet over the last week. David Gravel remains third. The battle for fourth rages on between Shane Stewart and Daryn Pittman, with just four points separating the pair. Stewart currently holds the fourth spot. Sheldon Haudenschild rides sixth, followed by Logan Schuchart in seventh, Ian Madsen in eighth, Brent Marks in ninth, and Kraig Kinser in 10th.