By WoO Media
CALISTOGA, CA – September 15, 2018 – An opportune Yellow Flag allowed Cory Eliason to officially lead all 25 laps Saturday night at Calistoga Speedway for his second career World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series victory. Donny Schatz took the lead off of turn four coming to the White Flag, but the caution negated the pass, forcing Schatz to be relegated back to second, where he finished. Logan Schuchart finished third, his second podium in as many nights at Calistoga.
Eliason won the Sears Craftsman Dash, earning the pole for 25-Lap Feature alongside his good friend and fellow California native Giovanni Scelzi. Eliason and Scelzi waged war on the opening lap, with Eliason turning under a Scelzi slide job to lead Lap 1.
Eliason, who scored his first career Outlaw win earlier this year at Stockton, powered away from the field as Scelzi, Schatz and Schuchart captivated the large Calistoga Speedway audience with their battle for second.
Schatz, who won the Wine Country Outlaw Showdown last year, moved by Schuchart into third on Lap 10 and set his eyes on young Scelzi, who was in search of his first career Outlaw triumph. Schatz edged in front of the youngster on Lap 11, but the Fresno, CA teenager battled back underneath the nine-time Series Champion to grab the runner-up position back.
Despite Scelzi’s resilience, Schatz wrestled the position away for good on Lap 14 as the Fargo, ND native focused his sights on Eliason. Schatz gradually cut into Eliason’s lead, setting up some potential late race fireworks. With five to go, Schuchart got by Scelzi for third as Schatz had all but erased Eliason’s lead.
Coming to the White Flag, Eliason slipped out of the rubber in turn three, opening the door for Schatz. Schatz got underneath Eliason, who was desperately trying to get back into the groove and the two made slight contact, resulting with Schatz having the advantage coming to the White Flag.
It was all for nothing as the caution flew for Brent Marks who came to a stop atop turn two, ending his charge forward.
The caution set up a Green-White-Checkered finish, and after getting a second chance at it, Eliason wasn’t going to make a mistake this time. The Visalia, CA native went on to win his second World of Outlaws Feature of the year and his career.
“I got out of the rubber and saw [Schatz] underneath me and thought was it, I’m going to finish second,” a jubilant Eliason said.
Eliason, who was making his 43rd Outlaw start of the season, has spent the majority of the 2018 season in the Midwest and East Coast and has valued his time at new race tracks. “I can’t thank Dennis and Theresa Roth enough, it’s absolutely been beneficial to be out on the road this year and I think our speed these few weeks at home show that,” Eliason added.
Donny Schatz was understandably disappointed to see the Yellow Flag fly, preventing his 20th win of the year. “That’s part of racing. Sometimes the Yellows fall your way, sometimes they don’t. We’ll take second and move on to Eldora on Friday,” Schatz said.
Logan Schuchart was pleased to be on the podium once again and gain momentum heading back East, “Being out here all the way from Pennsylvania, it’s great to finish on the podium back-to-back nights here, it says a lot about this team and how hard they work. Hopefully we can pick up some more wins to finish off the season,” Schuchart said positively.
Brad Sweet got by Gio Scelzi on the late restart to finish fourth with Scelzi matching his career-best Outlaw finish in fifth. Greg Wilson earned KSE Hard Charger honors.
Feature (25 Laps by driver, starting position, money): 1. 83-Cory Eliason [$12,000]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz [$5,700]; 3. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$3,500]; 4. 49-Brad Sweet [$3,000]; 5. 41S-Giovanni Scelzi [$2,600]; 6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$2,400]; 7. 9-Daryn Pittman [$2,300]; 8. 2-Shane Stewart [$2,200]; 9. 5-David Gravel [$2,150]; 10. 24-Rico Abreu [$2,100]; 11. 18-Ian Madsen [$1,600]; 12. 17W-Shane Golobic [$1,350]; 13. 29-Willie Croft [$1,300]; 14. 26-Joey Saldana [$1,200]; 15. 88N-DJ Netto [$1,100]; 16. 1A-Jacob Allen [$1,000]; 17. 68-Chase Johnson [$900]; 18. W20-Greg Wilson [$850]; 19. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$800]; 20. O-Bud Kaeding [$800]; 21. 7S-Jason Sides [$800]; 22. 19-Brent Marks [$800]; 23. 45-Austen Wheatley [$800]; 24. 83JR-Kyle Hirst [$800] Lap Leaders: Cory Eliason 1-25 KSE Hard Charger Award: W20-Greg Wilson[+5]
Qualifying: 1. 9-Daryn Pittman, 15.874; 2. 1A-Jacob Allen, 15.938; 3. 49-Brad Sweet, 16.135; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 16.149; 5. 41S-Giovanni Scelzi, 16.151; 6. 24-Rico Abreu, 16.177; 7. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 16.184; 8. 83-Cory Eliason, 16.243; 9. 15-Donny Schatz, 16.267; 10. 2-Shane Stewart, 16.359; 11. 29-Willie Croft, 16.372; 12. 5-David Gravel, 16.451; 13. 26-Joey Saldana, 16.456; 14. 18-Ian Madsen, 16.499; 15. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 16.52; 16. 7S-Jason Sides, 16.526; 17. 68-Chase Johnson, 16.532; 18. 17W-Shane Golobic, 16.552; 19. O-Bud Kaeding, 16.619; 20. 88N-DJ Netto, 16.701; 21. W20-Greg Wilson, 16.723; 22. 19-Brent Marks, 16.726; 23. 45-Austen Wheatley, 16.808; 24. 83JR-Kyle Hirst, 16.824; 25. 37-Mitchell Faccinto, 16.976; 26. 3C-Tanner Thorson, 19.124