PEVELY POWERHOUSE: Donny Schatz Drives Away to I-55 World of Outlaws Victory

Schatz takes the lead early and builds a commanding lead on his way to third win at the Pevely, MO oval (Trent Gower Photo)

PEVELY, MO (April 13, 2024) - Donny Schatz is undeniably one of the best to ever drive a Sprint Car. And the 10-time World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car champion gave yet another example of why on Saturday night.

The Greatest Show on Dirt invaded Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 for the second straight night, and Schatz gave the huge crowd a show. The Fargo, ND driver started fourth for the 40-lap finale, took the lead on Lap 11, and stretched his advantage to nearly five seconds at one point before taking the checkered flag for his second win of 2024.

The trip to Victory Lane felt especially rewarding after a 20th place Qualifying effort left him and the Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing team playing catch up early in the night.

“If you were near my trailer after Qualifying, you probably heard some choice words, so I apologize for that,” Schatz said. “It just shows the heart of this team. It’s such a double-edged razor blade somedays. We dug out of a huge hole tonight and got a win at a racetrack we typically don’t run good on. We threw two kitchen sinks at it tonight. This place is demanding, and we haven’t been to Victory Lane here in a long time and didn’t really know what the track was going to do. I just went where everybody wasn’t, and it actually felt pretty good.”

Schatz upped his World of Outlaws win total to 313. The victory was his third at I-55 and first since 2015. It also marked his 50th top-10 finish at the Pevely, MO bullring – making it the fifth track where he’s reached the impressive feat. Win number two of 2024 makes it 26 consecutive seasons of multiple World of Outlaws checkered flags.

The 40-lap main event got off to a wild start. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid led the field to green with Logan McCandless – making only his sixth Series appearance – to his outside. McCandless slipped up down the front straightaway allowing the second row of Bill Balog and Donny Schatz to his inside. In the first set of corners, Kofoid got tight which let Balog roll by him down the back straightaway to take the lead and pace the opening circuit.

An early restart saw near disaster at the front of the field. Kofoid used a huge run to attack Balog for the lead exiting Turn 2. Balog slid up, and Kofoid used evasive action to avoid making contact with the Anderson’s Maple #17B. Behind the top two Schatz stuck the bottom and rolled right by Kofoid to snag the runner-up spot.

Over the next few laps Kofoid challenged Schatz in an attempt to regain second, but Schatz fended him off and set his sights on Balog. The “North Pole Nightmare” kept a solid advantage, but Schatz began to close in as traffic thickened ahead.

On the 11th circuit, Balog found himself caught up behind a lapped car which opened the door for Schatz. The pilot of the Carquest #15 fired a slide job in Turns 3 and 4 and cleared both Balog and the slower car.

Balog stayed right with Schatz throughout the next couple circuits. But it didn’t take long for Schatz to establish a rhythm and begin to look like prime Donny Schatz. He put a pair of lapped cars between himself and Balog and began to pull away.

From there, Schatz sliced his way through the tail of the field with precision. If they were running high in front of him, he went low. If they were low, he went high. If they were in the middle, he could choose either the top or the bottom. Schatz’s lead bloomed to as much as 4.6 seconds.

Carson Macedo took the second spot from Balog on Lap 25 and looked to bring a battle to Schatz. As the race dipped inside 10 laps remaining, the Jason Johnson Racing pilot began to take chunks out of the margin. He cut it below two seconds on Lap 36, but it was too little, too late as Schatz rolled to his third I-55 win.

“Sometimes it’s probably better to be in the position where you’re in that second row not knowing what the racetrack is going to do,” Schatz said. “And I think that was a huge thing tonight. The #41 there he was pretty good on the bottom early, and I couldn’t ever really get down there. I was worried about the hole off of (Turn) 2. Hats off to the whole Carquest team. It was actually a pretty fun race. Normally when we come here it’s up near the fence. And tonight, we could roll around on the fence, on the bottom, kind of anywhere. So that felt really good.”

Macedo’s runner-up gave him back-to-back podium efforts with the JJR crew. He’s still yet to miss the top-10 since the finale of DIRTcar Nationals in early February. Another strong Albaugh #41 machine led Macedo to another solid outing, his sixth top three in the last eight I-55 races.

“I feel like we had a strong race car there throughout that whole race,” Macedo said. “I was able to move around a lot in traffic. Philip Dietz did an incredible job there. I feel like we made some good adjustments in the Dash and got even better there in the Feature, which feels really good.”

Rounding out the top three was Buddy Kofoid and the Roth Motorsports crew. The pairing continues to build momentum with their third podium in the last four races. A win seems imminent for the Penngrove, CA native. After the race, a contrite Kofoid offered apologies for some late contact with David Gravel.

