By Mike Spieker
GRAND FORKS, ND (June 15) - For the 10th consecutive year, the “Greatest show on dirt” takes on America’s number one raciest dirt track. It’s the first leg of the Northern Tour, presented by Gerdau, Friday night at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks.
WHO TO WATCH:
Donny Schatz, who is fresh off a victory Saturday night at Knoxville Raceway, comes into Grand Forks as the series’ winningest driver at River Cities with six WoO triumphs. Schatz has won four of the last six events at River Cities and will be rolling in just one marker behind point leader Brad Sweet in the series standings.
Hot on the heels of Schatz is Kasey Kahne Racing pilot, Brad Sweet, who led the series standings from the first race at Volusia Speedway Park in February until just last week when Schatz surpassed him, but regained the point lead Wednesday night at Granite City Speedway. Sweet has visited victory lane six times in 2016, but will be looking for his first career win at River Cities Speedway on Friday night.
Four-time winner thus far in 2016, Daryn Pittman, teammate to Brad Sweet, is the only driver in the last two years to beat Schatz at the 3/10th mile bullring. In that race, Pittman out-dueled the Fargo, ND driver in the closing laps to take the win. The Great Clips #9 crew currently sits third on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series point standings with 20 top five finishes to date.
A couple other drivers to watch are Shane Stewart and David Gravel. Stewart is the series’ most recent winner as he picked up his fourth win of the season Wednesday night, while Grave has taken three checkered flags on the year. They sit fourth and fifth in the series standings, respectively. Stewart, who is in his third year with Larson Marks Racing and second consecutive year on the WoO tour, has become a nightly threat for the win. Gravel on the other hand is having a break out year in 2016 after making the switch to CJB Motorsports in the off season. The 23-year-old Watertown, Connecticut driver picked up his first career WoO victory at the nearby I-94 Speedway in 2013 and will be looking to park his BigGame Treestand #5 in RydellCars.com Victory Lane on Friday night.
All-time WoO Winners at River Cities:
Donny Schatz: 5
Steve Kinser: 2
Joey Saldana: 2
Craig Dollansky: 2
Sammy Swindell: 1
Kraig Kinser: 1
Cody Darrah: 1
Daryn Pittman: 1
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River Cities Speedway
2300 Gateway Dr
Grand Forks ND 58203
216 4th St. NW
East Grand Forks, MN 56721