World of Outlaws Star Donny Schatz Sweeps Main Event At Parramatta City Raceway
Norman, OK -- Jan. 22, 2006 -- Donny Schatz was the hottest Mean 15 racer last season from the Knoxville Nationals to the checkered flag on the 2005 World of Outlaws Sprint Series campaign, but even that run couldn't have forecast what was to come when he fired up the Gary Rush Racing J&J this winter in Australia.
On Saturday night at Parramatta City Raceway in Granville, NSW, Schatz won his seventh consecutive race in the past month, and his eighth of nine overall. It continues a torrid pace from the 2005 season that saw him win eight A-features and one preliminary.
"It has been a lot of fun winning eight out of nine nights, no matter who was here," said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D., who has won five of the past six $50,000-to-win events at Parramatta. "The team has everything clicking right now, so hopefully I can take this form back to the USA.
"This is as good a run as I have ever had in my career. The way I look at it, I had that ninth race won and I got out of line in lapped traffic and kind of gave the race away. -- Having said that, if you would have told us a month ago we were going to win eight, I wouldn't have believed you."
In addition to Schatz's success, three more Mean 15 racers competing internationally also earned top-eight finishes at Parramatta. Daryn Pittman chased Schatz to the checkered flag to finish second with Craig Dollansky in fourth and Brooke Tatnell in eighth.
All four of those Mean 15 racers have been to the top of the podium this winter. Schatz stole the spotlight in Australia with his incredible run, Dollansky tasted victory on Dec. 17 in New Zealand, Pittman won a round of the International Sprintcar Challenge on Dec. 27 in Brisbane, and Tatnell picked up five victories and captured his fifth World Series Sprintcars crown racing throughout his native Australia. Tatnell also earned a series-leading six Dash wins and was given the Driver's Driver Award by his fellow competitors.
But there was a reason Schatz was the center of attention. After taking the checkered flag in Parramatta's $50,000-to-win Sprintcar International event on Jan. 7, he continued to dominate, extending the streak with victories on each of the past three racing nights.
In the 40-lap finale on Saturday, Schatz started on the inside of Row 3. Only 17 laps into the race, he worked his way to the front and drove away to the checkered flag despite a caution on Lap 27 and a red flag on Lap 28.
Pittman maintained his spot near the front to finish second with Dollansky fourth and Tatnell eighth, showcasing the type of action fans can expect to see this season when the World of Outlaws Sprint Series launches the season on Feb. 9 at Volusia Speedway Park.
"We had a great weekend," said Pittman, a native of Owasso, Okla., who charged to the lead in the first half of the feature. "We had a fifth, then a ninth and now a second. It's hard to complain with results like that. It's just tough to get to the lead and then lose it like that, but Donny has had the best car for a month here. He was always going to be tough to beat. He is a great competitor so he is a great guy to run second to.
"[Schatz] has had an advantage over everyone because he was never committed to any line. I was good on the top early but then they actually pushed the cushion over the crown of the racetrack, and it's not as if I was bad when I wasn't leaning against something, it's just that Donny was just great."
These four racers will join the rest of the Mean 15 to open the 2006 World of Outlaws Sprint Series season on Feb. 9-10 at Volusia Speedway Park, where fans are encouraged to come to an autograph party at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 9 followed at 2 p.m. on Feb. 10 by the Inaugural Mean 15 Kart Clash, where fans can get autographs and pictures as the Mean 15 racers battle DIRT officials and media members on Volusia's revamped kart track.