CONCORD, N.C. — Despite a valiant comeback in the final two months of the season, West Fargo’s Donny Schatz fell shy of claiming his 11th World of Outlaws sprint car championship last weekend at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, in what was the closest points finish in series history.
Schatz charged from eighth to finish second in the first of two events at the four-tenths mile oval on Friday night. That cut Brad Sweet’s points lead to just two points entering the season finale on Saturday. Schatz had to either win Saturday night’s feature or beat Sweet by two positions to earn the title. Sweet had the tiebreaker in his favor by having the most feature wins throughout the season.
Sweet and Schatz started third and eighth, respectively. Schatz quickly charged into the top five in the early going of the 30-lap main event. Schatz caught and passed Sweet on lap five to take over the fourth position, but Sweet crossed underneath Schatz on the following circuit to regain the spot.
From there, Schatz could not catch Sweet’s NAPA Auto Parts No. 49. Sweet went on to finish second, followed by Schatz in third. The difference in the final standings was four points.
“We dug everything we could. I drove it as hard as I could,” Schatz said after Saturday’s feature. “It just wasn’t good enough.”
The title was Sweet’s first and the second for his car owner and former NASCAR-star, Kasey Kahne. It also broke Schatz’s streak of five consecutive championships.