Donny Schatz maneuvered through traffic to take the win from his sixth place qualifying position with five laps remaining in racing action Saturday, his second win in two days at the Craftsman World of Outlaws event in Stockton.
The number one qualifier, Daryn Pittman, who finished 13th on Friday night, was able to collect a second place finish on Saturday. The second place qualifier, Joey Saldana in the #83, looked to have the car to beat for most of the 30-lap main event, until he got caught up in slower traffic. This allowed both Schatz and Pittman to get by. Kyle Hirst was also able to get by to claim the third and final podium spot.
“The track was really tricky in the feature,” Schatz said. “There was a little moisture on the top but it was hard to get in on it and it slicked off a little bit. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get them early in the race, I was having trouble getting going, but we got into traffic and it forced everyone to move around,” Schatz said. “It doesn’t matter who you race with, you’ve just got to find a line they’re not in and that was really tricky tonight.”
Schatz collected $10,000 for each of his wins, for a $20,000 weekend payout.
With his victory in Friday’s Main Event, Schatz captured the “Stockton Sweep” and now has a season leading four wins. This moves him into fourth place in the season point’s championship. Brad Sweet, Joey Saldana and Shane Stewart sit 1-2-3 in the season championship race.
The NHRA contested its third event of 2016, the 47th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.
In Top Fuel, Brittany Force and her Monster Energy Drink team captured her first ever national event win by taking out Terry McMillen and his Amalie Oil team in the final round with a strong 3.72 at 318.77 mph, as McMillen’s engine exploded nearing the finish line. Force had a very consistent race car throughout and reacted quicker than her opponents every round. With the win, she also takes over the championship point lead in Top Fuel.
Robert Hight also picked up a win in Funny Car, as he took out Ron Capps in the final round to claim the title. Both cars lost traction, but Hight recovered first, putting his AAA of Southern California Camaro into the winner’s circle for the 37th time in his career. With both Hight and Force winning, it represents the first time in John Force Racing history that they doubled up, winning Top Fuel and Funny Car at the same event.
In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson defeated his teammate, Jason Line with a 0.009 to 0.064 second reaction time advantage. He held on for a 6.598 at 210.001 mph to (a quicker) 6.581 at 210.57 mph victory.
Pro Stock Motorcycle opened its season with Eddie Krawiec getting by Hector Arana with a 6.820 at 198.20 mph to 6.920 at 196.44 mph to capture the Gatornationals title.
As the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series now heads to Las Vegas for the 17th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals over the weekend of April 1 through 3, the points leaders are:
Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
In NASCAR, Jimmie Johnson outdueled Kevin Harvick to win the Auto Club 400 at California Speedway in Fontana. The win was Johnson’s 77th of his career, surpassing seven-time NASCAR champion, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr., for seventh place on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup win total rankings.