Schatz Named North American 410-Sprint Car Poll Driver of the Year Concord, NC--Dec. 13, 2006 -- Donny Schatz was honored Wednesday in recognition of his championship winning 2006 season, by being named the North American 410-Sprint Car Poll ...
Schatz Named North American 410-Sprint Car Poll Driver of the Year
Concord, NC--Dec. 13, 2006 -- Donny Schatz was honored Wednesday in recognition of his championship winning 2006 season, by being named the North American 410-Sprint Car Poll Driver of the Year, after claiming the World of Outlaws title as well winning the Knoxville Nationals.
The award is voted on by a panel consisting of media members, promoters, sanctioning body officials, as well as manufacturers.
Schatz, a native of Fargo, North Dakota, received 25 of the 28 first-place votes. In total, eight drivers that competed full-time with the World of Outlaws in 2006 received votes, with five finishing in the Top-10 overall.
"We are truly honored by being voted the best driver and team of the year by the National Sprint Car Poll," said Schatz. "The great part about our season is that we worked hard to win as many races as we could and figured everything else would take care of itself."
Schatz, who drove his family owned car to 17 A-Feature and two preliminary feature wins in World of Outlaws competition, along with his Knoxville Nationals title, and an early season All Star Circuit of Champions victory in Florida, finished the year with 21 overall wins on North America soil.
When the final checkered flag of the World of Outlaws season flew in late October, Schatz had accumulated an impressive 42 Top-Five finishes in A-Feature races, en route to claiming the $200,000 winner's share of the point fund, along with the championship trophy and inaugural champion's ring.
Schatz aboard the Parker Store J&J led the series in most statistical categories. He racked up over $372,000 in season earnings. He led 441 laps, over 150 more circuits than the next closest driver. In time trials, he stopped the clock first nine times, to lead all drivers, while setting new track records at Orange County Fair Speedway in New York, as well as Southern Oregon Speedway. Schatz was also tied for the series lead with eight dash wins that earned him the same number of pole positions.
Danny and Diane Schatz, Donny's parents received the 2006 "Team of the Year Award" from the North American 410-Sprint Car Poll for the first time.
"I have to thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to chase a dream and go out and race with the World of Outlaws in 1997," said Schatz. "We've come a long way since then and they've been behind me every step of the way, so seeing the team win 'Team of the Year' is very deserving. My crew did a great job giving me a great car all year and all the sponsors that work with us (Parker, Bellerud Transport and Petro Stopping Centers) and product suppliers really played a big role in our success."
Schatz became the seventh World of Outlaws driver to claim the "Driver of the Year" honor, joining 20-time Champion Steve Kinser, Three-time Champion Sammy Swindell, Two-time Champion Mark Kinser, 1995 Champion-Dave Blaney, 2001-Champion Danny Lasoski, and Doug Wolfgang.
"With Donny Schatz claiming all but three of the first place ballots, clearly the voters are saying that there needs to be no asterisk next to his name with regard to the fact that there were two national tours this year," said Tom Schmeh, founder of the North American Sprint Car Poll. "The voting panel, all industry insiders, agrees his 21 wins, his World of Outlaws championship, and the fact that he beat the best-of-the-best at the open-competition Knoxville Sprint Car Nationals in mid-August, means that he alone deserves the title of 'Driver of the Year'."
Other first time winners included Scott Boyd, Larry Hillerud, and Steve Sinclair of SLS Promotions, claiming the "Promoter of the Year" title. The trio promoted 17 World of Outlaws events in 2006 including the series inaugural visit to Nodak Speedway in Minot, North Dakota, where a standing room only crowd, the largest in the 51 year history of the track attended the August 19 event.
Neil Shepherd of Indiana received the "Rookie of the Year" award in the 410-sprint car division.
Brian and Jeannie Butler of ButlerBuilt Seats again received the "Builder/Manufacturer of the Year" award.
Jerry Reigle, motorsports writer for the Harrisburg Patriot-New, earned the "Media Member of the Year" honors for the first time in his career.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., claimed the "Wild Card Award" for his exciting sprint car performances in 2006.
The late Fred Brownfield, founder of both the Northern Sprint Tour and the National Sprint Tour, was posthumously named the recipient of the "Outstanding Contribution to the Sport" award.
The North American Sprint Car Poll has been awarding these honors since its inception in 1985.
The North American 410 Sprint Car Poll is an annual awards program of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum Foundation, Inc., of Knoxville, Iowa. All awards will be distributed in the spring of 2007 at tracks throughout North America.