DEFENDING WOO CHAMPION RIDING HIGH INTO ST. LOUIS FARGO, ND (July 6) - The last time defending World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz pulled into I-55 Raceway looking to score a second straight WoO victory he did. That was in April 2006, when...
DEFENDING WOO CHAMPION RIDING HIGH INTO ST. LOUIS
FARGO, ND (July 6) - The last time defending World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz pulled into I-55 Raceway looking to score a second straight WoO victory he did. That was in April 2006, when Schatz raced his Global ParkerStore sponsored No. 15 J&J with Shaver power to a flag-to-flag 40-lap triumph at the high-banked track located just south of St. Louis.
This year, Schatz enters the season's only visit to the track coming off Tuesday night's victory at Huset's Speedway near Sioux Falls, SD. The Fargo, ND racer is excited to return to the track where he's been very consistent since 2001, scoring nine top ten finishes in 11 starts.
"I-55 Raceway is a pretty fun place," said Schatz, who has finished sixth or better in the last five events at the track. "It's a high-speed place that isn't very big. You've got to get your car working to maneuver traffic and pay attention to what the track is doing at all times. We've been pretty good there the last few years and were able to finally win one last April."
After winning last year's first visit to the track on April 1st, Schatz was poised to make it two straight on July 8th as he worked his way into the lead during the feature event. The track had taken rubber making passing very difficult, but a broken steering gear made turning nearly impossible for Schatz and he held on to finish fourth.
This season, consistency has been the key for Schatz as he continues to pursue a second consecutive Outlaws championship. He leads the series point standings by 87 markers over Joey Saldana. He picked up his series leading ninth win on Tuesday night at Huset's Speedway and sixth Crane Cams Dash victory.
"We've been racing with the Outlaws for 11 years and have learned the importance of winning races," continued Schatz, who has 61 career WoO "A" mains. "We don't pay too much attention to the point standings right now. We're looking to win races every night. The guy that wins the most races is usually the one that comes out on top at the end of the year. Joey (Saldana) has eight wins and Steve (Kinser) has seven, so we've got to keep winning races."
In order to win races, a driver must put himself in contention each night. Through 40 races, Schatz has been inside the top ten on 36 occasions. Sunday night's 13th place finish at Cedar Lake Speedway broke a string of 15 consecutive top ten finishes. Tuesday's victory started another streak, which Schatz hopes to build on this week and into the upcoming "Month of Money", which kicks off next Saturday with the King's Royal at Eldora Speedway.
"Every team wants to be running their best when the big races are on the line," said Schatz, who has had great success the last few seasons at the biggest events. "Our approach is to treat each night like it's just another race. Of course that becomes tough when you know in your mind that its not. The key is trying to be good enough every night to have a shot at winning. We'd like to start a winning streak on our way to Ohio next week."
Saturday's race is the fourth event in the SuperClean Summer of Money on ESPN2 and will air Sunday, at 11:30 a.m. (et). Schatz took two of the first three televised events on SPEED winning at Williams Grove and Charlotte, but he has yet to score a win on the worldwide leader in sports. He hopes that changes this weekend.
"It's such a big deal to have this eight-race package with ESPN," said Schatz. "We've got great marketing partners like Global ParkerStore and Snap-on Tools. This is a chance to get them some valuable exposure, and hopefully attract some new fans to our sport. In the first three races of the this deal, we just haven't been able to be there at the end. Pevely is always exciting, so hopefully we can put on a good show and have a chance at that first ESPN win."