State Fair II: Donny Schatz preview

Schatz more than just another Outlaw in Sedalia. SEDALIA, MO - Donny Schatz races in 45 cities across the United States during a typical Pennzoil World of Outlaws (WoO) season. Sometimes it's in one day and out the next, while other stops give...

Schatz more than just another Outlaw in Sedalia.

SEDALIA, MO - Donny Schatz races in 45 cities across the United States during a typical Pennzoil World of Outlaws (WoO) season. Sometimes it's in one day and out the next, while other stops give the 24 year-old sprint car star a little more satisfaction. Friday's stop in Sedalia, MO, for the annual spring race at the State Fair Speedway happens to be one of those places where there's more than racing on the agenda.

For the past three years, Schatz has made a pre-race stop at DCI, Dialysis Clinic Inc., to visit with patients that have kidney problems. This started when he met Elisa Crank, a Certified Hemodialysis Nurse at the center, during a World of Outlaws event a few years ago.

"I met Elisa and she asked me if I could come by," said Schatz, who is in his sixth season as a regular on the WoO tour. "It's a chance for me to meet some people that enjoy racing, and may not always be able to make it to the race."

The patients anticipate the yearly visit and keep up with "their favorite Outlaw" primarily because of Crank. "They always get such joy out of seeing Donny and hearing how he is doing," said Crank. "I print stories out from his website and keep them aware of how things are going. I'm a fan of him both on the track and off. He does a great job lifting spirits, and it's easy for me to keep everyone around here up to date."

The Dialysis Clinic helps patients clean their blood since most experience some sort of renal failure. They visit three times a week for three to four hours to have toxins removed from their blood stream.

Schatz will be welcomed by many of the same faces that he's seen in the past and some new ones also. The time spent shaking hands, signing autographs, and smiling is very rewarding for the Fargo, ND, resident.

"I don't personally know anyone that has experienced kidney problems, but it certainly makes you think about your health," continued Schatz. "I just hope me being there and talking with them helps make their visit a little more enjoyable. As a racer sometimes the little things don't get the attention needed, but taking a couple hours out to do this seems to keep everything in the right perspective."

Following his visit to DCI, Schatz will be in action on Friday night racing his #15 ParkerStores J&J on the half-mile track. In eight WoO races at the track, Schatz scored his best finish in July of 2000 when he placed sixth. Tire problems cost him two top five finishes in 1999, in the May race he was in second place when his right rear tire blew. Last year, he finished 13th in the May event and raced from 22nd to 10th in the July race. The track is also the site of his first career race in sprint car which came in 1993.

- www.donnyschatz.com

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Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Donny Schatz