FOUNTAIN, CO ~ JULY 4, 2003 ~ Driving his number ...
FOUNTAIN, CO ~ JULY 4, 2003 ~ Driving his number #115 ParkerStores J & J USAC Silver Crown car in only the fourth pavement event of his career, Donny Schatz scored his best-ever finish on the 4th of July with a solid 11th place in the Rocky Mountain Classic at Pikes Peak International Raceway.
Starting from the inside of row ten, in the 19th starting position, Schatz had to work on getting a rhythm for the 100-lap race. He dropped back slightly in the field right after the start but then slowly mounted a methodical charge toward the front of the pack.
By the half way point, Schatz had worked his way up to the 14th spot but the closer you get to the top-ten, the more difficult the passes become because of the strength of the competition.
He worked through the lapped traffic at the same time improving his own position until the checkered flag flew. He was one lap down to the leaders in 11th. Only six cars finished on the lead lap.
"I really learned a lot out there today," said Schatz. "I was comfortable in the car. The entire crew at R.E. Technologies Racing worked hard to give me a good car. We felt good in practice and although we didn't qualify as well as we probably should have, I had confidence in the car at the start of the race. Once I settled into a good rhythm, I was able to setup guys and pass them fairly easily. It was a good race for the ParkerStores team. Now we go back to a track I am familiar with, (IRP on July 31) so my goal have moved up. I want to leave there with a top-ten.
"I have to admit I am hot and pretty worn out. I am not used to running these 100 lap races, especially in the heat of the afternoon. It is a matter of conditioning and concentration, I have to continue to improve my physical fitness and diet routine, which will help improve my performance in these long races. Still, it was a great day for this team."
Jay Drake won the race followed by Eric Gordon, Chet Fillip, Tracy Hines and Dave Darland. Schatz's R.E. Technologies Racing team mate, Tyler Walker lost an engine on the 43rd lap to finish a disappointing 25th dropping him to ninth in the series point standings. Walker was eighth after his fifth place finish at Richmond.
The next USAC Silver Crown race, race seven of the 13 race 2003 schedule, is July 31 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Claremont, IN as a part of the festivities leading up to the August 3 Brickyard 400 for NASCAR Winston Cup at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Following the conclusion of the USAC event, Schatz immediately headed for Knoxville, Iowa to prepare for Saturday night's World of Outlaws race at the famed Knoxville Raceway.
Norman, OK driver Danny Wood subbed for Schatz in his #15 ParkerStores Shaver J & J in Friday night's WoO preliminary event. After qualifying 15th out of the 52 cars on hand for the event, Wood had a strong second place run in the heat race putting him on the pole of the second dash to determine his starting position for the 25 lap A-Main. He finished third in the dash securing the outside third row starting position for the A-Main. Wood finished 10th in the feature that was won by Steve Kinser.
Saturday night, Schatz Motorsports will field two ParkerStores entries with Schatz back in the cockpit of the #15 and Wood in the #115 entry.
Next on the WoO schedule is the July 7 event at Cedar Lake Speedway, Somerset, WI followed by July 9 at PowerCom Park Raceway, Beaver Dam, WI. The winged warriors then swing through the Midwest stopping in Joliet, IL Route 66 Raceway on July 11, Pevely, MO I-55 Raceway on July 12 and Action Track in Terre Haute, IN on July 13.
For all the latest Donny Schatz WoO and USAC merchandise, log on to www.donnyschatz.com.