Schatz wins for 11th time at Knoxville Nationals
No, it’s not Heaven, it’s Iowa. Unless you’re Donny Schatz winning in front of a sold out crowd of 20,000-plus fans and you’re winning the title of Knoxville Nationals Champion for the 11th time. Then you may think it was Heaven.
The Fargo, North Dakota superstar found speed on the bottom side and drove by David Gravel on the 46th lap to put his Tony Stewart No. 15 in the lead. He raced the final five laps and kept Gravel at bay to earn his 11th title at the Knoxville Nationals.
“There are no words for this,” Schatz said. “I could hear my dad (Danny Schatz) telling me to gather it up and settle down and it worked.”
After leading laps 27-45, David Gravel fell short of Donny Schatz by 0.747-seconds at the checkered flag. The Big Game Motorsports No. 2 was stout on the high-line, but the TSR No. 15 proved to be too dominant rolling the bottom. The Watertown, Connecticut native banked $80,000 for his runner-up result, but will have to wait another year to try and chase his second Knoxville Nationals title.
Rounding out the podium on Saturday was Logan Schuchart with a phenomenal 17th-to-third run. He native collected a season-best $40,000 for his efforts in The Grandaddy of ‘Em All.
After leading laps 2-26, Tyler Courtney finished fourth for a career-best Knoxville Nationals effort worth $26,000. Jacob Allen concluded a sensational week in Iowa by driving from 11th to fifth, banking $21,000 for his run.
Closing out the top-10 at the 61st Knoxville Nationals was Kyle Larson ($20,000) after rallying from a shredded tire, Brent Marks ($19,000) after battling for a podium, Sheldon Haudenschild ($18,000) with hard charger honors from 23rd-to-eighth, Brad Sweet ($17,000) and Daryn Pittman. ($16,000) with a top-10 in his return with Heffner Racing.
Buddy Kofoid finished 11th to earn Rookie of the Year honors, setting the highest finish by a rookie at the Knoxville Nationals since the turn of the century.
Meanwhile back at Lincoln Speedway, Troy Wagaman had been knocking on the door of his first 410 win this season and on Saturday he finally parked it in victory lane for the first time in his career. Before moving to the 410 sprint division last year, Wagaman had plenty of success in his 358 sprint car, earning six wins at Lincoln in the division.
In victory lane Troy shared what his first 410 win meant to him, “It’s amazing. I never thought it would come this year we’ve been so close, seconds and thirds.”
Troy won his first career 410 feature 1.247 seconds over Alan Krimes. Chris Arnold finished third and Freddie Rahmer earned hard charger honors driving from 19th to fourth. Jim Siegel completed the top five.
Pole-sitter Bill Diehl led the field into turn 1 after the green flag waved for the start of the 20-lap Legends feature. After several yellows, Diehl won in thrilling fashion, just .075 seconds ahead of Jeremy Ott. Bob Stough crossed the line third and Travis McClelland finished fourth. Seth Kearchner completed the top 5.
In the Wingless Super Sportsman feature Steve Wilbur scored the win by a commanding 4.711 seconds over Tony Jackson. Matt Ondek crossed the line third and Cliff Brian Jr was fourth. Billy Brian Jr. finished fifth.
This Saturday Lincoln Speedway is back in action with the Barry Skelly Memorial featuring the 410 sprints, 358 sprints in a Summer Series Event and the ARDC midgets. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m. with pit gates open at 5 p.m. and grandstands open at 5:30 p.m.
At Hummingbird Speedway the fans were treated to some intense racing action as both repeat and new winners found their way to victory lane. Doug Surra topped the semi lates, Bruce Hartzfeld won the pro stocks A-Main, Denny Fenton was the winner of the super late models feature, and Mitchell Wright took the checkers for the economods. Josh Fields continued his winning streak in the pure stocks and newcomer Chad Lidwell brought home the win for the four cylinders.
In addition, the PA Thunder On The Dirt Vintage Modified Racing Series visited the speedway with Mark Hahn coming out on top of that class. Next week sees another regular racing program with the junior sprints making their final appearance of the season. Racing season is winding down, and there are only two more weeks to determine the final point standings with the season championship slated for August 27. Plans are being made for a two-day show on Friday Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10.
Jimmy Holden pulled off the win in the first ever Mountain Top Challenge of small block modifieds vs. Emods on Saturday night at Hidden Valley Speedway.
Jarid Ivory of Altoona was subbing for his brother Paul and parked in the semi lates winner’s circle.
Repeat winners include street stocks, Ron Benton of Duncansville in the pure stocks and four cylinders.
Sixty-two cars filled the pits, including nine semi lates, 17 small block modifieds/EMods, four street stocks, eight pure stocks and 24 four cylinders. Coming up this week is the Second Annual Fay Lumadue Memorial for the small block modifieds, paying tribute to the original Pink Panther.
Dylan Yoder of Middleburg drove to his first Selinsgrove Speedway super late model win of the season Saturday in the division’s 25-lap main event. Yoder became the ninth different super late model winner in 10 races to date. The $3,000 victory was his 17th career in late models at the track.
Garrett Bard of Wells Tannery returned to victory lane for the third time this season at Selinsgrove in the 20-lap PASS 305 sprint car event. Taylor Farlling of Carlisle held off three-time winner Andrew Yoder of Middleburg for his first career Selinsgrove win in the 20-lap limited late model feature.
Levi Vial of Bloomsburg won his third 12-lap roadrunner race by just inches over five-time winner Selinsgrove Speedway returns to racing action at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, featuring The Acme Companies 42nd Annual Jack Gunn Memorial for 410 sprint cars paying $5,000 to win plus PASS 305 sprint cars and limited late models.