MONEY TIME Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Keeps Torrid "Month of Money" Pace As World of Outlaws Invade St. Louis for Inaugural Iron Man 55 INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 6, 2009) -- Every win is important. Ask three-time and defending World of...
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Keeps Torrid "Month of Money" Pace As World of Outlaws Invade St. Louis for Inaugural Iron Man 55
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 6, 2009) -- Every win is important. Ask three-time and defending World of Outlaws (WoO) champion Donny Schatz which victory is the most important and he'll tell you the next one. A Sprint car racer's schedule is a marathon that begins in February and ends in November, but there's a stretch of races in the middle that can usually define a season. The period from mid-July to mid-August is appropriately called Sprint car racing's "Month of Money." For the past four seasons, Schatz has collected more money than any of his Outlaw adversaries.
Schatz continued that trend again in 2009 by starting the "Month of Money" with a Kings Royal triumph at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. During the next two weeks, there's still plenty of money to be made at this weekend's inaugural Iron Man 55 at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., and next week's 49th annual Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals.
With the $50,000 Kings Royal already deposited, Schatz is now focused on the $20,000 prize that will be awarded to the driver who wins the race being tabbed as the longest WoO event held in the modern era. On most nights, the WoO "A" feature race goes 30 laps, sometimes 35 and, every once in a while, 40. Saturday night will be the first time the series takes part in a 55-lap "A" feature. Schatz hopes it's the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J that makes history on the high-banked 1/3-mile dirt oval.
The Fargo, N.D. resident already has quite a list of accomplishments in his 13-year WoO career. He enters the two-night program at I-55 fresh off his 99th career WoO "A" feature win last Saturday night at K-C Raceway in Waverly, Ohio. When Schatz hits the dirt on Friday for the first of two complete nights of racing, he will be looking for his milestone 100th win.
Schatz has 21 career starts at I-55, which is located less than 30 miles south of downtown St. Louis. On April Fool's day in 2006, he led all 40 laps to capture his first feature win at the track. He finished eighth in April 2008, the last time the Outlaws competed at the speedy bullring, ending a streak of five consecutive top-five finishes.
Schatz and the TSR Armor All team have competed 46 times with the Outlaws in 2009, and their results include 11 victories, 29 top-five finishes and 36 top-10s. Schatz leads the WoO Sprint Series championship standings with 6,209 points.
Friday at I-55, the pit gates and grandstands open at 4 p.m. CDT. Saturday, the pit gates and grandstands open at 2 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. both nights. Tickets for the race can be purchased by calling I-55 Raceway at (636) 479-3219. For more information on the event, visit www.I55raceway.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:
Last Saturday, you picked up your 99th Outlaw "A" feature win. Have you thought about the milestone of winning 100 races and what it might mean?
"We just try to win as many as we can and, at the end of the night, we might be happy or disappointed. If we are happy, then we enjoy it for a little while and then start thinking about the next one.
"It's hard to believe that I've been fortunate to win that many races. I can certainly remember when I wasn't sure that I'd ever win one. I've been doing this a long time and to be able to win that many means that I've had a lot of good people with me along the way. Whether it was my parents who got me started racing and were with me for 15 years, or now the people at Tony Stewart Racing. They've always had faith in me. I just go out and try to do the best every night.
"I'm sure, if I can get that next one, it will feel pretty special. I've worked with a lot of people and made a lot of laps over the years. It's hard to say how it will feel, but I'm pretty positive we'll be happy about it. I just hope we can win one really soon so we can start working on our second hundred."
I-55 Raceway offers some of the best racing on the schedule. For the fans, the show is awesome, but how tough is it to be behind the wheel there?
"Anytime you're on a tight, high-banked track, the action is going to be fast and furious and, as a driver, you really have to be on your toes. You can be up on the wall one lap and then down around the bottom the next. I can see why the fans like seeing us there.
"There is usually a top groove and bottom groove. Sometimes, even the middle comes into play. You have to have a good car at the end of the race. It's a driver's track and we're hoping that gives us an advantage this weekend."
This is the first year of the Iron Man 55. Everyone is excited about the event, but also not quite sure what to expect with the race being 55 laps. What are your thoughts heading into it?
"It's a new, big event and I am looking forward to it. (Track owners) Ray Marlar and Ken Schrader have always done a great job and have been big supporters of the Outlaws. Hopefully we can have a big event and it will add to a great couple of weeks of racing leading up to the (Knoxville) Nationals.
"As far as strategy for the race goes, you're just going to have to be smart the first 25 or 30 laps of the race. There is no question we can do the 55 laps. The surface changes so much there, normally, between lap one and 40, that between lap one and 55 it's going to be interesting. It's going to be like a double feature, almost, and that will throw everyone for a loop. Normally, my race cars do get better in those longer events. That's kind of what we're hoping for on Saturday night, 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.