GAINING GROUND Defending Outlaws Champion Donny Schatz Continues Consistent Pace in Tony Stewart Racing's Armor All Sprinter INDIANAPOLIS (April 22, 2009) --Statistics can reveal a lot of things, but they don't always tell the whole story....
Defending Outlaws Champion Donny Schatz Continues Consistent Pace in Tony Stewart Racing's Armor All Sprinter
INDIANAPOLIS (April 22, 2009) --Statistics can reveal a lot of things, but they don't always tell the whole story. For the ultimate competitor, the only stat that matters is the number of marks you have in the win column. Three-time and defending World of Outlaws (WoO) champion Donny Schatz prides himself on winning. Sometimes, even after winning, he isn't completely satisfied with his performance. That desire to be the best has pushed the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) driver to 56 WoO victories during the past three seasons.
This season, the goal is still the same. Win the most WoO feature races and be in contention to win races every time he sits behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J.
His pursuit continues this weekend with two single-night programs beginning Friday at Riverside International Speedway (RIS) in West Memphis, Ark., followed by Saturday's race at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.
Following Schatz's third consecutive runner-up finish last Friday night at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway (PIR), the Outlaws have completed a total 12 races in 2009. Schatz has finished either first or second in half of those races, scoring three wins and three seconds.
Through last season's first 12 events, Schatz had six top-two finishes, as well. The win total only read "one," but what followed certainly played a part in the Fargo, N.D., resident positioning himself in the WoO championship picture. Schatz won nine of the next 14 WoO races, with his ninth victory coming at RIS. The Armor All team started 2009 by winning three of the first four races, and their immediate goal is to start another victory surge beginning Friday at RIS.
Last July, Schatz dominated the evening at RIS. He began the night by posting a new track record in qualifying, circling the quarter-mile dirt oval in 11.055 seconds (81.411 mph). He concluded the night by leading all 40 laps of the feature and picking up the win. The result was in stark contrast to his first visit to the facility (May 2007), when he flipped in his heat race and finished 14th thanks to a flat tire in the main event.
Schatz has 11 career starts at Tri-State Speedway in his 13-year WoO career. His best finish came last season when he raced the No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J to a third-place finish. He has a pair of top-five finishes and eight top-10s at the high-banked, quarter-mile track.
In 2009 WoO action to date, Schatz has three victories, seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s. He continues to lead the WoO Sprint Series championship standings with 1,687 points.
On Friday, the pit gates and grandstands at RIS will open at 3 p.m. CDT. Qualifying is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. For more details, contact RIS at (901) 840-1970. The official Web site of RIS is www.riversideinternationalspeedway.com.
On Saturday, the pit gates at Tri-State Speedway will open at 2:30 p.m. CDT, with the grandstands opening at 3:30 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For more details, call Tri-State Speedway at (812) 768-6025. The official Web site of Tri-State Speedway is www.tristatespeedway.com.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend's races can catch all of the action at 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:
Second place doesn't sit to well with you. How do you put it behind you and move forward to the next race?
"It's certainly not easy, that's for sure. One of the philosophies we try to follow around here is to leave things at the track. Whether we win or lose, the next race is the most important one. I never want to finish second, but there are times when you look back at it and realize that second wasn't all that bad.
"If you look at our last three races, I'd probably say second was acceptable in one of them. We were a third-place car at Lone Star (Kilgore, Texas) and (Jason) Sides blows a tire, so we finish second. The last two races, I feel like we should have won. But like I said, we're done with those races and can't win them now. All we can do is turn our attention to Memphis and give it our best shot."
In your two visits to Riverside International Speedway, your results have been quite different. How tough of a place is it to get a handle on?
"It's certainly not one of the easier places to just show up and be fast. The track conditions have a lot to do with how things turn out. The first year (2007), we were there in early May and there was still a ton of moisture in the surface. Last year, we raced there in July, when the weather was warmer. One time, it stayed sticky and rough and the other time it slicked off as the night went on. We've got a really good program for slick conditions, but one of our priorities this year is to improve our program when the tracks are wet and sticky.
"We'll find out when we get there which way the track conditions go and try to stay up on what the track is doing all night."
Tri-State Speedway is a high-banked, quarter-mile that usually provides some great action. What's your assessment of the track as you enter the weekend?
"Tri-State is always a fun place to race. The Helfrich family does a great job giving us a quality track to race on. I haven't quite mastered it, yet, but we seem to be getting better there every time we go. Last year, we finally got a podium finish there, so I feel like we are getting closer. Maneuverability is a big thing that helps. You have to be able to run the top, bottom and middle to work traffic. My crew (Rick Warner and Shane Bowers) does a great job of giving me a car that operates all over the track. We'll need it this weekend and, hopefully, we can close April on a high note and keep charging ahead."
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.