CONCORD, N.C. — Donny Schatz is the winningest driver in the history of The Dirt Track at Charlotte and he showed why again on Friday night.
Schatz was among the fastest throughout night three of the World of Outlaws World Finals and he led the final 26 laps to earn his 13th victory at the four-tenths-mile track in what was the 61st World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series event here.
Schatz drew the No. 1 starting spot for the dash and proceeded to win the event to earn the pole for the feature where he shared the front row with point leader Brad Sweet.
Sweet made an aggressive move on the start to take the lead and he led until Logan Schuchart stopped on the track on lap four.
On the restart, Anthony Macri and Cole Macedo collided while battling for third and Macri slid into the turn-one wall and bounced back into the racing groove where he was contacted by the car driven by Cale Thomas. Garrett Williamson and Zeb Wise were also collected in the accident.
Schatz kept pace with Sweet on the restart and jumped into the lead on lap five. Schatz blitzed through lapped traffic with Sweet and the rest of the field giving chase until the yellow flag appeared a final time when Noah Gass stopped on the track with two laps remaining.
Schatz controlled the restart and blasted his Tony Stewart Racing Ford-powered machine to his fourth victory of the season.
“These guys have been kicked and they keep finding ways to pull out of it,” said Schatz, who experienced mechanical issues on Wednesday night.
“We had a great car all night and it didn‘t hurt drawing the one. It‘s a great race car and we are creeping up on it. Great to get to victory lane and salvage a good points night. Brad and David are in the points race and I didn‘t want to do anything silly racing Brad there. You don‘t want to be the guy that messes that up.”
Cory Eliason started eighth and powered his No. 71 machine past Sweet following the final restart to finish second. Eliason‘s team led by Bernie Steubgen changed an engine between the dash and the feature.
“Bernie went to work on the car and it showed in the feature,” Eliason said. “We were good. It was bad-ass. This is the Charlotte I was used to watching. It was all over, top, middle bottom. I wanted to get a win, we started eighth and came forward.”
Sweet, meanwhile, brought the Kasey Kahne Racing No. 49 home in third and moved one step closer to a fourth consecutive series championship.
He will take a 36-point lead over David Gravel, who finished 10th, into Saturday‘s final race of the season.
“I think we had a car capable of keeping up with Donny,” Sweet said. “I pushed it a little to get ahead of Donny…My mind is probably too much on conserving my tires, I didn‘t want to do anything stupid. My guys gave me a car that would win the race and I didn‘t get it done tonight. I think we are in position to get it done here tomorrow night.”
Donny Schatz, Cory Eliason, Brad Sweet, Cole Macedo, Tyler Courtney, Gio Scelzi, Justin Peck, Spencer Bayston, Carson Macedo, David Gravel, Brent Marks, Sheldon Haudenschild, James McFadden, Lance Dewease, Sye Lynch, Brock Zearfoss, Zeb Wise, Buddy Kofoid, Garrett Williamson, Jacob Allen, Noah Gass, Robbie Price, Anthony Macri, Logan Schuchart.