A HOME AWAY FROM HOME Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Eyes Return to Williams Grove Speedway INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 24, 2008) -- Every athlete has that special place where he or she loves to compete. For two-time defending Advance Auto...
A HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Eyes Return to Williams Grove Speedway
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 24, 2008) -- Every athlete has that special place where he or she loves to compete. For two-time defending Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz, that place is Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
The Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) driver loves nothing more than to see the words "Williams Grove" on his upcoming race schedule. This weekend, he'll get another opportunity to pilot the TSR No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J around the historic half-mile dirt oval in the Morgan Hughes National Open on Friday and Saturday.
Before his return to the track where he's won six of the last nine WoO features, the Fargo, N.D., resident will be in action at Orange County Fair Speedway (OCFS) in Middletown, N.Y. On Wednesday night, Schatz will make his seventh appearance on the big 5/8-mile dirt oval looking for his first career win at the track. In his first six visits, he finished second three times, including the past two seasons.
On Friday night, Schatz will return to Williams Grove and compete in his 73rd career race at the facility. He ranks 24th all-time in wins at the track with 17 feature victories, tying him with Sprint car stars Van May, Billy Pauch and Sammy Swindell. Schatz picked up win number 17 in his last visit to the track on July 19, when he scored the $25,000 top prize by winning the 30-lap Cleveland Brothers Summer Nationals finale.
Saturday night's 47th annual National Open will mark the 11th time Schatz competes in one of Sprint car racing's crown jewels. Schatz and Steve Kinser both have won the event four times, tying them for the most in the race's rich history. Schatz won his first National Open in 2000 and then scored back-to-back wins in 2004 and 2005. Last season, he led all 40 laps scoring a flag-to-flag triumph and the $50,000 paycheck.
With another $50,000 on the line for Saturday night's winner, Schatz has to be considered one of the favorites. In the last three-and-a-half seasons, he has won 15 races that paid $20,000-to-win or more.
The 12-year WoO veteran heads to OCFS and Williams Grove on top of the WoO standings. With 55 races in the books and a dozen remaining in the 2008 WoO campaign, Schatz has accumulated 7,747 points, 118 more than second-place Jason Meyers. Schatz leads the series with 14 WoO wins and has 40 top-five finishes this year.
Saturday's National Open program at Williams Grove will be broadcast live on SPEED beginning at 8 p.m. EDT.
Race fans unable to attend Wednesday's race at Orange County or this weekend's Morgan Hughes National Open festivities from Williams Grove can also 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.
On Wednesday, the pit gates at OCFS will open at 2 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 5:15 p.m. For more details, contact OCFS at (845) 342-2573. The official Web site of OCFS is www.ocfsmotorsports.com.
On Friday and Saturday, the pit gates at Williams Grove Speedway will open at 4 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 5:15 p.m. for advance ticket holders and at 5:30 p.m. for all ticket holders. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m. For more information, contact Williams Grove Speedway at (717) 697-5000 or visit the official Web site of Williams Grove Speedway at www.williamsgrove.com.
Donny Schatz, driver of the No. 15 TSR/Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J:
Like last week, you will be in action on bigger, faster tracks again this week. What makes you so successful on the bigger tracks?
"We've had a really good package for the big tracks for quite some time and we just seem to keep getting better. The Chevy power that we get from Ron Shaver's motors, along with how our J&J's respond, is really a big factor for us. I've been working with that combination for the better part of eight years, and we've learned a lot during that time.
"A lot of it is teamwork, as well. (Crew chief) Ricky (Warner) and (crewman) Shane (Bowers) have been working with me for a few years and they can watch the car and tell me what it looks like it's doing and I can tell them what I'm feeling. TSR has a great operation here and things have just continued to get better as the year has gone along. We are trying to continue improving on the big tracks and be very competitive in every race we start."
There is no question you enjoy racing at Williams Grove. Every race is important, but when you get to Williams Grove, do you change your approach at all?
"I don't do anything different at Williams Grove than I do at any other track. I just love racing there. It took me a long time to figure the place out but, once we got over the hump, it's been great. The competition there is second to none. The track is demanding and you have to be your best during the final 10 laps and that's just been one of the things we've been able to do there.
"This weekend is one of our bigger events, but I'm so comfortable there that I'll be able to block out the other things and just go out there and have fun. We're excited about SPEED being there and happy the track continues to put up big money for us to race for. The National Open has a lot of history and we're just trying be part of that history. I'm really looking forward to getting there and having a couple of great nights on the track."
For complete Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series results, log on to www.worldofoutlaws.com. For information regarding TSR, Schatz, Armor All, Chevy, or ParkerStore, log on to www.tonystewartracing.com, www.donnyschatz.com, www.aa-ownercenter.com, www.chevrolet.com, or www.parkerstore.com.