SCHATZ, PARKERSTORE TEAM START 'MONTH OF MONEY' WIH A SECOND AND LOOK AHEAD TO BIG WEEK OF ACTION SARVER, PA (July 17) - With his 10 month World of Outlaws racing schedule along with a six week tour of Australia, Donny Schatz is seemingly...
SCHATZ, PARKERSTORE TEAM START 'MONTH OF MONEY' WIH A SECOND AND LOOK AHEAD TO BIG WEEK OF ACTION
SARVER, PA (July 17) - With his 10 month World of Outlaws racing schedule along with a six week tour of Australia, Donny Schatz is seemingly always racing. There are many highlights along the way, but the four week stretch beginning with the King's Royal and concluding with the Knoxville Nationals is a special time of the year.
On Saturday night, Schatz kicked off the 'Month of Money' by racing his No. 15 ParkerStore J&J with Shaver power to a runner-up finish in the 23rd annual King's Royal presented by Crown Royal at Eldora Speedway near Rossburg, Ohio. He started sixth and worked his way inside the top three during the 40-lap marathon. The World of Outlaws point leader took second with a five laps to go, but couldn't run down eventual winner Joey Saldana.
"It's hard to be happy with second," said Schatz, following his ninth second place finish of the season. "In the past, Eldora hasn't been one of my stronger tracks, but I can honestly say that Saturday night I felt better than I ever have there in the past."
Schatz was the second fastest qualifier in the field of 57 cars entered in this year's King's Royal. With the race's unique format, drivers had to win one of the six heat races to be in the dash event, which set the first six starting positions of the feature event. Schatz knew the consequences and charged from fourth to win the second heat race and earned the fifth starting position in the six car dash. Schatz finished sixth the four lap race and started his 11th consecutive King's Royal feature event on the outside of row three.
After track owner Tony Stewart and his staff reworked the racing surface, it was time for the feature event. Schatz moved quickly into the top five and continued to search for the best way around the high-banked half mile dirt oval.
The Fargo, ND racer tried a number of racing grooves as he pursued the competitors in front of him. There were a couple of near misses including when he was running fourth and trying to pass Jac Haudenschild for third. Haudenschild lost a right rear tire and flipped coming down the back straightaway and Schatz was able to avoid disaster by clearing most of the No. 35 sprinter. On the ensuing restart, Schatz made a couple of attempts to take second from Danny Lasoski before finally taking the position with six laps remaining. While he was battling Lasoski, the leader Saldana was able to pull away. Schatz couldn't reel in the leader and scored a career-best second in the King's Royal.
"I have to thank my team," continued Schatz, who has a 173 point advantage in the WoO point standings. "Ricky (Warner), Shane (Bowers) and James (Zartman) worked really hard to get our ParkerStore car as fast as it could be. The track was really fast and we didn't get to the front with enough time to chase down Joey. This was a new car on Friday night and we know what its capable of doing, so it would be an understatement to say that we are looking forward to the races next week. We're going to Lernerville and Williams Grove and I know this thing is capable of being really good at both of those tracks."
Five times this year in the race following a runner up finish, Schatz has taken the ParkerStore sprinter to victory lane. With those odds, the team is looking forward to the 15th annual Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup race on Tuesday at Lernerville Speedway. The Silver Cup is the second piece of the puzzle during the 'Month of Money', which includes four high paying races: King's Royal ($50,000-to-win), Silver Cup ($30,000-to-win), Cleveland Brothers Summer Nationals ($20,000-to-win) and the Knoxville Nationals ($140,000-to-win).
Another reason for optimism is the results of the team's first race at Lernerville in 2006. After qualifying a disappointing 18th on May 31, Schatz charged his ParkerStore sprint car to a third place finish and nearly got second on the final lap. Schatz has won a World of Outlaws feature at the half-mile banked dirt oval located near Pittsburgh, taking the win on April 21, 2003.
"Everyone on this team is motivated to win races and this week is a great opportunity for us," continued Schatz, who leads the Outlaws with seven "A" feature wins this year. "We haven't won yet in July and I know none of us are satisfied with just finishing in the top three. We had a really good run at Lernerville in May and if we start anywhere closer than 18th, I like our chances."
"The Silver Cup is a special race to all of us Outlaws. The Martin family did a lot for sprint car racing and to be able to add that to our list of accomplishments would be a big thrill. When I first started racing with the Outlaws, Mark Kinser taught me a lot of things and he was really good here. I know he won this race a few times and I'd sure like have my name on the list of winners too."
Following the Silver Cup, the ParkerStore team will travel to Williams Grove Speedway in central Pennsylvania for the three-night Cleveland Brothers Summer Nationals that begin on Thursday. Schatz won the Summer Nationals in 2003 and has been very successful at the track in the past winning the prestigious National Open three times including the last two.