FARGO, ND ~ June 13, 2003 ~ All of the superstitions surrounding Friday the Thirteenth and a Full Moon didn't phase Donny Schatz as he captured the win in the 25 lap preliminary feature on night two of the three-night Duel in the Dakotas. Racing...
FARGO, ND ~ June 13, 2003 ~ All of the superstitions surrounding Friday the Thirteenth and a Full Moon didn't phase Donny Schatz as he captured the win in the 25 lap preliminary feature on night two of the three-night Duel in the Dakotas. Racing on his hometown track, Red River Valley Speedway, Schatz paced the front of the 26 car World of Outlaws field in his #15 ParkerStores/Subway J & J from green to checkered. The win locked the North Dakota native into the front row of Saturday's dash.
The format for the sixth annual Duel in the Dakotas is based on drivers accumulating points during the Thursday and Friday night preliminary events. The top four point getters are automatically locked into to the final night's dash to determine the starting positions for the championship A-Main event. The remainder of the field will be determined through heat races. Schatz is the defending champion of the annual event.
"We really needed a strong finish tonight to get locked in for tomorrow night," said Schatz. "My guys gave me a perfect race car. It would go pretty much anywhere I wanted to run on the track.
"The track had gotten a few rough spots in the turns as it dried out compared to what we dealt with last night. Getting just the right suspension setup is tricky because if you soften the car up too much to try to get through the bumps, you can get too much bounce in the shocks that will cause them to bind up and ultimately make the car tighter and not turn like it should. We hit the right combination giving me the ability to run high or low to get through traffic. That is our advantage running J & J Chassis.
"Out Shaver engine performed flawlessly as well. I know Steve (Kinser) was mounting a charge toward the end of the race but I felt good in the car and had a good rhythm going that kept us in the lead.
"Now comes the tough one. These regular WoO guys just have a way of putting together their best efforts when there is a big winner's purse on the line like there is at Fargo. We just have to continue to make the smart decisions that pay off for us in the race.
"Heck, I didn't even know it was Friday the Thirteenth."
Schatz whole night was a solid effort for the ParkerStores/SUBWAY team. He qualified second, finished second in his heat race and won his dash putting him on the outside of the front row to start the feature. Schatz has spent the week in attending functions in support of his sponsors greeting fans and company employees alike.
"As far as winning this race, the monkey is off our back after the win last year," Schatz concluded. "But my mind set is no different that it is any other race. I just want to win. It is much sweeter and a great thrill to win in front of your hometown fans."
Fargo area fans can meet Schatz on Saturday at the Donny Schatz Fan Appreciation hospitality tent from 4:00 to 5:00 PM. The tent is located just west of the main grandstands at Red River Valley Speedway. All that is required for admittance is to be wearing some form of Donny Schatz logo clothing.