(Wilmot, Wis., Saturday, July 13, 2019)–Donny Schatz of Fargo, ND finally scored a NOS Energy Drink World of Outlaws (WO) Sprint Badger 40 victory at historic Wilmot Raceway Saturday, July 13. Schatz lead every official lap before the full house crowd to finally score a victory at Wisconsin’s original home of sprint car racing.
David Gravel of Watertown, CT, a 3-time Wilmot WO winner, came across second. Brad Sweet of Grass Valley, CA finished on the podium for the third consecutive year, with each time being third.
Schatz could not hold back the emotion any longer. With his arms raised and cheeks pushed up by a grin, Schatz yelled with a childlike giggle “Hell yeah, I won at Wilmot! That’s off the books.”
The 10-time World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion and now 287-time Series winner claimed his first victory at Wilmot Raceway, his fourth win of the season.
“The older you get, you probably put more of a fine-tooth comb on places you haven’t won at and this was one of them,” Schatz said.
Schatz and his Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing team unloaded with the finest comb they could build. Schatz set the pace in Hot Laps and then Qualified second behind Series points leader Brad Sweet.
In his Drydene Heat race, Schatz won by 1.4 seconds. He backed that performance up by winning the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash with a 2.7 second lead at the finish.
Dominating the night was not enough to convince Schatz he would excel in the Feature, though. He admitted he didn’t know what to expect from the 1/3-mile track, anticipating lap times to drop during the Feature.
On the initial start, outside polesitter Daryn Pittman made a charge at Schatz for the lead. He kept pace with the reigning champion down the back stretch and dove underneath him in turn three. The two entered turn four side-by-side – the closest anyone came all night to passing Schatz. But the Fargo, N.D.-native had the better run off the corner and cleared Pittman down the front stretch.
For the remaining 39 laps, the only time drivers got close enough to see the bumper of Schatz’s Toco Warranty No. 15 car was during a caution on Lap 13 for a car going off track in turn two. After that, Schatz spent his night methodically navigating lap traffic.
However, Friday night’s Feature winner at Hartford Speedway, David Gravel, was not going to let Schatz cruised to the victory. Gravel, Sweet and Pittman traded positions in the top-four all night. After battling side-by-side for several laps, having to be gentle on the throttle through the tight slick corners, Sweet eventually passed Pittman for second on Lap 16. Gravel did the same a lap later, moving past the Roth Motorsports No. 83 car for third. With 10 laps to go, Gravel finally put together a strong enough lap to work his way by Sweet and try to track down Schatz.
At that point there was about a two second gap between Schatz and second-place. Gravel slowly closed it lap by lap. Every lap car that halted Schatz’s momentum was a few more tenths of a second gained by Gravel. By the time the white flag came out, Gravel had made up close to a second on Schatz. It wasn’t enough, though. He ran out of time.
“I couldn’t get by Daryn very quick and then couldn’t get by Brad,” Gravel said. “Then it was just a little too late to make a charge a Donny.”
Gravel and his Jason Johnson Racing team were happy with the run, though, leaving the weekend with a win at Hartford Speedway in Michigan on Friday, July 12 and runner-up finish at Wilmot.
By taking the win Schatz finally broke his winless streak he’s had since the end of May when he won at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
“I’m sure somebody was coming there at the end,” Schatz said. “I was kind of hanging. We could get through a few lap cars, but then when I had to move around in (turns) one and two I wasn’t as good. But glad to get a win. It’s been a while. Always feels good to get the win, especially here in Wisconsin.”
Schatz’s win put a small dent in Sweet’s point lead over him – he’s now 38 points behind the Kasey Kahne Racing driver.
Sweet still leads the Series as the winningest driver with nine wins, so far. Schatz’s fourth victory of the year ties him with Gravel as the third winningest driver, behind Logan Schuchart, who has five wins. For the past four years, Schatz has had double digit wins at this point in the season. He’s also amassed 20 or more wins in a year since 2013. After winning at Wilmot, he acknowledged the level of competition in the World of Outlaws right now makes those statistics hard to live up to.
“I don’t know how many guys there are capable of winning 20 races in a year,” Schatz said. “There’s some. But it’s hard to live up to them standards and there’s a lot of fast race cars out here right now. The parity in this sport is pretty crazy and to keep up with it is even more so.”
