SCHATZ, PARKERSTORE RETURN TO VICTORY LANE IN JOLIET JOLIET, IL (July 9) - Donny Schatz and his ParkerStore World of Outlaws team could feel that things were starting to get better. On Friday night, Schatz raced to victory driving the ...
SCHATZ, PARKERSTORE RETURN TO VICTORY LANE IN JOLIET
JOLIET, IL (July 9) - Donny Schatz and his ParkerStore World of Outlaws team could feel that things were starting to get better. On Friday night, Schatz raced to victory driving the #15 ParkerStore J&J with Shaver power at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL. Schatz used a lap 11 restart to power his way into the lead and the Fargo, ND racer set sail from there.
Schatz led the final 19 laps on the half-mile, which is part of the Chicagoland Speedway complex to claim his fourth "A" feature event of the season and first since winning at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, TX, on March 19.
"This feels great to be back in victory lane," said Schatz following his 30th career WoO "A" feature victory. "The crew (John Pate and Nick Kerlin) has been working really hard, and I knew we were getting closer and just had to have everything work out."
Schatz began the evening by turning the eighth fastest lap in qualifications. He finished fourth in his heat race, earning a front row starting spot in the second dash event. There was a growing concern for all teams as the track took its toll on tires as several teams had tires cut from debris during heat race action.
The 1997 WoO Rookie of the Year finished second in the six-lap dash race that set the six outside row starting spots in the lineup for the 30-lap "A" feature. Following the finish, the ParkerStore crew hustled and changed the rearend in the #15 sprinter prior to the start of the feature.
When the green flag waived on the feature, Schatz jumped into second place behind Brian Paulus. He spent the first seven laps chasing Paulus and began to close in on the #28 sprinter as they encountered lapped traffic. A caution flag flew for yet another cut tire on lap 11 opening the door for Schatz.
On the restart, he performed a flawless slide job on the leader heading into turn one and took the lead. The race stayed green for the next 8 laps as Schatz built his lead.
Another yellow slowed the action on lap 22 and race officials stopped the race to check fuel loads. The crew had a chance to talk with Donny and the focus was on making eight good laps and winning the race. The final stages of the race had Schatz pulling out to a lead on the lap 22 restart and again following a red flag on lap 25.
The win capped a solid five nights of racing for the ParkerStore team that saw Schatz finish in the top five three times and included last Saturday's run at his hometown track, where he led the first 27 laps before a mechanical failure.
"Last week at Fargo was really a big turning point for us," continued Schatz, who holds sixth in WoO points and is tied with the second most "A" Feature wins (4) this season. "All of us were disappointed that we didn't win Saturday night, but we feel like everyone there knew we were the car to beat. This team stuck together...the people from Parker and all our sponsors and manufacturers continue to encourage us and it's starting to pay off"
"We found a good motor combination and the car has been working really well. The big money races are coming and we want to be a factor. You have to walk before you can run and we went for a while where we weren't even making dashes. We had some top five runs going this week and winning tonight really helps. The goal now is to remain at this level of being a top five car every night and winning our share."
The ParkerStore team traveled to St. Louis following the victory and will conclude the six race in eight day stretch with tonight's race at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, MO.
Keep up with all the latest news on Donny Schatz by logging onto www.donnyschatz.com and www. parker.com/racing