"I told these guys that if weren't in the top 5 on that competition caution, we were going to be in trouble," Schatz said. "We didn't have the best performance until (Saturday)."
The nationals, an annual celebration of a sport that enjoys a grass roots following across the country, started with a flourish. The 25-car field went four-wide as the smoke from the checkered flag fireworks still hung in the air. It only took one turn for the race to be red-flagged.
Stevie Smith caught the fence and flipped upside down. He was fine though, and Brown took the lead from pole sitter Joey Saldana on the restart.
But there were three cautions in the first four laps alone, including one for tire damage from World of Outlaws points leader Daryn Pittman. That didn't stop Brown from building a huge lead of as many as four seconds on Saldana.
"I think I may (have) used my stuff up a little too early. Hats off to Donny Schatz," Brown said.
All those cautions allowed Schatz to edge closer to the front, and his No. 15 Tony Stewart Racing car cruised to the win by a comfortable 4 seconds.
There were still some boos for Schatz after the race, but not nearly as many as before it started.
"Man to get through there ... I don't what the hell else anyone wants me to do," Schatz said.
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