Donny Schatz Captures First DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator Championship

Donny Schatz
Schatz masters lapped traffic to earn his first DIRTcar Nationals Championship

Sprint Car racing veteran Donny Schatz earned his 250th World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series feature win this weekend after fighting off charges from Craftsman Club Dash winner Brian Brown, Sheldon Haudenschild, who scored his first victory at the first Sprint Car feature on Friday night, and Brad Sweet en route to his first ever DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator Championship.

Pole winner Brown kicked off Saturday night’s 30-lap feature championship race alongside Kevin Gobrecht. Despite Brown leading the opening circuit, Schatz was able to fly underneath Brown’s FVP No.21 to lead lap two. Thanks to a yellow flag on lap six, brought out by Rico Abreu, Brown was able to muscle his way back by Schatz to lead laps seven and eight.

Much like the second lap of this race Tony Stewart Racing’s own Schatz overpowered the pole winner on lap nine and held this lead until the final lap, despite challenges from Haudenschild and Sweet, to capture his fourth win in five nights at Volusia Speedway Park.

“We were lucky we started up front,” said Schatz. “We slowed down in traffic several times during this race, but we had a solid car, which made this learning experience a successful one.”

Friday night’s feature winner Sheldon Haudenschild worked forward from a 13th starting position into the top three on lap 12 and even moved to second, ahead of Brown, on lap 16. Although the young driver, who is in his first year with the Stenhouse Jr. – Marshall Racing, brought the capacity crowd to their feet as he closed in on Schatz’s No. 15 he was unable to pull the trigger to take the lead as well as the win.

“Catching Donny Schatz and passing him are two completely different things,” said Haudenschild.

While he was unable to accomplish this goal, Haudenschild was able to bring home an impressive third place finish behind the No. 49 NAPA Racing machine of Brad Sweet.

“My guys worked hard all week and we are still chasing the No. 15,” said Sweet. “He makes us better though, which is why we were happy to take a runner-up finish.”

While this feature race completed the racing action for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, we will return next week with the rundown from the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series. For continued updates check out Stay tuned to for the latest racing action in the dirt.

About Ellen Richardson 422 Articles
Ellen Richardson is the author of Behind The Wheel for This automotive sports junkie has a passion for telling an athlete's story while also covering various racing activities. Find out more about her at or follow Ellen on Twitter at @ellennrich or Instagram at elnrich33.

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