Donny Schatz 2006 season preview

NEW SEASON PROVIDES GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR SCHATZ, PARKERSTORE TEAM FARGO, ND (February 7) -- Optimism always runs high when competitors look towards a new season. A new year filled with unlimited potential, and the challenge to be involved in ...

NEW SEASON PROVIDES GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR SCHATZ, PARKERSTORE TEAM

FARGO, ND (February 7) -- Optimism always runs high when competitors look towards a new season. A new year filled with unlimited potential, and the challenge to be involved in season long chase for the championship. Right now a sprint car driver's mind is as fresh as the paint and decals on their racecars.

For Donny Schatz and his ParkerStore team, the sky is the limit as they look to embark on the 2006 World of Outlaws season, which begins on Thursday at Volusia Speedway Park near Daytona, FL.

"We're ready to get started and our excitement level for a new season is really high right now," said Schatz, who finished fourth in the 2005 WoO standings. "All we can do is our best giving 110% every night. Hopefully, we can put ourselves in a position where we are contending for a win every race and if we do, we'll be able to race for a championship."

This season will mark the tenth year the 28 year-old from Fargo, ND, will be competing with the famous World of Outlaws series. Beginning with a Rookie of the Year crown in 1997, Schatz has continued to elevate into one of the top contenders. This season, Schatz looks to be one of the drivers to beat for the championship after finishing last season on a surge.

Schatz will return in his familiar yellow and black #15 ParkerStore J&J with Shaver power. Veteran Crew Chief Rick Warner joined the team at last year's Knoxville Nationals and helped the team return to prominence as they won five races, scored 18 top five finishes and 26 top ten finishes in the final 29 starts of 2005.

"This team is very fortunate to have Rick Warner," continued Schatz. "He has worked awful hard to get us ready for the season while I was racing in Australia. You've got to work really hard to be successful, and I really believe hard work makes your luck. Ricky has looked at every detail of this race team and sometimes doubled and triple checked things. He wants to win as much as I do."

The ParkerStore team will have plenty of opportunities to close the evening in victory lane as the 2006 WoO schedule currently offers 67 race nights beginning in Florida and concluding at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track in late October. With stops at all the premier facilities including Knoxville Raceway, Williams Grove Speedway, Silver Dollar and Eldora Speedway along with three nights of action in his home state of North Dakota, Schatz is pleased with the diversity in this year's schedule.

"I think everyone at Dirt Motorsports has worked hard to provide us a good racing schedule this year," said Schatz. "I'm excited things worked out so that we could race at Red River Valley Speedway and also that we'll be making the first ever appearance in my hometown of Minot at Nodak Speedway. Unfortunately, there are some events that we've been involved in the past that won't be included this year and I'm disappointed for the fans in those areas."

Traveling across the country and competing against the best in the business wouldn't be possible without a strong team. The race team is owned by Danny and Diane Schatz and has corporate backing from ParkerStore. This season will be the eighth year of the association between the two and has been a very beneficial partnership.

"We're thrilled that we've built such a strong long-term program with ParkerStore," continued Schatz. "They've been such a strong part of our program and we've really built some brand recognition. It's hard for people that watch this sport not to associate Parker with Donny Schatz."

Schatz will continue to utilize a lot of the same equipment that has proven to be so successful during the last several years. He'll race J&J Auto Racing cars with Shaver Engines, Sander Components, Hoosier Tires and Afco Shocks. With product support also including All-Pro Cylinder Heads, Astro Titanium, AutoMeter, B&R Motorsports Ignitioneering, Crane Cams, Donovan, Engler Performance, FelPro, Fuel Safe, K&N Filters, Kwik Change, Mahle Motorsports, Rod End Supply, Schoenfeld Headers, Ultrashield, Waterman, Winters Performance, XRP.

"Relationships in the industry is a big reason for our success as we chose manufacturers to work with because they are the best in the business," said Schatz. "We've have had long working relationships with Glen Sander, Ron Shaver, and Jack Elam, and you build a bond that allows you to continue to get better. We've added some new manufacturers this year and hope to represent all of them to the best of our abilities."

The season will be a historic one for Schatz racing with the Outlaws as he will be competing with "The Greatest Show on Dirt" for the tenth consecutive season, something he admits to be pretty overwhelming to think about.

"It's pretty unbelievable that I'm starting my tenth season with the World of Outlaws," continued Schatz, who finished a career-best third in 2004. "I have learned so much and been able to reach a high level of success.

"Racing with the World of Outlaws was something that I wanted to do ever since I was a kid. I've tried some pavement and USAC things, but in my eyes the World of Outlaws has been the icon of dirt track racing and the place I want to race. I don't' think that will ever change."

NOTES & QUOTES

The 2006 season opening weekend will provide plenty of opportunity for the fans to see Donny. He'll participate in autograph sessions at the track and also appear in an "Elbows Up!" program that will air on the Outdoor Channel at 8 p.m. (ET) on Feb. 22. Friday's racing program will air on the Outdoor Channel at 8 p.m. (ET) on March 1.

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BETTER LUCK THIS YEAR

In last season's opening night at VSP, Schatz had his #15 ParkerStore J&J pacing the field and looking strong before stopping on the track. A burnt coil wire cost the team a chance at victory, a scenario that unfortunately repeated itself in July when Schatz led the first 27 laps of the 30-lap feature at his hometrack Red River Valley Speedway.

"I'm very confident heading to Volusia," said Schatz. "We were good enough to win there last year, but just had a fluke thing happen to us. Unfortunately the same thing happened at Fargo later in the year, but that's why you have someone like Rick Warner running the program.J "He's been down this road many times and has ways to keep you from falling out of races. You don't want to have something happen to you one time before you learn it. You want to put yourself in a position where you are prepared enough so that you don't have to fall out of races to learn why something wouldn't work. Sometimes there is nothing you can do, but a lot of hard work in advance will help you avoid a lot of those things.

"I'm really excited to get on the track and see if we are as fast as we think we are going to be."

-psr

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Donny Schatz
Teams Williams