|(Photo: Donny Schatz holds up another gator in Volusia Speedway Park victory lane - Paul Arch Photo Credit)|
Schatz’s route to victory on Thursday evening was just as impressive as the night before, ultimately diminishing a near-straightaway lead held by Chad Kemenah at the midpoint of the 30-lap program. The rally earned the now 18-time All Star winner another $5,000 payday, crossing under the final checkers by a margin of victory equaling 2.439 seconds over Kemenah and Kasey Kahne Racing’s Brad Sweet.
“We had an awesome race car,” said Donny Schatz, pilot of the Tony Stewart-Curb/Agajanian Racing, Textron Off Road-backed, No. 15. “It’s good to have Rick [Warner] here with us tonight. It feels good to have the entire team together. We are definitely hitting on all eight cylinders right now.”
Schatz started from the pole position and led the first eight circuits before feeling any pressure from those racing behind him. Kemenah, who started fourth on the main event grid, worked his way to the back bumper of the defending World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion, eventually driving underneath Schatz as the pair battled through turns one and two on lap nine.
Even with lapped traffic starting to intensify, Kemenah powered to a commanding lead, jumping ahead by a near-straightaway advantage as the leaders raced passed the crossed flags. As the laps clicked down, Schatz started to come back to life, diminishing Kemenah’s advantage in traffic to less than a second by lap 22. By lap 25, Schatz was back in command, utilizing the topside of the speedway to cruise around Kemenah as the pair raced through turns one and two.
From that point forward, it was all Donny Schatz, rapidly gaining an advantage through traffic that stretched to nearly three seconds when the final checkers flew. Kemenah held on to finish second, followed by Brad Sweet, David Gravel, and Kyle Larson.
“I really didn’t know what to expect with the track. I was trying to play it cautious,” Schatz explained, who was weary about the reworked racing surface. “I didn’t want to go to the top until I knew it was going to hold me. I got to traffic and really couldn’t move around and that’s when [Chad Kemenah] got by us. By that time, I knew I had to bide my time and be patient with what the track was going to do. We ended up getting him back in traffic and that’s what it takes; being able to race through traffic like that. It definitely helped to be close to the front tonight.”
“Sometimes leading isn’t the place to be, I guess,” Chad Kemenah said, pilot of the Hunter Racing, Bonnell’s Rod Shop, No. 10H. “When you have to get beat by [Donny Schatz] it makes things a little bit better. The way I got around him was the same way I got beat. I just thought I had nothing to lose. I could see that he was hung up behind the lapped cars and I kinda held my breath and ended up getting around him. But when you get to traffic, you have to pick and choose the right lanes. Somebody that is that good behind you is probably going to pick the lane that you’re not in.”
“I had a good feeling before I left home,” Schatz continued. “My trainer said I was in ‘ass kickin’ mode’ so I want to thank him for that.”
The Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 will not return to competition until Friday, April 6, when the Series invades Atomic Speedway in Chillicothe, Ohio. “America’s Series” last visited the southern Ohio highbanks on August 26 with the “Buckeye Bullet” Dave Blaney picking up the $10,000 top prize. It was Blaney’s first-ever All Star victory at Atomic Speedway, ultimately raising his Series win total to 48 since first visiting victory lane in 1983.
Those seeking additional news and notes regarding the upcoming visit to Atomic Speedway should visit the facility live on the Web at www.atomicspeedway.net.
Contingency Awards/Results: Volusia Speedway Park - Thursday, February 8:
47th Annual DIRTcar Nationals
EMi Driver’s Meeting: 32 Entries
State Water Heaters Warm-Ups: Donny Schatz - 14.167 seconds
Lincoln Electric Fast Qualifier: Chad Kemenah - 13.814 seconds (3rd Quick)
Ford Performance Heat #1: Kasey Kahne
All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads Heat #2: Paul McMahan
Hunt Brothers Pizza Heat #3: Donny Schatz
Mobil 1 Heat #4: Kerry Madsen
JE Pistons Dash #1: Donny Schatz
Wix Filters Dash #2: Joey Saldana
Classic Ink USA B-Main: Sheldon Haudenschild
Daido Engine Bearings Main Event Winner: Donny Schatz
MSD Performance Hard Charger Award: David Gravel [+5]
(Lincoln Electric, Daido Engine Bearings, MSD Performance: Need decal to qualify for contingency award)
1. 1K-Kyle Larson, 13.975; 2. 70-Dave Blaney, 14.009; 3. 7K-Cale Conley, 14.062; 4. 4K-Kasey Kahne, 14.085; 5. 14-Tony Stewart, 14.12; 6. 18-Ian Madsen, 14.174; 7. 24-Rico Abreu, 14.228; 8. 40-George Hobaugh, 14.451
1. 49-Brad Sweet, 13.759; 2. 4-Parker Price-Miller, 13.888; 3. 13-Paul McMahan, 13.929; 4. 26-Joey Saldana, 14.124; 5. 19-Brent Marks, 14.321; 6. 5W-Lucas Wolfe, 14.468; 7. 17-Caleb Helms, 14.49; 8. 5M-Max Stambaugh, 14.703
