JOLIET, Ill. — Eight-time World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion and point leader Donny Schatz took the lead from Kraig Kinser with five laps remaining and won Tuesday night’s FVP Outlaw Clay Classic at The Dirt Oval at Route 66 Raceway.
Kinser led laps four through 25, but slid to eighth at the finish, while Kasey Kahne Racing teammates Brad Sweet and Daryn Pittman followed Schatz under the checkered flag.
The win was Schatz’s 12th of the season, second in a row at the FVP Outlaw Clay Classic after winning the inaugural event at Rockford (Ill.) Speedway last year, and the 241st win of his 21-year World of Outlaws career.
“Kraig [Kinser] was really good at the start,” said Schatz. “He took off there on the bottom. I didn’t quite know if the bottom or the top, the middle, what was going to happen. I just had to give a little time for the race car to come in and the tires to get warm.”
“You kind of had to be all over really,” Schatz added of where the track was fastest. “It was a guessing game there for a while, and then we had to restart. Being on the outside I kind of felt like I was hung out to dry a little bit, and Brad [Sweet] got by. Obviously, they were really good. I think he started a ways back.”
Sweet, who walked away with the KSE Hard Charger Award, started 13th and worked his way into second. A restart with 13 laps to go saw a three-wide battle for the lead among Kinser, Schatz and Sweet, in which Kinser prevailed, holding the lead for eight more laps, while Sweet and Schatz continued the battle for second.
Throughout the race, another tough battle was playing out behind the leaders between Pittman and David Gravel, ending in Pittman’s favor after several exchanges.
Starting on the pole after winning the dash, Jason Sides led the first four laps of the feature as Kinser charged from 11th in some of his finest racing this season.
By lap five, Kinser was leading, with Sides and Brian Brown behind him as Schatz and Sweet followed suit, diligently taking on car after car, working their way up.
The series made its first visit to the half-mile oval in 12 years, but the winner was the same, with Schatz having won the last Outlaws race held at Joliet on July 8, 2005.
Full race results can be found on the next page…