Donny Does the Daily Double

The Wheatley Chronicles – Volume V, No. 5

Lonnie Wheatley, BARBERVILLE, Fla. (February 19, 2017) – Donny Schatz pulled off a rare World of Outlaws feat when he rallied from nine rows deep to win Sunday night’s 30-lap DIRTcar Nationals finale at Volusia Speedway Park.

It marked Schatz’ second WoO win of the day after winning the Saturday night makeup event earlier in the afternoon, marking the first time one driver has topped two WoO events in the same day since Sammy Swindell accomplished the feat at Bloomington Speedway in 1999.

Another page of Schatz’ lore came at the expense of David Gravel, who fought off an earlier challenge only to surrender the point on the white flag lap of the $10,000-to-win affair.  In tentative consolation, Gravel was presented the Big Gator as the overall DIRTcar Nationals champion in Sprint Car action though an audit of the points may be in order.

“It’s a fun place, but man is it tricky,” Schatz said of the Volusia Speedway Park on which he had just finished off his third win in five nights of DIRTcar Nationals competition.

While Schatz began the pursuit of a 17th career Volusia Speedway Park triumph from the 17th starting position, Lucas Wolfe outdueled pole starter Brian Brown over the opening lap to snare the early lead with Gravel settling into third.

Following a caution after two laps and then an extended red flag period when Dale Blaney launched out of the park in turn two on the ensuing restart, action resumed with Gravel quickly making his way past Brown for second and setting his sights on Wolfe for the point.

Gravel reeled in Wolfe and drove by on the low side to take command on the fifth round.  With Gravel out front, Schatz was making quick work of the field by reaching seventh by the eighth round and then capturing third moments before fifth-runner Jason Johnson took a tumble in turn three.

Schatz worked past Wolfe in short order for second and then pulled alongside Gravel to challenge for the lead on the 21st lap.  Gravel denied the attempt and slipped away, only to run afoul of a pair of lapped cars dicing for position as the laps clicked off.

Schatz took full advantage, reeling the Connecticut racer in and making the move for the lead just a half lap away from the white flag.

Out front, there was no denying Schatz his 231st career WoO feature win aboard the TSR/Curb-Agajanian Arctic Cat No. 15 Sprint Car.

While Schatz reached victory lane, Gravel fell little more than a car-length short at the line after leading for 24 laps.

“We really wanted to win that race, especially after leading all those laps,” the driver of the CJB Motorsports No. 5 commented.  “I didn’t have a lane, I was kind of a sitting duck.”

Gravel was presented with the week’s overall championship.  “We blew four engines, I don’t know how we got the overall thing.  Obviously, other people had their struggles too.”

Making a late charge to claim the show position was Daryn Pittman in the KKR Great Clips No. 9.  “It was a good finish, especially since we were about seventh with three laps to go.”

Wolfe settled for fourth with Brown rounding out the top five.

(Photo courtesy of Mike Leone)

The Vitals

Series:  World of Outlaws

Track:  Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Car Count:  36

Quick Time:  The eighth car out, Brian Brown stopped the clocks at 13.006 for his second official quick time of the week.  Brown also turned the quickest laps in Saturday qualifying before the rains came.  The freshly-prepped surface after the day race yielded favorable lap times for the most part in the early going, although next-to-last qualifier David Gravel timed in sixth with last-half qualifiers Dale Blaney (24th) and Shane Stewart (31st) also cracking the top ten.

Heat Winners (starting position in parentheses):  Brian Brown (1), Lucas Wolfe (1), Jason Sides (3), Kerry Madsen (2).

Heat Moments:  Donny Schatz and Joey Saldana crossed the stripe in a dead heat for fourth in the first heat with Saldana presumably getting the nod for the position since he led the preceding lap; Logan Schuchart slipped by Shane Stewart for third at the line in the final heat when the Larson-Marks No. 2 slowed with a broken rear end; entering the night atop DIRTcar Nationals points, Chad Kemenah slipped by last year’s champ Brad Sweet for the fifth and final transfer in the third heat after a subpar qualifying run; Tim Shaffer became the only driver of the day’s two events to advance from a fourth-row heat starting position directly into the ‘A’ main with a fifth-place run in the final heat.

Dash Winner (starting position in parentheses):  Brian Brown (1).

“B” Main Winner (starting position in parentheses):  Brad Sweet (2).

“A” Main Cautions:  Three

2 Laps – Paul McMahan slows to a stop exiting the bottom of turn two.

Lap 3 Restart – A turn two tangle on the ensuing restart sends Dale Blaney flipping into the pit area off of turn two with Rico Abreu and Jason Sides also involved.  An extended red flag followed to tend to injured spectators.  Early reports indicate three injured with no further details.

13 Laps – The red flag flies once again when fifth-runner Jason Johnson gets into the turn three guardrail and flips his way through the corner.  “The Ragin’ Cajun” had entered the event atop WoO points.

“A” Main Hard Charger:  Nobody topped Schatz’ charge from 17th to 1st on this one.

