With just the World of Outlaws World Finals in front of the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series, the 2014 season comes into focus

CONCORD, N.C. – Nov. 1, 2014 – When the checkered flag fell on the final night of the 2013 World Finals just 14 points separated Donny Schatz from Daryn Pittman and his sixth World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship.

It had become clear earlier that night that it would be mathematically impossible for Schatz to catch Pittman. Afterward, a dejected Schatz concluded, “that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

It was a moment that would set the stage for the season to come and challenge every series competitor to stop the momentum of a determined driver who now had something to prove.

When the series rolled into Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment in February, kicking off the 2014 season, the championship was not on anyone’s mind. What was on everyone’s mind was the announcement that 20-time champion Steve Kinser, ‘The King of the Outlaws,’ would conclude full-time competition with the series at the end of the year.

Kinser quickly proved he was not yet done, battling the defending champion Pittman and winning on the third night of DIRTcar Nationals. It was the 577th win of his career.

Volusia also gave Schatz a platform to make his case for 2014 – he won on night two and finished third on night three.

As the series headed to the west coast early on, the Kasey Kahne Racing teams looked to make their mark on the season. Brad Sweet, the leading candidate for the 2014 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award, won the season opener in Florida and then picked up victories at Tucson and Calistoga. His teammates were not far behind – Pittman won at Thunderbowl and Calistoga, where he also led a KKR sweep of the podium, and Cody Darrah picked up his first win of the season at Kings Speedway.

Pittman hit his stride as the series took on the Pennsylvania Posse for the first time. After being bested by Stevie Smith at Lincoln Speedway, Pittman went on to score four wins in a row – both nights at Williams Grove, then east to Orange County Fair Speedway and New Egypt Speedway.

At the time, Pittman’s streak was the longest since Jason Meyers’ five win streak in 2011. It was not the last win streak of the season.

David Gravel began the 2014 season unsure of what was to come. By May, he had been signed up by California-based Roth Motorsports which was in need of a full time driver. Gravel did not disappoint, scoring a win in just his second run with the team on night two at Eldora Speedway.

Eldora also served as a launching pad in 2014 for Shane Stewart and the inaugural season of his Larson Marks Racing team as he scored his first win with the team and the first win for Justin Marks and Kyle Larson as team owners the night before Gravel’s win. In a partial schedule with the series, Stewart picked up two more wins – one in a non-points qualifier at Knoxville Raceway and another at Southern Oregon Speedway.

As Pittman’s performance slowed down through June, Schatz and Joey Saldana capitalized.

In just his second season with Dan Motter and the Motter Equipment 71m, Saldana racked up three wins by the beginning of June. The Upper Midwest was good to him to start the month where he won at I-80 Speedway and Jackson Speedway.

With five wins, Saldana was in the hunt for the championship.

Another driver with the championship in his sights was Paul McMahan, who may not have had the wins of some of his competitors in 2014 but had a consistency throughout that was rivaled by few. In what McMahan described as one of the biggest wins of his career, he won the Brad Doty Classic at Limaland Motorsports Park in early July.

“I tell you what, it took me a little bit to collect my thoughts before I got out of this racecar because this just means the world to me,” McMahan said in victory lane that night. “Brad Doty, like I said, is my hero and I’ve come here many times and never been able to get a win. It’s a normal win, but this is the Brad Doty Classic. This takes every win I’ve ever won away and this is right up top.”

When the Outlaws returned to Eldora Speedway in July for the King’s Royal, the event would be defined by victories for a legend and one of the stars of the sport.

Three-time champion Sammy Swindell, who had one other win in 2014, held off polesitter Tim Shaffer to take home the win at the Knight Before the King’s Royal.

With his retirement from the sprint car racing announced just over a month later it would be his last World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series victory. The win was the 294th of his career, solidly cementing him as the second-winningest driver in Outlaws history.

The next night at Eldora, Kerry Madsen, who had previous wins at the track but had come short in previous King’s Royal attempts, won the race that he had so long coveted.

As he climbed from his car after the big win, Madsen was nearly speechless.

“I just want to thank Eldora Speedway for just letting me be part of this fantastic race,” Madsen told the Eldora crowd. “I moved over from Australia and this is pretty much the race that hooked me on American racing.”

Enter Schatz.

With the ‘Month of Money’ underway, Schatz and his Tony Stewart Racing team were ready to hit their stride. At the beginning of July, Schatz already had eight wins under his belt.

Schatz swept the Outlaws events in Canada, taking home wins at Autodrome Drummond, Cornwall Motor Speedway, Ohsweken Speedway and Castrol Raceway Park. Five wins in all – Schatz was the first Outlaw driver ever to sweep the Outlaws’ Canadian events.

As the series headed back to Knoxville, Iowa for the biggest event of the season, the Knoxville Nationals, Schatz and his team had 12 wins and eight straight podium finishes.