Group ( C )
1. 9-Daryn Pittman, 13.822; 2. 27-Greg Hodnett, 13.868; 3. 5-David Gravel, 13.884; 4. 15-Donny Schatz, 14; 5. 83-Cory Eliason, 14.208; 6. 2-Shane Stewart, 14.311; 7. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 14.345; 8. 51-John Garvin, 14.571
1. 21-Brian Brown, 13.66; 2. 10H-Chad Kemenah, 13.814; 3. 2M-Kerry Madsen, 13.891; 4. 17S-Sheldon Haudenschild, 13.915; 5. 49x-Tim Shaffer, 13.94; 6. 44-Trey Starks, 14.007; 7. 48-Danny Dietrich, 14.509; 8. 17B-Steve Buckwalter, 99.991
Heat #1 - Group (A) (8 Laps) - Top 5 Transfer
1. 4K-Kasey Kahne ; 2. 1K-Kyle Larson ; 3. 7K-Cale Conley ; 4. 18-Ian Madsen ; 5. 14-Tony Stewart ; 6. 70-Dave Blaney ; 7. 24-Rico Abreu ; 8. 40-George Hobaugh 
Heat #2 - Group (B) (8 Laps) - Top 5 Transfer
1. 13-Paul McMahan ; 2. 26-Joey Saldana ; 3. 49-Brad Sweet ; 4. 5W-Lucas Wolfe ; 5. 19-Brent Marks ; 6. 4-Parker Price-Miller ; 7. 17-Caleb Helms 
Heat #3 - Group (C) (8 Laps) - Top 5 Transfer
1. 15-Donny Schatz ; 2. 5-David Gravel ; 3. 27-Greg Hodnett ; 4. 9-Daryn Pittman ; 5. 83-Cory Eliason ; 6. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 7. 2-Shane Stewart ; 8. 51-John Garvin 
Heat #4 - Group (D) (8 Laps) - Top 5 Transfer
1. 2M-Kerry Madsen ; 2. 21-Brian Brown ; 3. 10H-Chad Kemenah ; 4. 49X-Tim Shaffer ; 5. 48-Danny Dietrich ; 6. 44-Trey Starks ; 7. 17S-Sheldon Haudenschild 
Dash #1 (4 Laps)
1. 15-Donny Schatz ; 2. 13-Paul McMahan ; 3. 49-Brad Sweet ; 4. 1K-Kyle Larson ; 5. 5-David Gravel 
Dash #2 (4 Laps)
1. 26-Joey Saldana ; 2. 10H-Chad Kemenah ; 3. 21-Brian Brown ; 4. 2M-Kerry Madsen ; 5. 4K-Kasey Kahne 
B-Main (12 Laps) - Top 4 Transfer
1. 17S-Sheldon Haudenschild ; 2. 70-Dave Blaney ; 3. 4-Parker Price-Miller ; 4. 44-Trey Starks ; 5. 24-Rico Abreu ; 6. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 7. 17-Caleb Helms ; 8. 51-John Garvin ; 9. 40-George Hobaugh ; 10. 2-Shane Stewart 
A-Main (30 Laps)
1. 15-Donny Schatz ; 2. 10H-Chad Kemenah ; 3. 49-Brad Sweet ; 4. 5-David Gravel ; 5. 1K-Kyle Larson ; 6. 2M-Kerry Madsen ; 7. 26-Joey Saldana ; 8. 13-Paul McMahan ; 9. 27-Greg Hodnett ; 10. 49X-Tim Shaffer ; 11. 21-Brian Brown ; 12. 9-Daryn Pittman ; 13. 18-Ian Madsen ; 14. 4K-Kasey Kahne ; 15. 19-Brent Marks ; 16. 5W-Lucas Wolfe ; 17. 83-Cory Eliason ; 18. 14-Tony Stewart ; 19. 70-Dave Blaney ; 20. 4-Parker Price-Miller ; 21. 44-Trey Starks ; 22. 7K-Cale Conley ; 23. 17S-Sheldon Haudenschild ; 24. 48-Danny Dietrich  Lap Leaders: Donny Schatz [1-8], Chad Kemenah [9-24], Donny Schatz [25-30]
About the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1:
All Star Enterprises, LLC, wholly owned by Tony Stewart, d/b/a the All Star Circuit of Champions, is a winged sprint car series. The All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series is one of the oldest traveling 410 sprint car organizations and is a staple of grassroots, open-wheel racing. Formed in 1970 by Bud Miller, the series has largely been considered the first 'outlaw' Sprint Car organization of the modern era. Motorsports entrepreneur Tony Stewart agreed to terms with Guy Webb to become the sole owner of the original winged sprint car tour in January of 2015.
About Arctic Cat:
For more than 50 years, the Arctic Cat snowmobile brand has stood as one of the most widely recognized and respected in the industry. Today Arctic Cat’s snowmobile product lines span more than 50 different models, with offerings for every style of riding, from trail-riding with the family, to long-distance touring with friends, to mountain sleds to handle the most severe backcountry conditions. For more information, visit: www.arcticcat.com.
About Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc:
Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. is a leading global manufacturer of golf cars, utility and personal transportation vehicles, snowmobiles, side-by-sides, all-terrain vehicles, professional turf-care equipment, and ground support equipment. Textron Specialized Vehicles markets products under the E-Z-GO®, Cushman®, Arctic Cat®, Textron Off Road™, Jacobsen®, Dixie Chopper®, Ransomes®, TUG™, Douglas™, Premier™ and Safeaero™ brands. Its vehicles are found in environments ranging from golf courses to factories, airports to planned communities, and theme parks to hunting preserves.
About Mobil 1:
The world's leading synthetic motor oil brand, Mobil 1™ features anti-wear technology that provides performance beyond our conventional motor oils. This technology allows Mobil 1 to meet or exceed the toughest standards of car builders and to provide exceptional protection against engine wear, under normal or even some of the most extreme conditions. Mobil 1 flows quickly in extreme temperatures to protect critical engine parts and is designed to maximize engine performance and help extend engine life.
For more information, visit mobiloil.com, on Twitter @Mobil1 and, on Facebook, www.facebook.com/mobil1.
Mobil, Mobil 1 and Mobil 1 Racing are registered trademarks of Exxon Mobil Corporation or one of its subsidiaries.