The Box Score…

Qualifying: 1. 21-Brian Brown 13.006, 2. 5w-Lucas Wolfe 13.014, 3. 7s-Jason Sides 13.051, 4. 24r-Rico Abreu 13.097, 5. 9-Daryn Pittman 13.097, 6. 5-David Gravel 13.125, 7. 41-Jason Johnson 13.132, 8. 2m-Kerry Madsen 13.134, 9. 1-Dale Blaney 13.162, 10. 2-Shane Stewart 13. 175, 11. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild 13.209, 12. 18-Ian Madsen 13.210, 13. 17-Joey Saldana 13.211, 14. W20-Greg Wilson 13.223, 15. 13d-Danny Dietrich 13.244, 16. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier 13.248, 17. 15-Donny Schatz 13.254, 18. 59h-Justin Henderson 13.265, 19. 49-Brad Sweet 13.283, 20. 4-Paul McMahan 13.303, 21. 14-Christopher Bell 13.303, 22. 1s-Logan Schuchart 13.314, 23. 10h-Chad Kemenah 13.328, 24. 13-Clyde Knipp 13.350, 25. 19-Brent Marks, 13.360, 26. 27-Greg Hodnett 13.440, 27. 11k-Kraig Kinser 13.468, 28. 49x-Tim Shaffer 13.484, 29. 87-Aaron Reutzel 13.519, 30. 24-Terry McCarl 13.527, 31. 1a-Jacob Allen 13.539, 32. 2x-Parker Price-Miller 13.572, 33. 17x-Caleb Helms 13.608 34. 7w-Tasker Phillips 13.716, 35. 07-Jacob Wilson 13.903, 36. 59s-Ben Schmidt NT.

Heat One (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to “A” Feature):  1. 21-Brian Brown (1), 2. 9-Daryn Pittman (2), 3. 1-Dale Blaney (3), 4. 17-Joey Saldana (4), 5. 15-Donny Schatz (5), 6. 14-Christopher Bell (6), 7. 19-Brent Marks (7), 8. 17x-Caleb Helms (9), 9. 87-Aaron Reutzel (8).

Heat Two (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to “A” Feature):  1. 5w-Lucas Wolfe (1), 2. 5-David Gravel (2), 3. 1s-Logan Schuchart (6), 4. 2-Shane Stewart (3), 5. W20-Greg Wilson (4), 6. 27-Greg Hodnett (7), 7. 59h-Justin Henderson (5), 8. 24-Terry McCarl (8), 9. 7w-Tasker Phillips (9).

Heat Three (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to “A” Feature):  1. 7s-Jason Sides (1), 2. 41-Jason Johnson (2), 3. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild (3), 4. 13d-Danny Dietrich (4), 5. 10h-Chad Kemenah (6), 6. 49-Brad Sweet (5), 7. 11k-Kraig Kinser (7), 8. 1a-Jacob Allen (8), 9. 07-Jacob Wilson (9).

Heat Four (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to “A” Feature):  1. 2m-Kerry Madsen (2), 2. 24r-Rico Abreu (1), 3. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier (4), 4. 18-Ian Madsen (3), 5. 49x-Tim Shaffer (7), 6. 4-Paul McMahan (5), 7. 2x-Parker Price-Miller (8), 8. 13-Clyde Knipp (6). DNS: 59s-Ben Schmidt.

Dash (6 Laps):  1. 21-Brian Brown (1), 2. 5w-Lucas Wolfe (2), 3. 2m-Kerry Madsen (4), 4. 5-David Gravel (6), 5. 9-Daryn Pittman (5), 6. 7s-Jason Sides (3), 7. 24r-Rico Abreu (8), 8. 41-Jason Johnson (7).

“B” Feature (12 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to “A” Feature):  1. 49-Brad Sweet (2), 2. 59h-Justin Henderson (1), 3. 11k-Kraig Kinser (8), 4. 4-Paul McMahan (3), 5. 19-Brent Marks (6), 6. 14-Christopher Bell (4), 7. 27-Greg Hodnett (7), 8. 24-Terry McCarl (10), 9. 17x-Caleb Helms (13), 10. 7w-Tasker Phillips (12), 11. 59s-Ben Schmidt (14), 12. 13-Clyde Knipp (5), 13. 87-Aaron Reutzel (9), 14. 07-Jacob Wilson (15), 15. 1a-Jacob Allen (11). DNS: 2x-Parker Price-Miller.

“A” Feature (30 Laps):  1. 15-Donny Schatz (17), 2. 5-David Gravel (4), 3. 9-Daryn Pittman (5), 4. 5w-Lucas Wolfe (2), 5. 21-Brian Brown (1), 6. 2-Shane Stewart (14), 7. 1s-Logan Schuchart (10), 8. 2m-Kerry Madsen (3), 9. 18-Ian Madsen (16), 10. 49-Brad Sweet (21), 11. 10h-Chad Kemenah (19), 12. 11k-Kraig Kinser (23), 13. W20-Greg Wilson (18), 14. 13d-Danny Dietrich (15), 15. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild (11), 16. 49x-Tim Shaffer (20), 17. 59h-Justin Henderson (22), 18. 17-Joey Saldana (13), 19. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier (12), 20. 41-Jason Johnson (8), 21. 1a-Jacob Allen (25), 22. 13-Clyde Knipp (26), 23. 7s-Jason Sides (6), 24. 24r-Rico Abreu (7), 25. 1-Dale Blaney (9), 26. 4-Paul McMahan (24).

Lap Leaders: Lucas Wolfe 1-4, David Gravel 5-28, Donny Schatz 29-30.


The Wheatley Chronicles brings insight and highlights from all variety of racing series throughout the nation in 2017 and beyond along with the Open Wheel Power Rankings on a regular basis.  Please send any comments, questions or advertising inquiries regarding The Wheatley Chronicles at to Lonnie Wheatley at