Madsen led the points early for the Knoxville championship, but Schatz came around and on the last night the only thing that stood between him and his eighth Knoxville Nationals win was Brian Brown. For the third straight year he and Brown did battle, exchanging the lead and attempting to deny the other one the win.

Ultimately though, it was Schatz who hoisted the trophy in victory lane.

“It’s unbelievable – it feels so unreal, like it’s not happening,” Schatz said after the win.

Schatz was not done. He won the next event at Junction Motor Speedway in Nebraska and then, beginning at Nodak Speedway, started what would become a six race winning streak. From Aug. 17 to Sept. 1, through two countries and two states, Schatz racked up win after win.

When Shane Stewart ended Schatz’s streak at Willamette Speedway on Sept. 2, Schatz had 20 wins, an 18-race podium streak and a 215-point lead in the championship race.

The dominance of Donny Schatz did not stop breakthrough performances throughout the season and a total of 23 different winners and six first-time winners.

Carson Macedo and Jonathan Allard had wins at the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway. Greg Hodnett and Lance Dewease stopped the Outlaws at Williams Grove Speedway during Summer Nationals. Young guns Christopher Bell, Shane Stewart and Rico Abreu all scored wins. And 26-year-old Ryan Smith welcomed the Outlaws back to Port Royal Speedway after a decade by taking home his first ever Outlaws win.

Perhaps no first time win was more incredible though than Roger Crockett’s at I-94 Speedway in late June. After battling past Sweet and leading much of the feature, in turn two on the last lap, Crockett’s right rear tire let go. As Sweet tried to catch up, Crockett limped the car down the backstretch, through turns three and four and won his first ever World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series victory.

The milestones of 2014 were many and made the season one for the record books. The season saw just two rainouts all year, completing an incredible 98 percent of events, the top-six in the championship standings surpassed the total for the most points ever earned in a single season (the past record was 11,236, set by Steve Kinser in 1991), Schatz became the first driver since Steve Kinser in 2002 and 2003 to score back-to-back 20 win seasons, Madsen had the closest finish in series history, besting Kyle Hirst at Antioch Speedway by just .005 seconds and two of the greatest drivers the sport has known – Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell – retired from full-time competition.

With just the World Finals in Charlotte before the close of the 2014 season, the successes of the season are in focus. Defending champion Pittman had 13 wins, the winningest season of his career, and sealed a second place finish in the points. McMahan too set a new single season win record for himself with five wins and maintained a consistency almost unrivaled, finishing the season in third with his CJB Motorsports team. Madsen had a breakout season, adding six wins to his career total and racking up some of the most coveted trophies on the schedule – the Kings Royal and Ironman 55. And, with seven wins, Saldana showed the strength of his Motter Equipment team.

As others surged throughout the season and then faded, Donny Schatz maintained the consistency of a driver with a championship in his sights. 26 wins, 62 top-fives, 79 top-tens and eight quick times. 2014 will go down as one of the best seasons of Schatz’s career to date – he became the third-winningest driver in series history, surpassing Mark Kinser, and had the most single season wins of his career.

The disappointment of 2013 now a distant memory, Schatz needs only to take a trip to Charlotte for The World Finals and sign-in to claim his sixth World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship.

The Dirt Track at Charlotte is a progressively banked four-tenths-mile oval. The track record of 11.880 seconds was established by Jeff Shepard on Oct. 6, 2001.For more information, visit http://www.WorldofOutlawsWorldFinals.com.

Previous A-Feature Winners
2014 – Joey Saldana on May 23
2013 – Paul McMahan on May 24, Donny Schatz on Nov. 8, Paul McMahan on Nov. 9
2012 – Joey Saldana on May 25, Sammy Swindell on Nov. 2, Dale Blaney on Nov. 3
2011 – Paul McMahan on May 28, Donny Schatz on Nov. 5, Donny Schatz on Nov. 6
2010 – Donny Schatz on May 29, Jason Meyers on Sept. 6, Jason Meyers on Sept. 6
2009 – Joey Saldana on May 22, Jason Meyers on Nov. 6, Joey Saldana on Nov. 7
2008 – Lance Dewease on May 23, Brooke Tatnell on Oct. 31, Donny Schatz on Nov. 1
2007 – Donny Schatz on May 25, Jason Meyers on Nov. 2, Steve Kinser on Nov. 3
2006 – Kevin Swindell on May 24
2003 – Blake Feese on May 24
2002 – Greg Hodnett on May 24, Greg Hodnett on May 25, Tyler Walker on Oct. 11, Daryn Pittman on Oct. 12
2001 – Danny Lasoski on May 26, Mark Kinser on May 26, Tim Shaffer on Oct. 5, Steve Kinser on Oct. 6
2000 – Sammy Swindell on May 25, Mark Kinser on May 26, Donny Schatz on Oct. 5, Mark Kinser on Oct. 6

