Schatz Named Economaki Champion of Champions
Donny Schatz, the two-time defending World of Outlaws champion, was named the Economaki Champion of Champions today by National Speed Sport News at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Orlando, Florida.
Schatz was one of 10 finalists for the award, all of whom earned championships in North America during the 2007 racing season.
"This is a huge honor," remarked Schatz during the live announcement. "To be mentioned with guys like Jimmie Johnson, Sebastien Bourdais, Dario Franchitti and Tony Schumacher is quite an honor. We did the best we could every night and had one of those unbelievable seasons. I really appreciate all the people at National Speed Sport News for the coverage all season and now this award. This is something I'll never forget."
Schatz graced the cover of the famed publication a number of times in 2007, including after winning his second consecutive Knoxville Nationals title, which earned him a record $150,000 and his first Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway for which he pocketed $50,000.
The native of North Dakota won a total of 19 A-Feature events with the World of Outlaws en route to claiming his second straight title in 2007. He became the first driver in sprint car racing history to win the Knoxville Nationals, the Kings Royal, the National Open, the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup and the Williams Grove Summer Nationals all in the same season.
"Donny really deserves this award as he has been one of the most exciting drivers to watch in all of motorsports," said Chris Economaki in announcing the winner. "The level of consistency in his racing, when you consider how many races he runs, is just staggering. And to win his championships back-to-back is even more remarkable. I do feel there is a tremendous amount of respect for what Donny has done, and we want to recognize that."
Schatz won at 13 different tracks this season in nine states and Canada, and he is one of just four drivers that have won a World of Outlaws event north of the border with the series.
He won a remarkable five times at the famed Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania in 2007, along with two wins at Knoxville Raceway and a triumph at Eldora Speedway to earn victories at the three most well known dirt tracks in the world.
In the 75 A-Feature events that were contested in 2007, the 1997 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year finished in the Top-10 in 71 of them. Of those finishes, 53 were in the Top-Five. He led the series in a number of other statistical categories including: money earned, laps led, wins in the Crane Cams Dash and pole positions.
Schatz was the only driver in all of motorsports to be ranked in the NSSN "Power Rankings" all season.
Other finalists included: Sebastien Bourdais, who won the Champ Car World Series title, Jerry Coons Jr., who won the USAC National Midget title, Dario Franchitti, who won the Indy Racing League title, Steve Francis, who won the World of Outlaws Late Model Series title, Jon Fogarty/Alex Gurney, who won a title with the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Ron Hornaday, who won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title, Jimmie Johnson, who won the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series title, Joey Logano, who won the NASCAR Busch East Series title and Tony Schumacher, who won the NHRA Top Fuel title.
Schatz is the second World of Outlaws driver to win the Economaki Champion of Champions, joining 20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser who won it in 2004. Schatz will be featured in the season ending NSSN on December 19.
The 2008 World of Outlaws season begins on February 8, 2008 with the 37th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.