Donny Schatz, ParkerStore Wins Gold Cup Prelim CHICO, CA -- Donny Schatz and his ParkerStore team were the class of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series field in Thursday night's opening feature event of the 51st annual Gold Cup Race of Champions...
Donny Schatz, ParkerStore Wins Gold Cup Prelim
CHICO, CA -- Donny Schatz and his ParkerStore team were the class of the World of Outlaws Sprint Series field in Thursday night's opening feature event of the 51st annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, CA.
Schatz raced his #15 ParkerStore J&J into the lead on the opening lap from the outside front row and led all 30 laps to claim his second WoO prelim win in the last six days.
"It's nice to get a win here," said Schatz, following his third victory of the season. "I normally don't have much of a smile on my face when we come to the west coast, but Calistoga was pretty good to me last week. I have to thank my crew Tyler Swank, Brian Bloomfield, and Sparky (John Pate): They've busted their butts all year for me, so it's good to get them a win."
An exciting dash event proved to be the difference for Schatz after qualifying 10th and winning the second heat race. He passed Brent Kaeding to win the second dash event and earned the outside front row starting position for the feature.
"We qualified 10th tonight, and that hurt us in the (qualifying) points," said Schatz. "When we saw the six for the (dash) inversion, we thought we might have something there, but just enough cars didn't make it to put us in the second row. I had to make some bonsai moves there to get around Brent (Kaeding) to be able to start on the front row."
In the feature, it was all about making sure Schatz kept his tires in good enough condition to finish the race. With the quarter-mile dirt oval racing surface extremely abrasive, the outcome of the race was in doubt simply because of the tires.
"It's not much fun for a racer to run on an abrasive, rubber-down track," continued Schatz, "but with as hard as these guys race and as good as the tires are now, it's tough to keep a track good all night long. They did a great job early--the track was really wet, but that's just the way it is."
The race early was between Schatz and Mark Kinser as the two raced nose to tail up until lap 13. After a caution on lap 18, the lead grew to 11 car lengths. During a late caution, Kinser and Schatz made sure each other's tires were in good condition.
"Mark (Kinser) came up beside me under that one caution and signaled me that my tires were okay, and I was able to return the favor. It's awesome to have another driver that you respect be able to do that for you. It had to be an advantage for him to have me wearing my tires, but racing isn't just about running up front, it's about friendship as well."
The Fargo, ND driver should be in a good position for Saturday's 40-lap Gold Cup finale as he qualified 10th, won the second heat race and won the feature event. He totaled 532 points during the evening and will wait to see how things shake out on Friday night before knowing exactly where he will start Saturday.
"The points deal should be okay for Saturday," concluded Schatz. "I know we gave up some points by qualifying 10th, but hopefully winning the heat race and the feature will help. If we can be in the first couple of rows, we'll have a chance and that's all we're asking for. We're off to a good start and hopefully, we can finish this weekend with another win."
Keep up with all the latest news and information regarding Donny Schatz and the ParkerStore team by logging onto www.donnyschatz.com and www.parker.com/racing.