DONNY SCHATZ OFFICIALLY JOINS TONY STEWART RACING WITH BACKING FROM ARMOR ALL CONCORD, N.C -- Oct. 15, 2007 -- Donny Schatz has had one of the most remarkable seasons in World of Outlaws history. Following his third consecutive victory...
DONNY SCHATZ OFFICIALLY JOINS TONY STEWART RACING WITH BACKING FROM ARMOR ALL
CONCORD, N.C -- Oct. 15, 2007 -- Donny Schatz has had one of the most remarkable seasons in World of Outlaws history.
Following his third consecutive victory Saturday night at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., Schatz has amassed a career-best 19 wins in 2007 with four feature events remaining, including Friday night's Outlaw Desert Classic at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix and Saturday night's feature at Perris Auto Speedway near Los Angeles in Perris, Calif.
Not only has he won three races in a row, but Schatz has done something this year that no other driver in series history has accomplished, win four of the sport's most prestigious events in the same season: the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway, the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup at Lernerville Speedway, the Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway and the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway.
In addition, Schatz is almost assuredly going to be leading the championship standings when the series heads Nov. 1-3 into the season-ending World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway, where he'll be seeking his second consecutive World of Outlaws title.
And that is why two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup champion and Eldora Speedway owner Tony Stewart, who also fields the Bass Pro Shops car on the World of Outlaws tour, expanded his team and convinced Schatz to drive a second Tony Stewart Racing entry in the 2008 season. On Friday during the NASCAR Bank of America 500 weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Stewart and Schatz revealed not only that Armor All would be the primary sponsor on the car, but also unveiled the car itself in the Time-Warner Cable Infield Media Center. The gleaming Armor All/Chevrolet machine that Schatz will campaign next season on the World of Outlaws circuit drew much attention from the NASCAR media in attendance, and wrenched necks from passersby as it was rolled in and out of the building.
"This is fun," said Schatz, a native of Fargo, N.D., who was the World of Outlaws rookie of the year in 1997. "Obviously [at Lowe's] we're representing our sport and what's going on with the No. 15 car and the sponsorship and how beautiful this thing looks. It's an honor to be able to do this. Any time we can go outside the box to promote our sport to new fans and new people that might come watch, it's a big bonus for everybody."
Stewart, who says he got a first-round draft pick with Schatz, is counting on Schatz to continue his current pace in 2008 on the World of Outlaws trail, which will feature more than 90 events.
"You just look at the paper each week and look at his performance," said Stewart, who was owner of the 2001 World of Outlaws championship-winning car driven by Danny Lasoski. "Every time you pick up the paper it's talking about Donny Schatz winning here and Donny Schatz winning there. Then you see him in person and watch him in the racecar and you see the confidence he has behind the wheel. No matter whether he starts in the top two rows or he starts in the back of the pack, he always finds a way to get himself in the hunt and into contention. He's one of those guys who is always searching around the racetrack. He doesn't get stuck on one spot of the track. That shows a lot of confidence. If you're not confident in your racecar and don't have the confidence that you can move around, you're not going to move. To see him and those qualities, it shows he has the confidence and he's comfortable enough in his racecar to be able to have the mindset that I have to constantly be searching for a different spot on the racetrack to make sure I'm not getting beat or leaving something on the table. In my opinion, he's head and shoulders above everybody else right now."
One reason for that confidence is crew chief Ricky Warner, who teams up with Schatz again after the two worked together for part of 2005 and the entire 2006 championship-winning season. According to Stewart, building a winning team is something he's picked up from the owner of his NASCAR team.
"I've learned from Joe Gibbs," Stewart said. "You put the right people in the right places. Ricky Warner will be Donny's crew chief next year. We know they have a good working relationship. Jimmy Carr is the head of our World of Outlaws program at TSR. It doesn't have to have me to run the day-to-day side of it. We've got good people in place that know how to run it without me. It makes it easier for me to do my full-time job off to the side while I've got race teams out on the road working each week."
For Schatz, it means moving from his family-owned team to one of the highest profile entries -- along with Kasey Kahne Racing and Steve Kinser Racing -- on the World of Outlaws circuit.
"I don't see it any different," said Schatz, who will continue to reside in Fargo while the TSR shop is in Indianapolis. "I talked with them before we ever did this. They know we did what we had to do to win races. We wouldn't run anybody else's team any different than we did our own. We know how to run our own so it shouldn't be that hard running for somebody else. To be able to be supported by great people like Armor All and try to promote their product and have the resources Tony Stewart has, it's really a lot of fun. There's nothing you think about that has any stress to it. You don't ask for permission, you ask for forgiveness. That's a pretty fun motto to have on a race team."
And for Donny Schatz, having fun means winning races -- something Tony Stewart believes will happen quite often next season.