That hasn’t stopped he and his team from striving to do so, though. They continue to make changes and try new things with the car, he said.
At the moment, they’ve found a feel Schatz likes. He’s now eager to carry his winning momentum into the upcoming weeks of prestigious and big paying races. And with another grin and a chuckle, Schatz said he’s even looking forward to going to Tri-State Speedway in October – another track he hasn’t one at. UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series on Tuesday, July 16 will venture to Attica Raceway Park in Attica, Ohio for the Ohio Logistics Brad Doty Classic. Get tickets and more information. As always, you can catch all World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series action on DIRTVision.com.
Zach Raidart of Antioch, IL chalked up his third 20-lap AutoMeter Wisconsin WingLess Sprint feature at Wilmot this season. “Taters(Allen Hafford) was tough to get around,” said Raidart. “It was fun racing him. I hope the fans enjoyed it as much as I did.”
Raidart overtook early race leader Allen Hafford of Beach Park, IL at the midway point. Raidart was followed at the finish by Derek Crane of Waukegan, IL second. Hafford third. Tim Cox of Park City, IL fourth and Trevor’s Chris Dodd fifth.
Kenosha’s Mike Neau won his second 20-lap Interstate Racing Assn. (IRA) Lightning Sprints at Wilmot this season. “I owe it all to my dad (Larry Neau),” said an emotional Neau after a bear hug of the elder Neau in victory lane. “Thanks to all of the fans and everyone.”
Racine’s Derek Fortier jumped in front from the pole starting spot. At the halfway point, Neau took over the lead going on to the win. C.J. Maleug of Johnsburg, IL ended up runner-up after starting eighth. Slinger’s Jeff Schmidt was third. Fortier fourth. Ron Brannam of Barrington, IL fifth. Next up for Wilmot Raceway is Family and Military Appreciation Night highlighted by the Street Stock Dennis Carlton Tribute presented by Don’s Garage of Trevor Saturday, July 20. AutoMeter WingLess Sprints, Modifieds, Lightning Sprints and Bandit 4-Cylinder Stock Cars join the Street Stocks on the program.
Active Military and Veterans presented IDs at the ticket office will be admitted free to the grandstands as guests of Wilmot Raceway and Kenosha County Fair. Grandstand admission is $15.00 for everyone ages 12 and over, while ages 11 and under will be admitted free. CK Contractors of Bristol is providing complimentary checkered flags for the youngsters. Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) are providing complimentary pins for veterans and active military.
Grandstands open at 5:00 p.m. with Meet The Driver from 5:00-5:30 p.m., followed by on track activity getting underway at 5:45 with racing to follow. Wilmot Raceway is located on the Kenosha County Fairgrounds. For updates phone the track side race line 262-862-2090, check the official web site wilmotraceway.com or the Raceway Facebook page.
SUMMARY – WILMOT RACEWAY, WILMOT, WISCONSIN – SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2019: NOS Energy Drink Feature (40 Laps) – 1. 15-Donny Schatz, Fargo, ND [$10,000]; 2. 41-David Gravel, Watertown, CT [$5,500]; 3. 49-Brad Sweet, Grass Valley, CA [$3,200]; 4. 83-Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK [$2,800]; 5. 7S-Tim Kaeding, San Jose, CA [$2,500]; 6. 2-Carson Macedo, Lemoore, CA [$2,300]; 7. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, Wooster, OH [$2,200]; 8. 1S-Logan Schuchart, Hanover, PA [$2,100]; 9. 