“First off I just want to apologize to David and his whole crew,” Kofoid said. “Obviously, that was not my intention. I feel really bad about that. I know saying that isn’t going to change anything… We were good all day. Good weekend for our Roth Motorsports/Mobil 1, Toyota guys. I don’t know if we were good enough to win, but I felt like I kind of made a couple of mistakes early and then got going in the middle and end, but it wasn’t quite enough to get there.”

David Gravel and Bill Balog completed the top five.

A 23rd to 11th drive gave Austin McCarl the KSE Racing Hard Charger.

Carson Macedo claimed his third Simpson Quick Time of the year and the 36th of his career in Sea Foam Qualifying.

NOS Energy Drink Heats One, Three, and Four went to Carson Macedo (116th Heat Race win of career), Giovanni Scelzi (44th of career), and Landon Crawley (second of career). Milton Hershey School Heat Two belonged to David Gravel (247th of career).

Garet Williamson won the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown.

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars make their only appearances of 2024 in Kentucky and Indiana next weekend. First, the tour invades Kentucky’s Paducah International Raceway for the first time since 2012 on Friday, April 19. Then it’s the annual stop at Haubstadt, IN’s Tri-State Speedway on Saturday, April 20. For tickets to Paducah, CLICK HERE. For tickets to Tri-State, call (812) 768-6025.

If you can’t make it to the track, catch every lap live on DIRTVision.


NOS Energy Drink Feature (40 Laps): 1. 15-Donny Schatz[4]; 2. 41-Carson Macedo[5]; 3. 83-Michael Kofoid[1]; 4. 2-David Gravel[6]; 5. 17B-Bill Balog[3]; 6. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[7]; 7. 1S-Logan Schuchart[9]; 8. 87-Aaron Reutzel[19]; 9. 70-Kraig Kinser[12]; 10. 2KS-Chase Randall[16]; 11. 88-Austin McCarl[23]; 12. 23-Garet Williamson[21]; 13. 7S-Landon Crawley[8]; 14. 29-Logan McCandless[2]; 15. 22-Riley Goodno[13]; 16. 3-Ayrton Gennetten[15]; 17. 122-Joe B Miller[14]; 18. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[25]; 19. 23B-Brian Bell[10]; 20. 37-Ayden Gatewood[18]; 21. 20G-Noah Gass[24]; 22. 6-Bill Rose[17]; 23. 95-Matt Covington[20]; 24. 24T-Christopher Thram[22]; 25. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[11]

BIG GAME BEATDOWN: David Gravel Leads Every Lap for I-55 Victory

The point leader picks up his third victory of the season in impressive fashion  

PEVELY, MO (April 12, 2024) - Nothing is slowing David Gravel right now. And that held true again on Friday night.

Lapped traffic couldn’t slow him. Cautions that erased his lead couldn’t slow him. Even a slide job that briefly cost him the lead couldn’t slow him at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. 

Gravel started on the front row of the Feature and drove a masterful 40 laps on his way to a World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car victory at the Pevely, MO bullring. The Watertown, CT native sliced the Big Game Motorsports machine through heavy traffic and held off one strong challenge from Michael “Buddy” Kofoid to secure his third win of 2024.

“What a car we had tonight,” Gravel said. “I was nervous early on. Qualifying didn’t go very good, but we were still able to get a good Qualifying effort there. Cody (Jacobs) kept working on it, and in the Dash I knew we had something really good. It feels good to win one here. I haven’t won here since like 2016. It’s been way too long.”

The win marked the 91st of Gravel’s career with The Greatest Show on Dirt, equaling him with Brad Sweet for ninth on the all-time win list. It also was his 33rd since joining Tod Quiring’s Big Game team, making the organization the team he’s won the most often with in World of Outlaws competition. Gravel now owns a pair of I-55 checkered flags, and the track is the 19th in which he’s won at multiple times in Series competition.

Gravel started the race in the second position as Toyota Racing Dash winner – Giovanni Scelzi – led the field to green. Right away Gravel flexed his muscle by powering around Scelzi on the top to secure the top spot and lead the opening lap.

As they worked through the opening circuits Gravel committed to the low line while Scelzi worked to build momentum on the top. Scelzi kept the KCP Racing #18 glued behind Gravel, but Buddy Kofoid began to reel them both in quickly. On the sixth lap Kofoid slipped under Scelzi to take over the runner-up spot.

Up ahead Gravel began to negotiate heavy lapped traffic. Kofoid started to close in for the top spot, but the race’s first caution on Lap 9 gave Gravel a clear track again.

