Donny Schatz Wins $50K Sprintcar International in Australia
GRANVILLE, NSW, AU (January 2) -- Things didn't look good for Donny Schatz heading into the $50,000 Sprintcar International event at Parramatta City Raceway on Saturday night. Following three consecutive wins at the clay-oval near Sydney, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series star crashed his #15 ParkerStore J&J in a heat race accident in Friday's preliminary program.
"I was pretty skeptical after last night when we destroyed the car," Schatz said, who continues to blister the competition. "We were fortunate tonight to move forward in the heats and then got to the main event. I have to thank Garry Rush and his crew for the tireless work they did on the car."
The crew put together the only other J&J the ParkerStore team sent "Down Under" and had it ready for Schatz to drive in the highest paying sprint car event in Australia.
The Fargo, ND racer quickly showed he was on a mission racing from tenth starting position in the third heat race. He charged to a third place finish and continued his surge in the second dash event racing from eighth into fifth place to earn the outside fifth row starting position in the $50,000-to-win feature event.
Early in the race, Daryn Pittman was the driver in charge. After winning Friday's preliminary, Pittman led the early stages of the race while Schatz worked his way forward. The ParkerStore car continued to get faster as Schatz predicted.
"I told my guys the car would be a bit of a handful in the first ten laps but then it would get better," continued Schatz. "This is why we came early...to win this race. I'm really happy that everything worked out. I've got Brian Bloomfield from my ParkerStore team here and all of Garry's guys did a great job."
Schatz continued working his way into the top five and gained a position when American's Joey Saldana and Craig Dollansky collided while battling for the runner-up spot. Dollansky crashed, but Saldana was able to continue. When the race resumed, Schatz was in third and ready to make his move on the leaders. On the restart, he raced by Saldana for second and then took care of Pittman to capture the lead.
The final stages of the 40-lap race was all Schatz as he continued to prove he's one of the best in the world at driving a sprint car.
"This is what happens when you have a strong combination like Shaver Engines and J&J racecars," explained Schatz, who has four victories in five starts on Australian soil. "We proved it in the states and now to be able to do it here one night after destroying a car just goes to show the quality products that we use really help us win races."
Schatz and his #15 ParkerStore J&J will return to the PCR clay on Wednesday night (Jan. 5) as he continues to prepare for the 2005 World of Outlaws Sprint Series opener at PCR. The three-night "Outlaws Down Under" program kicks off the ninth WoO campaign for Schatz on January 13-15.
Keep up will all of details of Donny's Australian Assault by logging onto www.donnyschatz.com and www.parker.com/racing.