18-Ian Madsen, St. Marys, New South Wales, Australia [$2,050]; 10. 19-Brent Marks, Meyerstown, PA [$2,000]; 11. 9-James McFadden, Warmambool, VIC [$1,500]; 12. 5-Shane Stewart, Bixby, OK [$1,200]; 13. 17B-Bill Balog, Hartland, WI [$1,100]; 14. 11K-Kraig Kinser, Bloomington, IN [$1,050]; 15. 7-Jason Sides, Bartlett, TN [$1,000]; 16. 7TW-Brandon Wimmer, Fairmount, IN [$900]; 17. 68-Dave Uttech, Kenosha, WI [$800]; 18. 14AJ-Wayne Modjeski, Oak Creek, WI [$800]; 19. 19T-Todd Daun, Pleasant Prairie, WI [$800]; 20. 43-Jereme Schroeder, Lake Villa, IL [$800]; 21. 23-Russel Borland, Kewaskum, WI [$800]; 22. 1A-Jacob Allen, Hanover, PA[$800]; 23. 17BX-Jordan Paulsen, Trevor, WI [$800]; Lap Leaders: Donny Schatz 1-40; KSE Hard Charger Award: 1S-Logan Schuchart[+6] Qualifying – 1. 49-Brad Sweet, 12.563 seconds; 2. 15-Donny Schatz, 12.587; 3. 41-David Gravel, 12.595; 4. 18-Ian Madsen, 12.602; 5. 7S-Tim Kaeding, 12.604; 6. 83-Daryn Pittman, 12.637; 7. 7-Jason Sides, 12.671; 8. 9-James McFadden, 12.746; 9. 17B-Bill Balog, 12.75; 10. 19-Brent Marks, 12.791; 11. 5-Shane Stewart, 12.817; 12. 23-Russel Borland, 12.824; 13. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 12.827; 14. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 12.827; 15. 2-Carson Macedo, 12.844; 16. 1A-Jacob Allen, 12.861; 17. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 12.982; 18. 68-Dave Uttech, 12.982; 19. 7TW-Brandon Wimmer, 13.131; 20. 43-Jereme Schroeder, 13.49; 21. 19T-Todd Daun, 13.491; 22. 14AJ-Wayne Modjeski, 14.626; 23. 17BX-Jordan Paulsen, NT DRYDENE
10-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Sweet; Schatz; Gravel. DIRT VISION
8-LAP DASH: Schatz. AUTOMETER WISCONSIN WINGLESS SPRINTS: 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Zach Raidart, Antioch, IL; 2. Derek Crane, Waukegan, IL; 3. Allen Hafford, Beach Park, IL; 4. Tim Cox, Park City, IL; 5. Chris Dodd, Trevor; 6. Jimmy Sivia, Winthrop Harbor, IL; 7. Dennis Spitz, Lewisburg, KY; 8. Ryan Zielski, Oconomowoc; 9. Chris Klemko, Bristol; 10. Jordan Paulsen, Trevor; 11. Rusty Egan, Burlington; 12. Greg Olsen, Round Lake Heights, IL; 13. Vince Bartolotta, Muskego; 14. George Gaertner, Salem; 15. Charles Spoonmore, Somonauk, IL; 16. Nick Petska, Spring Grove, IL; 17. Natalie Klemko, Bristol; 18. Shawn Swim, Winthrop Harbor; 19. Tommy Colburn, New Berlin; 20. Paul Shaffer, Milwaukee; 21. Randy Stanford, Kenosha; 22. James Wehrman, Kansasville; 23. Tom Eller, Zion, IL; 24. James Walldan, Kenosha.
10-LAP “B” MAIN: 1. Gaertner; 2. Colburn; 3. Eller; 4. Wehrman; 5. William Huck, Mukwonago; 6. Greg Alt, Delavan; 7. Scott Uttech, New Berlin; 8. Zach Hansen, New Berlin.
10-LAP QUALIFIER WINNERS: Spitz; Paulsen. IRA LIGHTNING SPRINTS: 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Mike Neau, Kenosha; 2. C.J. Maleug, Johnsburg, IL; 3. Jeff Schmidt, Slinger; 4. Derek Fortier, Racine; 5. Ron Brannam, Barrington, IL; 6. John Smith, St. Charles, IL; 7. Mark Heinert, Waukesha; 8. Josh Rehberg, Franklin; 9. Kevin Frederiksen, Hales Corners; 10. Shawn McGill, Johnsburg; 11. Michael Ungar, Milwaukee; 12. Jeremy Douglas, McFarland; 13. Tim Brannam, Holiday Hills, IL; 14. Bob Jeziorski, Milwaukee; 15. Jonathan Smith, Spring Grove; 16. Kevin Douglas, Sun Prairie; 17. Max Brannam, Holiday Hills; 18. Nick Sheridan, Fox Lake, IL; 19. Tim Christensen, Winthrop Harbor; 20. Ion Stear, Hebron, IL; 21. John Kirk, Johsburg(Did Not Start). 8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Heinert; Stear.
FAST QUALIFIER: Maleug(:15.029 seconds). Submitted By Michael H. Babicz & Nick Graziano