Schatz is king again in Kings Royal at Eldora


By Drew Terhall

ROSSBURG — A king returned to his throne at Eldora Speedway. Donny Schatz wins his sixth crown at the 40th Kings Royal on July 15. He last won in 2018 and is one away from Steve Kinser’s record of seven crowns. The payout for this event is $175,000.

Schatz said after the qualifying races, his team went to work to try and get his car from drifting too far to the right and left. They decided on trying to use some different things that worked in the past with the rear tires.

With the new changes and the track being slick from the rain that delayed the start of the event, Schatz was flying around the track.

“I knew when we hot lapped, I was like ‘I feel like I’m a race car driver again instead of a flag car. That’s all it really was. I don’t exactly know the specifics of all of it,” Schatz said.

The event started with the qualifying round to send two drivers to the final event. Rico Abreu and Justin Peck were the two fastest times and moved on to the Kings Royal.

After six heat races and two main events, the field was set for the final event.

After a relatively clean day through eight races, there was two caution flags within the first three laps of the Kings Royal. Landon Myers and Peck crashed and were out of the race. Brady Bacon crashed into the wall shortly after to cause the second caution flag.

With the wet conditions, there was a break after 23 laps to refuel. After that break, there was two more caution flags. Shane Stewart crashed and Giovanni Scelzi broke down.

Schatz was in the lead going into the fuel break and didn’t let the caution flags ruin his momentum. He eventually grew his lead and captured his sixth crown.

Brent Marks, last year’s winner, finished second and David Gravel took third.

Marks took the approach of attacking from the outside of the track to past his competition. That worked for most of the field, but didn’t work to get passed Schatz.

“We needed to find a different to try to pass race cars. The key to running up there was not to be too tight. I felt like we needed to get creative and be as free as we possible could,” Marks said. “The team did a very good job of doing that. Fortunately for me, a lot of cars went to run middle or bottom and left all that clean air for me up top.”

Gravel during the qualifying rounds put himself in the position to take first in his heat and get himself in good position for the Kings Royal. He said he just did what he had to do to win the race ahead.

“I just did what I had to do to put myself in a position to win the race. We didn’t take any power away or anything,” Gravel said.

Schatz said it’s hard to think back to his past wins during his long career. It’s partly because of the racer’s mentality of wanting to race for championships. After getting one, there’s always the hunger for more.

“Anybody here who said that, ‘I’m going to win six Kings Royals’ you’re lying to yourself. You want to win one. Then once you win one, you want to win another. It’s a part of the mentality of wanting to race with the World of Outlaws is,” Schatz said.

The race was the final touch to a historic weekend at Eldora. After giving away the highest payout in dirt race history with the Eldora Million, the 40th Kings Royal had the largest crowd at Eldora in the speedway’s history.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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