Tony Stewart Racing -- Rolling With It: Tony Stewart Racing's ROLLING WITH IT Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Shooting for Victories As Outlaws' Championship Chase Heats Up INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 6, 2009) -- They call it Sprint car racing...
Tony Stewart Racing -- Rolling With It: Tony Stewart Racing's
ROLLING WITH IT
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Shooting for Victories As Outlaws' Championship Chase Heats Up
INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 6, 2009) -- They call it Sprint car racing for a reason. The races are fast and furious as the 1200-pound/800 horsepower cars circle dirt tracks across North America. The World of Outlaws (WoO) season, a demanding 70-night schedule of racing, may be the only thing that isn't fast as the drivers and teams trek from coast to coast beginning in February and concluding in November. Ironically, with only four more race dates remaining in the 2009 WoO campaign, the race to the championship comes down to a sprint to the finish.
Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Donny Schatz, who finds himself in the thick of one of the closest Outlaw title chases in series history, resumes his assault on a fourth championship Saturday at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, N.Y. The big, 5/8-mile dirt oval will host the New York 25 event in conjunction with its Super Dirt Week program. With the Outlaws inclusion into the festivities, some of the best dirt track racers in the country will converge on central New York for a weekend of action.
The driver of TSR's No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J likes the challenge he is faced with. During his last three WoO championship campaigns, Schatz vowed that winning races was the only focus. He won races and the championships followed. His dozen WoO victories rank second this season, but finding a way to win during the final four feature events may be the difference in being champion or coming up short.
Saturday's race offers Schatz a chance to return to a track where he's been victorious before. The Fargo, N.D., resident has 12 career starts at Rolling Wheels during his 13-year WoO career. In his third appearance at the track back in June 1999, he charged from 10th to finish second. In May 2003, he raced from sixth to finish second. The following May, he denied legendary Sprint car racer Steve Kinser a victory on his 50th birthday by passing him late in the 25-lap race to capture his first win at the track. Schatz won a second race at Rolling Wheels in May 2006 and has finished third in his last two starts. His stats include six podium finishes and eight top-10s in those 12 starts.
Schatz heads to New York following the National Open event at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa., last weekend. Rain forced Friday night's program to be canceled, but there were still two feature events contested. Schatz and the Armor All crew finished second in the 48th annual National Open. He did all he could in the 40-lap race to move into the lead, but in the end was credited with his 11th runner-up finish of the season. Following the National Open feature, Schatz returned to the track for the rescheduled 30-lap Summer Nationals race, originally scheduled for July 25. He worked his way from the 22nd-starting position and finished sixth. Despite spotting championship competitor Jason Meyers 11 positions on the starting grid, Schatz finished ahead of Meyers and built his lead in the standings to 14 points.
The WoO feature events at Williams Grove were numbers 60 and 61 completed by Schatz and the TSR Armor All team in 2009. Schatz has 12 victories, 38 top-fives and 50 top-10s.
For Saturday's event at Rolling Wheels, the pit gates open at 1 p.m. EDT and grandstands open at 4 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling Rolling Wheels Raceway at (315) 834-6606, and more information is available at www.rollingwheelsraceway.com.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend's races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, "Voice of the Outlaws," calls the action as he does at all WoO Sprint Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J:
This year the Rolling Wheels event is part of Super Dirt Week. What type of atmosphere do you expect as a supporting event to Super Dirt Week rather than a standalone event?
"I've been going to Rolling Wheels with the World of Outlaws for 10-plus years and it's always been one of the best-attended shows that we have. The people pack the place and come to see the greatest Sprint car drivers that there are. It's always been a great event. With our schedule, I haven't been able to keep up with a lot of the Super Dirt Week events in the past, but I'm looking forward to it.
"We're coming in following a pretty big weekend at Williams Grove, and I'm sure the Armor All crew (Rick Warner, Shane Bowers and Eric Prutzman) will be ready to put it all on the table again. We seem to thrive when the spotlight is at its brightest and I fully expect that to continue.
"I'm excited to get back to Rolling Wheels and race in front of the crowd. The weather is going to be a little cooler in New York compared to years past when we raced there right after Memorial Day. The track is big and fast and usually offers a couple of lines of racing. New York has been a really good place for us to race during the last five years, and we're hoping to have a great night on Saturday."
In the last three years, you've had a little bigger cushion in the points battle at this stage of the season. This year, it seems like it's going to come down to the final race of the year and every position matters. Does that weigh on you much?
"No, I'm not worried about the points now. Going into Charlotte, if it's as close as it is now, then yeah, it would be something you could worry about a little bit. We've been working on some things during the past month trying to get our program to that next level of performance. Sometimes you take a step backward. It's a learning curve and that's the way it goes.
"You have to always be out there trying and changing things around. I feel like last weekend we saw the fruits of some of that labor. From here on out, we'll just do our best at it. If we come out champions, then we'll accomplish a great goal and feel really good about it. We've won it a couple of times and I look forward to hopefully winning it again. We've gotten to this point and it's right there for us. Now, it comes down to seeing if we can win a race Saturday and go on from there."
For complete WoO Sprint Car Series results, go to www.worldofoutlaws.com. For information regarding TSR, Schatz, Armor All, Chevy, or ParkerStore, visit www.tonystewartracing.com, www.donnyschatz.com, www.aa-ownercenter.com, www.chevrolet.com, or www.parkerstore.com.