The following World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series drivers maintain websites:
Cody Darrah – CodyDarrah.com
David Gravel – DavidGravel89g.com
Kraig Kinser – KraigKinser.com
Steve Kinser – SteveKinser.com
Kerry Madsen – KenericRacing.com
Paul McMahan – PaulMcMahanRacing.com
Daryn Pittman – DarynPittman.com
Joey Saldana – JoeySaldanaRacing.com
Logan Schuchart – Shark1s.com
Donny Schatz – DonnySchatz.com
Jason Sides – SidesMotorsports.com
Brad Sweet – Bradsweetracing.com
For more driver information, visit: WoOsprint.com

SEASON WINNERS: Donny Schatz – 26 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 15, The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 6, Devil’s Bowl Speedway on April 19, Lawrenceburg Speedway on May 27, I-96 Speedway on May 31, River Cities Speedway on June 20, 34 Raceway on June 27, Cedar Lake Speedway on June 29, Lernerville Speedway on July 15, Autodrome Drummond on July 26, Cornwall Motor Speedway on July 27, Ohsweken Speedway on July 29, Knoxville Raceway on Aug. 9, Junction Motor Speedway on Aug. 12, Nodak Speedway on Aug. 17, Castrol Raceway on Aug. 22 and Aug. 23, Skagit Speedway on Aug. 29 and Aug. 30, Grays Harbor Raceway on Sept. 1, Kokomo Speedway on Sept. 16, Terre Haute Action Track on Sept. 17, Bloomington Speedway on Sept. 26, Berlin Raceway on Sept. 27, Rolling Wheels Raceway Park on Oct. 12, Fremont Speedway on Oct. 19); Daryn Pittman – 13(Thunderbowl Raceway on March 14, Calistoga Speedway on April 6, Devil’s Bowl Speedway on April 19, Williams Grove Speedway on May 16 and May 17, Orange County Fair Speedway, May 18, New Egypt Speedway, May 20, Dodge City Raceway Park on July 4 and 5, Lincoln Speedway on July 17, Fulton Speedway on July 23, River Cities Speedway on Aug. 15 and Southern Oregon Speedway on Sept. 3); Joey Saldana – 7(Perris Auto Speedway on April 12, Salina Highbanks on April 25, The Dirt Track at Charlotte on May 23, I-80 Speedway on June 6, Jackson Speedway on June 13, Eldora Speedway on Sept. 19 and Lernerville Speedway on Sept. 20); Kerry Madsen – 6(Stockton Dirt track on March 22, El Paso Speedway Park on April 15, Lakeside Speedway on June 7, Eldora Speedway on July 12 and Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Aug. 3 and Antioch Speedway on Sept. 8); David Gravel – 5(Merced Speedway on March 28, Eldora Speedway on May 3, Wilmot Raceway on May 9, Lebanon Valley Speedway on July 20 and Williams Grove Speedway on Oct. 5); Paul McMahan – 5(The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 5, Tri-State Speedway on May 10, Limaland Motorsports Park on July 9, Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Aug. 1 and Deer Creek Speedway on Sept. 13); Brad Sweet – 5 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 14, Tucson International Raceway on March 8, Calistoga Speedway on April 5, Knoxville Raceway on June 14 and Beaver Dam Raceway on June 28); Cody Darrah – 2(Kings Speedway on April 11 and Lernerville Speedway on July 15); Shane Stewart – 2(Eldora Speedway on May 2 and Willamette Speedway on Sept. 2);Sammy Swindell – 2(Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on April 26 and Eldora Speedway on July 11);Rico Abreu – 1(Thunderbowl Raceway on March 15); Jonathan Allard – 1 (Silver Dollar Speedway, Sept. 6);Christopher Bell – 1(Jacksonville Speedway on May 7); Dale Blaney – 1 (Attica Raceway Park on May 30);Roger Crockett – 1(I-94 Speedway on June 21); Lance Dewease – 1 (July 20 at Williams Grove Speedway);Greg Hodnett – 1 (July 18 at Williams Grove Speedway); Mark Dobmeier – 1 (Huset’s Speedway on July 2);Kraig Kinser – 1 (Clay County Fair Speedway on Sept. 12); Steve Kinser – 1 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 16);Carson Macedo – 1 (Silver Dollar Speedway on Sept. 5); Ryan Smith – 1 (Port Royal Speedway on Oct. 25); Stevie Smith – 1 (Lincoln Speedway on May 14).

LISTEN LIVE: Fans can watch and live to all the action from World Finals at the Dirt Track at Charlotte live on http://www.DIRTVision.com.

LIVE ONLINE UPDATES: Check out the Official World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series website at WoOsprint.com for live, interactive text updates of each race. It also includes driver biographies with statistics and pictures, race-by-race stats, detailed track information and race coverage, series news and team press releases.

GET SOCIAL: Follow the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WorldofOutlaws, like it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WorldofOutlaws, or check out the latest videos on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws.

UP NEXT: The 2014 World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car season concludes at the World Finals. The series returns to action during DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 19-21.