Bring On The Adrenaline: World of Outlaws Points Leader Heads ParkerStore Team into King's Royal ROSSBURG, OH (July 13) - Throughout the long and grueling World of Outlaws season there are a few nights that just seem to be a little different.
Bring On The Adrenaline: World of Outlaws Points Leader Heads ParkerStore Team into King's Royal
ROSSBURG, OH (July 13) - Throughout the long and grueling World of Outlaws season there are a few nights that just seem to be a little different. Drivers will tell you that every race on the schedule is important, but once they feel the electricity in the air that surrounds them during those selected nights their body language tells you different.
For the last ten years, current World of Outlaws (WoO) points leader Donny Schatz has been part of the King's Royal weekend at the famous Eldora Speedway, and he's still trying to earn the coveted king's crown and take home the $50,000 prize. This weekend he'll get another shot.
"It always is a big event, and one that we want to get taken care of," said Schatz, who drives the No. 15 ParkerStore J&J with Shaver power. "It's one of those places where the people get really hyped up, and that is what has made the event so big. It's exciting and absolutely sends chills down your spine being there."
The Fargo, ND racer first felt the chills in 1996 making his debut in the King's Royal. He made a strong first impression coming home eighth in his initial pursuit to be king. That season Schatz was having a phenomenal run competing with the WISSOTA Sprint Cars on his way to the championship.
In the nine "Royal Rumbles" since, Schatz has been competitive but has yet to be in a position to claim victory during the final laps. In 2001, he duplicated that eighth place finished and the following season put on a great show charging his ParkerStore sprinter from 21st to finish a career-best fourth in the 40-lap race.
The veteran Outlaws star has an impressive list of prestigious victories on his resume including the Western World (Manzanita 0x41601999), Williams Grove National Open (2000, 2004 & 2005), Eldora's Historical Big One (2002), Silver Dollar Speedway's Gold Cup Race of Champions (2004) and is a five-time winner of the $50,000-to-win Sprint Car International in Australia.
"We've been fortunate to be very competitive in the bigger races, but we've still got a couple that we need to add to our list," said Schatz, who has 54 career WoO starts at the track scoring nine top fives and 25 top tens. "I haven't really ever felt like a dominant driver at Eldora. It's a place where you have to always be fast to be in a position to win. We had a perfect night back in 2002 and won the Big One and came back the next year and won an Outlaws feature, so we've proved we can win here. I'm ready to do it again."
As he enters the 23rd annual King's Royal presented by Crown Royal, Schatz finds himself atop the World of Outlaws standings. He has won a series leading seven "A" feature events along with a preliminary feature during the first 35 starts in 2006.
Schatz credits his ParkerStore team (crew chief Ricky Warner and crewmen Shane Bowers and James Zartman) for the early season success.
"I've said it quite a few times this year that my team is probably the best group of guys that we've assembled since I've been out here," continued Schatz, who is in his tenth season with the Outlaws. "The preparation work was done in the off-season and with all the miles and long nights these guys put in, the best way I can thank them is by winning races."
Schatz and the ParkerStore team have been extremely consistent this season. Since May 20 (20 races), Schatz has finished inside the top three 15 times and his worst finish in that stretch was a seventh.
"Our consistency has been good, but honestly we need to be winning more races," said Schatz. "I started the season wanting to win the most races and knew if we did that everything else would take care of itself. It's been a couple of weeks since we last won (June 30 Speedway Wichita, KS), so were hungry to get back to victory lane."
"We know this is a weekend where all the teams are going to try and be at their best. We try to be at our best every night and with this event kicking off the 'Month of Money' there would be no better way to start the month than a win at the Kings Royal."