By Lee Elder
QUEEN CREEK, Az. (April 7, 2018) – Donny Schatz took the lead with less than 10 laps to go and held on through a series of late-race caution periods to win the Arizona Desert Shootout for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at Arizona Speedway.
The win was the fourth of the season for Schatz.
“In the past this place has been so fast on the cushion in the feature but tonight the bottom was there,” Schatz said.
He took the lead for good from Shane Stewart, passing on the outside. But one lap earlier, Schatz passed Steward while running the inside lane. A crash brought out a caution flag and Schatz had to pass Stewart a second time.
Joey Saldana eventually finished second to Schatz. Stewart was third, followed by Logan Schuchart (who started 16th) and Daryn Pittman. Cory Eliason started on the pole after winning the Dash and led the first lap but Sheldon Haudenschild, who won the previous Outlaws race at Bakersfield, California, wrested the lead away on the second lap and led until he spun in turn 4 with 16 laps complete.
Haudenschild’s spin put Stewart in the lead until Schatz came calling.
Schatz said the tragic and fatal bus crash that took the lives of several members of a junior hockey team in Canada was on his mind during the evening.
Race officials said during the evening that the event had attracted a capacity crowd, one of the largest crowds in the history of the track.
HEAT RACE WINNERS: Ian Madsen, Shane Stewart, Cory Eliason. DASH: Cory Eliason.
NOTES: Ian Madsen and Jacob Allen were clocked at the same time during qualifying, 12.960 seconds and 97.22 mph. Madsen had the quickest backup lap and was credited with the quick time … Hunter Schuerenberg flipped with 23 laps down in the main event. He was not injured … The event drew a field of 24 cars … This was the fourth WoO sprint car race at the track … Next weekend the Outlaws race in Illinois and Indiana.