Cactus Classic Victory Highlights WOO Weekend For Parkerstore Team PHOENIX, AZ (March 5) - With a season goal of winning the most World of Outlaws (WoO) sprint car races, defending WoO champion Donny Schatz has let it be known that the most ...
Cactus Classic Victory Highlights WOO Weekend For Parkerstore Team
PHOENIX, AZ (March 5) - With a season goal of winning the most World of Outlaws (WoO) sprint car races, defending WoO champion Donny Schatz has let it be known that the most important thing he can do in 2007 is try to win every night. Schatz and his ParkerStore team were in the mix for two victories this past weekend racing in Arizona. They finished third in Friday night's event at USA Race Park near Tucson and were victorious on Saturday night in the Cactus Classic at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix.
"Everyone can look at the results and say that we've been consistent, but we need to win races. Period." commented Schatz following his sixth top three finish in seven 2007 WoO starts. "Winning races is the key to having a successful season. We were right there on Friday night before we had a problem with the motor and ended up finishing third. We weren't going to be happy unless we won on Saturday night, and the entire team did a great job to help us get the job done."
Schatz became the first repeat winner of 2007 in the World of Outlaws series when he collected his 71 career WoO win (54 "A", 17 prelims).
The Fargo, ND racer began the weekend at USA Race Park by timing in third fastest of the 41-car field. He raced to a runner-up finish in the third heat and started the 30-lap feature event eighth. Schatz was able to avoid disaster on the initial start when Craig Dollansky was involved in a crash just in front of the No. 15 ParkerStore J&J.
Once the feature restarted, Schatz was on a charge tracking down leaders Jason Sides and Steve Kinser. He raced into second on lap 9 and then was in hot pursuit of Kinser. He pulled even with "the King" on one occasion, but wouldn't be able to make another run at the lead as he developed a problem with his engine. He nursed the motor on seven cylinders to the finish coming home third behind Kinser and Joey Saldana.
After posting their fourth third place finish of the season, the team spent the day preparing for a complete evening of action at the fast, half-mile oval. With a lightning fast track surface, which saw drivers eclipse the previous track record, Schatz raced to a second place finish in his heat race and a third place finish in the dash event.
The feature event was a classic duel of speed. In the early stages, Schatz chased front row starters Justin Henderson and Paul McMahan. He worked the bottom groove and top line to perfection and jumped into second before the race reached the ten-lap mark. On lap 13, he made his move for the lead past Henderson and began to pull away. During the final 12 laps of the race, Schatz maneuvered lapped traffic with Joey Saldana putting on the pressure. The ParkerStore car was too fast and Schatz raced to his third career feature win at the track, his first two came during the 1999 Western World Championships.
"That was a tough race and those kind sure take a lot out of you, but I'm proud to get the win," remarked the defending WoO champion. "My team did a great job tonight and gave me a strong car."
"This place usually doesn't stay that fast. We were really good around the bottom in turns three and four, but you also had to be able to run high to deal with traffic. I saw Joey pull next to me once and was determined to keep him behind us. It feels great to get back to victory lane."
Schatz has six finishes in the top three in seven 2007 WoO starts. His consistency has kept him in the lead of the series standings, and he admits the team will continue working hard to mold as a unit.
"We're still figuring out all the roles and how to work together," said Schatz. "We have two new guys, so there is going to be an adjustment period. Everybody is working hard and has the desire it takes to race at a championship level. We're satisfied with the start we've had, but probably feel like we've let a couple wins get away from us. That motivates all of us to keep giving our best every day."
The ParkerStore team will have next weekend off before returning to the track on March 16 at Houston Raceway Park (Baytown, TX). The team will compete on March 17 at Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, MS. Schatz was the feature winner the last time the Outlaws raced at Houston Raceway Park in March of 2005.