Defending His Turf: Schatz Returns Home to Red River Valley Speedway Fargo, ND--June 14, 2006-- Donny Schatz strives to win every event he takes part in, whether it's a heat race, dash or feature. The motivation will be even greater this ...
Defending His Turf: Schatz Returns Home to Red River Valley Speedway
Fargo, ND--June 14, 2006-- Donny Schatz strives to win every event he takes part in, whether it's a heat race, dash or feature. The motivation will be even greater this weekend as he returns to Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D., for the two-day Duel in the Dakotas with the World of Outlaws Sprint Series taking on the All Star Circuit of Champions as well as the Northern Outlaw Sprint Association.
Raised in Minot and residing near Fargo, Schatz will have the stands packed on Friday and Saturday to see if he can continue his hot streak when he leads the Mean 15 drivers into the high-banked half-mile. He has one World of Outlaws A-feature win at Red River Valley Speedway, which came in 2002. On top of that, Schatz has turned countless laps at the track where he cut his teeth as a teenager in a 360-sprint car. In fact, his first win in a sprint car came at Red River Valley.
"Any time you can come back here and race in front of the hometown fans, it's exciting," said Schatz, who driver the ParkerStore J&J. "It's always been a fun and exciting race for us, and we have always looked forward to it. We're pumped up to be here, and hopefully we come out with a victory."
Schatz knows how tough it is to win a World of Outlaws event, and despite leading the series with five wins this season, he acknowledges that each night presents a whole new set of challenges. Once a night is over, the drivers have to start focusing on the next race, and the preparation needed to get down the road and to another track, with the intense schedule the series races.
"Any victory that you get, you want to get another one, and forget about it (the last win) and go on," Schatz said. "That's one thing we try to do, is not dwell on what we have done the night before or the last win. We have to work hard to get all the wins we can. It's probably harder to win here at home, than it is anywhere else. There's a lot of people cheering us on, and expecting us to win. We're pretty optimistic."
Schatz has been the master of most tracks this year, picking up five wins. He has won on 1/3-mile tracks at I-55 Raceway and Grandview Speedway. In addition, the current championship points leader won at Batesville Speedway, a very racy 3/8-mile oval. Schatz also scored a victory on the half-mile at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in early March, battling some very windy and cold conditions that saw snow flying through the air for a large portion of the first night of that event. Not to be outdone, he has won on the largest track the series races at, the 5/8-mile at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.
Large or small, flat or banked, it doesn't seem to matter for Schatz this season as he continues rolling to impressive finishes at the front of the field. He has not finished any lower than seventh since May 20. He leads the series with 14 top-fives.
"We've been pretty good on the bigger tracks, and it's a bigger track,"
Schatz said. 'It's under new management, so we don't know what the track conditions will be. I'm sure they will do the best they can, and we'll see what happens."
With the countless miles his team has put on their truck and trailer this season, as well as numerous hours working on the cars, Schatz knows being close to home and being able to work out of their own shop for a couple days will be a plus to his Ricky Warner led crew.
"There are always things to do, and I think it gives the race team a little break," Schatz said. "They don't really have to do a whole lot of driving. This weekend they get to have a little break and maybe a little fun too. We're looking forward to it."
Any time a driver can sleep in their own bed at night, and be with their family, that brings some added motivation. Before returning home, Schatz and the rest of the Mean 15 will do battle at The Raceway at Powercom Park in Beaver Dam, Wis., before making the trek west.
"I try to do the best I can with that (separating himself from racing) anyway," Schatz said. "I am home most of the time. I was home a couple of Friday's ago for one day, and it helps me get caught up. There are a lot of things going on around here. That Friday and Saturday night after the races, I will get to sleep in my own bed, rather than a hotel."
With all the success that he is having this year, Schatz is working just as hard if not harder than ever, to stay on top of his game. The season is still young, and being a veteran of the sport, he knows that fortunes can change in a heartbeat.
"It's definitely tough," Schatz said. "The younger guys in the sport are the one's who are shining right now. You have Joey Saldana, Daryn Pittman, and Brooke Tatnell. All the guys that are up there are not only the guys we race night in and night out, but they will be up there for years to come. That says a lot about our group and we are excited about that. Nothing is a definite run-a-way by anybody."
The 13 different winners so far this season shows just how tough the competition is night in and night out with the World of Outlaws. Schatz on a couple of occasions this season has come from the seventh spot to pick up features wins. He also had led the most laps on the circuit.
"We always try to be as fast as can be each night, but some nights there are guys that are faster," Schatz said. "There is no domination by a single car. It's a toss up, with the younger guys that have stepped up to the plate to be a part of it. They are doing a great job. There are a lot of cars that you never want to take for granted, because if you do, they will beat you."
For ticket information on the World of Outlaws events at Red River Valley Speedway visit: www.slspromotions.com or call 815-344-2023. On Friday at Red River Valley Speedway, adult tickets for rows 1-7 are $25, while rows 8-19 are $30, and rows 20-28 are $33. Children 12-under will be admitted for only $10. Also, pit combo tickets will be available for $38. On Saturday, at Red River Valley Speedway adult tickets for rows 1-7 are $28, while rows 8-19 are $32, and rows 20-28 are $35. Children 12-under will be admitted for 15. Also pit combo tickets are available for $38.