Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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WEST FARGO—Donny Schatz remains in good shape to win his ninth World of Outlaws championship, but his momentum was slowed a bit Saturday night at his home track—the Red River Valley Speedway. Jason Johnson led from start to finish to capture the Outlaws' 30-lap feature. It was the first time the Outlaws have raced at RRVS in five years. Schatz came into the night with two straight wins, one last week at the Knoxville Nationals and Friday night's win at River Cities Speedway.
Donny Schatz doesn't have a financial stake in River Cities Speedway. In a sense, however, he does own The Bullring. In another dominating performance, Schatz won Friday night's World of Outlaws 40-lap feature in front of more than 5,000 fans. The Fargo driver now has won seven of the past 10 WoO features in Grand Forks. And, for good measure, Schatz also won the 25-lap late model feature—the second straight night he has captured an NLRA win. Winning at RCS never gets old for Schatz, who recently turned 40.
Donny Schatz won the Knoxville Nationals for the 10th time last Saturday. The 50-lap feature at the Nationals is the crown jewel of sprint racing. By Sunday morning, his attention, however, had turned toward River Cities Speedway and tonight's World of Outlaws show. "After 21 years of racing with the greatest show on dirt, that's what you expect," said Schatz. "You leave Knoxville and move on." That's what the Outlaws have to do as they race 93 times a season, crisscrossing the country a few times in the process.
KNOXVILLE, Iowa—It's double digits for Donny Schatz. For the 10th time in his career, Schatz won the 57th annual Knoxville Nationals late Saturday night. It was the 10th time in the past 12 years that Schatz has won the Nationals, considered the top sprint race in the country. The Fargo driver and the rest of the World of Outlaws will continue their season Friday night at River Cities Speedway, where Schatz has been the dominant driver since the circuit started racing at The Bullring in 2007.
Casey Mack, for years, has been a contender at River Cities Speedway. To be a contender, however, you have to win at The Bullring. And Mack did just that Friday night, winning the caution-plagued 25-lap feature in front on an estimated 2,000 fans. It was Mack's first win of the season at RCS. "It's been a long time since I've been here," said Mack in Victory Lane. "It feels awesome." Mack took the lead from Nick Omdahl on Lap 4 and led the rest of the way, although he had to survive a handful of restarts.
Navigating lapped traffic is never easy for the leader of a sprint car race. And Wade Nygaard had to pick his way through a lot of lapped traffic Friday night at River Cities Speedway, where he won the 25-lap feature. "Sometimes it helps you; sometimes it doesn't," said Nygaard. "But I think we got through it OK."
Last season, UND women's basketball head coach Travis Brewster kiddingly wondered who was in charge of the Fighting Hawks' schedule—one that was one of the most demanding in the program's Division I history. He may be asking the same question this season. UND released its 2017-18 women's basketball schedule on Wednesday, one that again looks to be extremely challenging.
Every Friday, Gary Morin picked up Jason Boppre so he could go to the River Cities Speedway to watch his favorite drivers. Jason would call a handful of times each week to make sure the trip to the speedway was still on. Three or four times a week, Jason talk to his cousin, Big Sky Conference assistant commissioner Jon Kasper, about UND sports—particularly football.
Until last Friday, 19-year-old Jade Hastings thought the best day of his life came July 1—the day he won his first sprint car feature. The win came at the Greenbush Race Park. He's since changed his mind. His best day now is July 14—the day he won a 25-lap sprint feature at River Cities Speedway. Winning at The Bullring is special for any driver, mainly because it's one of the hardest things for an Upper Midwest sprint racer to accomplish.
It was another night of racing for the Forks Karting Association in Grand Forks on Wednesday. The FKA held a regular night of competition at the track, located on the Grand Forks County Fairgrounds. The go-kart races are held weekly through the summer.