Donny Schatz and Tyler Walker prepare for a Historic Week of Racing Memphis, TN- May 19, 2003- Donny Schatz and Tyler Walker will be a part of history this week. For the first time in USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown history, competitors will race...
Donny Schatz and Tyler Walker prepare for a Historic Week of Racing
Memphis, TN- May 19, 2003- Donny Schatz and Tyler Walker will be a part of history this week. For the first time in USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown history, competitors will race back-to-back races on pavement and dirt ovals. Chris Santucci, R.E. Technologies Team Manager, says the two nights of racing should be a treat for the fans. "This will be the ultimate in open wheel action because you get to see the same guys run pavement and then dirt. The fans will get their money's worth for sure."
Racing two nights in a row on two different surfaces can be tough on a driver and his crew, but the teams are up to the challenge. Tyler Walker, driver of the Curb Records sponsored #35, says he feels no pressure because of his crewmembers expertise.
Donny Schatz, pilot of the Parker Stores sponsored #115, agrees. "I know that the R.E. Technologies Racing team will give me a good setup when we unload. The other advantage I have is Jack French, my crew chief on the Silver Crown program. He has tons of experience with these cars at both IRP and Indiana State Fairgrounds which helps my confidence in our ability to qualify, then race well at both tracks."
BIG BUCKS, NO WHAMMIES
If two nights of back-to-back racing were not enough, Team 6R Promotions has posted a $50,000 bonus for the driver who can win both 50-lap segments and the Hoosier 100 on the following night.
"We will go there and do our best," said Walker. "If everybody does their job, I do mine and a few things roll our way, then I don't see why we couldn't win both for $50,000."
At the same time both drivers are concentrating on a larger goal-a championship season. "The $50,000 carrot dangling out there to win both races is something I would love to receive, but I think it is more important to stay focused on our team goals," added Schatz. "Wins come when you keep your priorities in order."
HOOSIER TWIN 50s
Indianapolis Raceway Park is a technical track that presents many challenges for the driver. "IRP challenge is of the line around the track," says Walker. "IRP is different, you have to feel the track rather than being able to see the line. You have to make good judgments to where you can brake and throttle. It is real flat and there is not a lot of traction in terms of grip going sideways. It is really easy to spin the tires coming off there."
Schatz agrees. "These cars slide more on pavement than you might think, especially at IRP. Obviously the key is not to slide too far and end up in the wall. Having the same chassis builder for both the Silver Crown cars and the winged sprint car has been an advantage for me. I have worked with Jack Elam of J&J for quite some time and have tremendous confidence in everything he builds."
According to the USAC website, Thursday's race will be split into two 50-lap segments. A red flag will signify the completion of the first "50" and a two-abreast restart will be utilized for the second "50" with up to the first six starters inverted. That number will be determined by a draw between races.
"The 50-lap race will help us because our guys are used to running those short races," says Team Manager Santucci.
The R.E. Technologies Racing team is eagerly anticipating their first dirt race of the season. The team has two top-ten finishes at the fairgrounds and have started in the top-three the last two years. "Our cars are generally good on dirt tracks," Santucci says. "If we can get them up front at the start of the race through qualifying, we will be in good shape. It is hard to pass at the Fairgrounds, so it will be important to qualify good." For
Donny and Tyler, it will be their first time on dirt in a Silver Crown car. "I am looking forward to the first Silver Crown race of the season on dirt to learn exactly what differences there will be and how to mix my lap experience in the Silver Crown car with my years of experience in the winged sprint cars on dirt," Schatz explained.
"Silver crown cars are heavier and have less horse power," added Walker. "It will be a different ball game, but I believe that we will be able to adjust quickly out there and pass some cars to hopefully win it."
BASKING IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The overflow limelight from the 87th Indianapolis 500, the history making Kroger Pavement/Dirt Showdown presented by the Dellen Automotive Family and the $50,000 prize for winning back-to-back events will bring much attention to the Silver Crown drivers. Tyler Walker agreed, "There should be a lot of people there for the race. It will be a good place to win one. This will be a good time for us to shine."
DONNY AND TYLER ON TV
Thursday night's race will be televised on Speed Channel, May 23 at 10pm EST, while Friday night's race will be broadcast on Speed Channel, June 12 at 9pm EST.