HIGH-SPEED PERFORMANCE World of Outlaws Champion Donny Schatz Hopes to Continue Big Track Success in Tony Stewart Racing's Armor All J&J INDIANAPOLIS (May 20, 2009) -- One of most overused cliches in sports is "taking it one game at a time."...
World of Outlaws Champion Donny Schatz Hopes to Continue Big Track Success in Tony Stewart Racing's Armor All J&J
INDIANAPOLIS (May 20, 2009) -- One of most overused cliches in sports is "taking it one game at a time." Whether the competitor wants to admit it or not, there are "games" where the outcome is more than just a "W" or an "L." It's no different in racing, as drivers scan their season race schedule from where it starts to where it ends. Within all those races dates, there are always a few diamonds in the rough. This weekend offers up a number of gems in the landscape of motorsports, including Sunday's Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 near Charlotte. For Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Donny Schatz and the rest of the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series teams, a race in Charlotte during 600 weekend is more than just another stop on their 10-month trek that includes more than 80 races.
Schatz, the three-time and defending WoO champion, often admits that every race counts the same in the win column. But he does realize some have a little more importance. During his last three championship runs, the Fargo, N.D., resident always seems to shine when the lights are the brightest, and that includes a pair of victories in Charlotte. On Friday night, he'll return to The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the TSR No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J for the first time since winning the final race of 2008. The Memorial Day weekend will continue for Schatz and the Armor All team with races on Saturday night at Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica, Va., and conclude with a race Monday at Canadaigua (N.Y.) Speedway.
Friday's race at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway -- which will be broadcast live on SPEED -- will mark the 21st time Schatz has competed on the 4/10-mile clay oval that opened in May 2000. Schatz has three career wins at the track. His first came in October 2000 and his last two have come in dramatic style. In May 2007, he came from the 10th position and passed the Tony Stewart Racing Bass Pro Shops No. 20 with three laps to go in the 30-lap feature. Last November, he capped his third WoO championship by leading all 30 laps of the World Finals feature in the TSR No. 15 car and was followed across the finish line by his TSR teammate Kraig Kinser. During his first 20 starts at "The Dirt Track", Schatz has earned two fast qualifier awards, three wins, 13 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s.
On Saturday, Schatz will make his second appearance at VMS. Last May, he finished seventh in the 30-lap feature there. The goal for Schatz at the conclusion of the night is to be able to add Virginia and VMS to his career win lists. He currently has 93 career WoO "A" Feature wins, with those coming at 47 tracks in 27 different states and one in Canada.
Schatz has made three career starts at Canandaigua Speedway, the last one in June 1999. That night, he raced from 13th to finish second. In June 1998, he finished third, giving him two podium finishes in three starts at the track. The Empire State has been good to Schatz as he has won five times in the state during his 13-year WoO career.
The Armor All team is carrying momentum into the weekend following Schatz's impressive charge in his last race at Williams Grove Speedway last Friday (May 15). He stormed from the 23rd starting position to finish fifth on a very fast racetrack. The finish continued his 2009 success on the half-mile layouts, on which he has won five times, including May 2 at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway and May 8 at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway.
The Armor All team has completed 18 feature events to date in the 2009 WoO season. Schatz has five victories, 10 top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. He currently tops the WoO Sprint Series championship standings with 2,482 points.
On Friday at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the pit gates and grandstands will open at 1 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 4:30 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For more information, call The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway at 800-455-FANS. The official Web site of The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway is www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.
On Saturday at Virginia Motor Speedway, the pit gates will open at 3 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For more details and ticket information, visit www.vamotorspeedway.com.
On Monday at Canadaigua Speedway, the pit gates and grandstands will open at 2 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. For ticket and more race information, visit www.canandaiguaspeedway.com or call the track at 315-834-6606.
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 has been a busy week for you, and most of it has been away from the track. Have all of those activities made you feel like this is a big week for racing and the World of Outlaws?
"We've had a lot going on, but it makes you appreciate what we get to do for a living. After racing at Williams Grove last Friday night, we drove to Charlotte so that we could go watch the NASCAR All-Star race. To be able to be in the stands and see Tony (Stewart) win the race was pretty cool. We don't get to do that too often. Sunday, the Armor All crew (Rick Warner, Shane Bowers and Eric Prutzman) started working on the TSR cars out at Stewart-Haas Racing. And then on Monday, I headed to a Chevy appearance in Indianapolis. To be able to be in both cities that are just buzzing with racing excitement put the racing stuff in perspective.
"This week is one that includes a lot of extras, and one of those is the World of Outlaws having a chance to be in Charlotte and race live on SPEED. We always like being down here. It gives the (NASCAR Sprint) Cup guys a chance to come out and see us race firsthand. Most of those guys love all types of racing, so seeing them walk around and looking at our stuff adds to it.
"Every bit of that is important for our sport. Showing our sponsors, owners and fans from other series that Sprint car racing is one of the most exciting forms of motorsports is a big deal."
The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway is a pretty unique track. It's fast and sometimes tough to pass on. You've been really successful there over the years. What's been the key?
"The Dirt Track is one of the fastest places we run because of the way it's shaped. The size allows you to really get some good speed, and the corners keep pulling you around it. The track can stay wet and fast sometimes, but we've seen it slow down and be more racy, also.
"The biggest thing for us down there has been having a good package. Ron Shaver builds us really strong Chevy motors that keep our J&J car moving forward and able to move around the track. I really like racing there because of all the other things, too. You want to win every race you start, but when you win on that kind of stage, it's really cool. I won there the first year it opened (in 2000) and that was special. Two years ago, when we won the May race there by getting up in the heavy stuff and driving by guys, was pretty awesome. The feeling of winning in front of 14,000-plus fans and having sponsors and all the NASCAR people around is the kind of thing that really motivates you to do it again.
"This Friday won't be any different. There will be a lot of important people there. We'll be live on SPEED and we're out here to win, so it should be a great time."
Following Friday's race it's down the road to another race. The series has been built on barnstorming the country and racing as many nights as possible at as many tracks as possible. Is this the time where experience comes into play?
"Without a doubt. You think about it this way: you have a race at one of the biggest tracks, that is live on TV right in the heart of NASCAR country, and everyone wants to show the world how good they are. Then, 24 hours later, you are in another state racing, and then, 48 hours after that, you are on a track 700 miles from where you started the weekend.
"A lot can happen during those four days, so having a crew that's prepared for anything can separate you from winning and losing. Our TSR teams have been down this road before and have an idea of what to expect. That's what makes the days leading up to Friday important. Doing all the things you can to be at your best, not just Friday night, but on Saturday and Monday, too."
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.