After sweeping two straight features on what’s been called the Mother of All Sprint Car Weekends, it was advice from his father that World of Outlaws driver Donny Schatz took to heart.
“If you are worried about what is behind you,” Schatz said, “you are going to have a hell of a time handling what’s in front of you. I’ve always raced like that and tonight was no different.”
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These days there’s little in front of the North Dakota native. Schatz won both WoO 30-lap features at Eldora Speedway on Friday and Saturday night, giving him eight victories in 18 starts. He’s already built a 102-point lead in the standings over Brad Sweet.
The weekend event at Eldora is a one-of-a-kind weekend with the winged World of Outlaws and non-winged United States Auto Club sharing the race card for a two-day show. It’s the only time the two series compete at the same track on the same night.
In the USAC portion of the event Chris Windom of Illinois won Saturday’s 30-lap feature and Brady Bacon of Oklahoma won Friday’s feature.
The weekend, though, belong to Schatz. On Saturday he took the lead on lap five and held off runner-up Logan Schuchart of Pennsylvania until a caution bunched up the field with five laps remaining. Schatz, winner of nine WoO championships (including four straight), managed to keep Schuchart and Aaron Reutzel of Texas on his back bumper to win by 1.5 seconds.
“We love lapped traffic. That’s where races are won and lost,” Schatz said. “My guys are incredible. We keep working, keep digging and keep finding ways to be up here at the end of the night.”
Schuchart, currently No. 8 in the standings, was denied his first feature victory this season with the pair of runner-up finishes.
“It was a lot of fun racing up there. I know my heart was pumping. It was hard to stay calm,” Schuchart said. “What a great weekend for us. Two podiums and if you are going to finish second to someone, that’s a hell of a team to finish behind. They are incredible, but we are going to try and keep working hard to beat them.”
In the USAC race Saturday, Windom grabbed the lead on the fourth lap and the defending points champ never let up for his first victory this season.
“We’ve had a lot of good runs. I think we’ve had four or five podium finishes so far,” Windom said. “But you get sick of those after a while and you just want to win a race. It’s awesome to start it here.”
On Friday, Bacon wrestled the lead away from Robert Ballou and led the final 10 laps for his first USAC feature this season. He sprinted away from the field to post a 5.7-second victory.
“This place is more mental than physical,” Bacon said. “You can get mentally worn out. That happens more to me after the 4-Crown. I just kind of zone out after it’s over. As long as you’re breathing and doing everything right, it’s not that tiring. It’s definitely a lot easier when things are going your way.”
Pleasant Hill’s Matt Westfall logged the best USAC finish among area entries. Westfall finished 8th on Saturday after a 14th-place finish on Friday.
Troy’s Dallas Hewitt was 10th on Saturday and 13th on Friday, Minster’s Paul Dues was 12th on Saturday and 16th on Friday and Covington’s Riley VanHise finished 17th Saturday.