On the restart Gravel moved to the topside, and Kofoid fired a slider at him aboard the Roth Motorsports #83. The Penngrove, CA native couldn’t quite clear Gravel as Kofoid settled back into second down the back straightaway. It only took a few laps before Gravel neared the tail of the field, but it was déjà vu as the yellow lights again flashed right when the leaders were staring at heavy traffic.

The next restart served up Gravel’s biggest challenge of the night as he again went for the cushion in Turn 1. Kofoid tossed another slide job and cleared him with this attempt. As they exited Turn #2, Gravel aimed the Huset’s Speedway #2 low and drove back by Kofoid down the back straightaway.

When the race entered the second half, Gravel truly began to show what his machine was capable of. He dipped and dived his way through traffic, stretching his advantage to nearly three seconds at times. Behind him, a war between Kofoid, Scelzi, Bill Balog, and Carson Macedo broke out for positioning inside the top five. The group swapped many sliders and crossovers as they jockeyed for spots while Gravel drove away.

A late caution with seven laps remaining gave Kofoid and the rest of the frontrunners one last shot at Gravel, but he wasted no time pulling ahead on the final restart. Kofoid and Macedo went to battle for second as Gravel drove away to the win and his fifth consecutive top-two finish.

“It’s a lot of fun to drive this #2 car right now. I feel like we’ve kind of been there the whole year other than Cotton Bowl when we got into a crash and had to come to the work area,” Gravel said. “Everything has been going really good. We’re just going to stay focused, put our heads down, and keep working.”

Kofoid fended off Macedo’s late challenge to claim the runner-up spot, marking his best finish of his rookie season. The 22-year-old is now on a roll of seven straight top 10s with a 6.29 average finish over that span. Kofoid found that the race’s cautions came during inopportune moments that might’ve prevented him from mustering a better challenge for the win.

“I feel like we were every bit as good as them (Gravel), maybe more towards the end,” Kofoid said. “Lapped traffic is kind of where I thrive and where our car seems to be really good right now. We’d get to traffic and get to him, and then the yellow would come out. It kept repeating itself a few times. I think we definitely got a lot better throughout the night. I went from being very uncomfortable to having a chance to win.”

Completing the top three was Carson Macedo and the Jason Johnson Racing team. Macedo hasn’t missed the top 10 since the final night of DIRTcar Nationals in early February as he continues to build momentum. The Lemoore, CA native owns podiums in five of the last seven World of Outlaws races at I-55. He used some strong restarts to climb from the fifth starting spot to second at one point before settling for third.

“I think plugging the bottom was kind of my goal there,” Macedo said of his restarts. “I felt like a lot of guys would kind of sling around the top, and if I could hit it down there right and not grab that little lip and get my front end over, I could execute down there pretty nice, get down the back stretch, and beat them into Turn 3. Hats off to Philip Dietz, Adam Zimmerman, and Robby McQuinn. They worked hard all night.”

Bill Balog and Giovanni Scelzi completed the top five.

A 24th to 12th drive in his first Series start of the season gave Noah Gass the KSE Racing Hard Charger.

Giovanni Scelzi claimed his second Simpson Quick Time of the year and the 13th of his career.

NOS Energy Drink Heats One, Three, and Four went to Giovanni Scelzi (43rd Heat Race win of career), Carson Macedo (115th of career), and David Gravel (246th of career). Milton Hershey School Heat Two belonged to Donny Schatz (522nd of career).

Logan McCandless won the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown.

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars finish up the weekend at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Saturday, April 13. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, catch every lap live on DIRTVision.


NOS Energy Drink Feature (40 Laps): 1. 2-David Gravel[2]; 2. 83-Michael Kofoid[3]; 3. 41-Carson Macedo[5]; 4. 17B-Bill Balog[4]; 5. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[1]; 6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[6]; 7. 1S-Logan Schuchart[11]; 8. 15-Donny Schatz[7]; 9. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[13]; 10. 122-Joe B Miller[12]; 11. 70-Kraig Kinser[17]; 12. 20G-Noah Gass[24]; 13. 88-Austin McCarl[18]; 14. 24D-Danny Sams III[22]; 15. 7S-Landon Crawley[14]; 16. 23B-Brian Bell[15]; 17. 3-Ayrton Gennetten[10]; 18. 23-Garet Williamson[9]; 19. 29-Logan McCandless[21]; 20. 99-Skylar Gee[23]; 21. 21R-Gunner Ramey[16]; 22. 24T-Christopher Thram[19]; 23. 73-Scotty Thiel[20]; 24. 87-Aaron Reutzel[8]

For full results, CLICK HERE.