Diary of a race team: ParkerStores crew, week two

Diary of the ParkerStores crew Road to the Money From Terre Haute to Knoxville Nationals Week Two From the conclusion of the World of Outlaws event at Terre Haute, Indiana on July 13, 2003 through the drop of the final checkered flag at the ...

Diary of the ParkerStores crew
Road to the Money
From Terre Haute to Knoxville Nationals
Week Two

From the conclusion of the World of Outlaws event at Terre Haute, Indiana on July 13, 2003 through the drop of the final checkered flag at the 2003 Knoxville Nationals, we will be bringing you a peek into the life on the road to the money with the crew of the ParkerStores #15 Winged Sprint car driven by Donny Schatz. The nomads responsible for the winning cars Schatz pilots to win after win are Crew Chief - Tyler Swank; Tire Specialist - Chad Lambert and Keith Giles, Schatz's Crew Chief when he is showing his winning ways during the off season in Australia.

EVERYWHERE, U.S.A. ~ July 27, 2003 ~

Dear Diary:

SATURDAY, JULY 19 ~ It looks like the problem with the tractor is more serious than we thought but thank goodness for the "Family" that tours with the World of Outlaws. Steve Mox, from Steve Mox Trucking, conveniently located close to Eldora Speedway and a sponsor of Joey Saldana and Danny Lasoski among others came to our aid with a tractor all ready to go and helped arrange to have our taken for whatever repairs are needed. Jimmy Carr, Lasoski's crew chief, called to follow up and make sure we were all set to get to the track on Saturday and ready for the travels from here.

We qualified well tonight for the Kings Royal, fourth, had a good run in the heat and the dash which put us on the outside of the third row for the big race. The track took rubber like no one has ever seen it do which was horrible on tires. We were running sixth when a red flag came out. It was quick decision time-we had to change tires or risk wrecking ourselves. We were tenth on the restart. Donny really charged hard the final ten laps to get back to seventh. It is better than nothing but we had hoped for more.

SUNDAY, JULY 20 ~ We slept in a little, ha-out working by 9:00 AM. First thing was off to the car wash to clean up the car and the trailer. They really do get dirty no matter how clean we have them at the beginning of an evening.

We had to change the motor and crate the one we just raced to ship back to Shaver. We can change a motor in nothing flat at the track, but it is nice to take time and not make too big a mess. With the motor out and one from the cabinet in the chassis in its place, we headed back to the room to clean up and head out for dinner. After a big meal in Buffalo Wild Wings and a couple of cold beverages, time to get some sleep because we had to pull out early the next morning. It was just as simple to stay at the same hotel in Sidney near Eldora than to leave and try to find other accommodations.

MONDAY, JULY 21 ~ We got on the road by 8:00 AM and headed for Pittsburgh International Airport to drop off the motor we had crated and pickup a new one to race at Lernerville and Williams Grove. What a nightmare maneuvering through the airport with the tractor/trailer. But we made it and headed down the road to Sarver. We grabbed dinner somewhere, I can't even remember where, found the hotel and settled in for the night.

TUESDAY, JULY 22 ~ It was an early morning because it is race day. We pulled the car out of the trailer in the hotel parking lot-they are used to us all by this time. We put the motor in the car we picked up in Pittsburgh and put the spare back in the trailer. We did our normal race day car preparation, checking the car over from top to bottom and front to back. We loaded up and headed to the track at approximately the exact same time the rain started to fall. Actually it was more like a downpour.

We got to the track, sat and sat and sat until the officials were finally convinced the rain wasn't going to stop. We went to a nice Italian restaurant for dinner with the Schatz family then to a movie-what a treat.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 23 ~ More of the same today, this time we got the cars unloaded and actually hot lapped twice but the rain wouldn't stay away so the track and WoO officials were forced to cancel the race. Bummer because I think we had a real chance to win. Oh well, off to Williams Grove-actually to the hotel in Carlisle.

THURSDAY, JULY 24 ~ We got up and completely repeated our pre-race cleanup and maintenance even though we didn't race the night before, everything was pretty dirty. Williams Grove has been a track where Donny has had success and I think we are ready for a good run.

We qualified third, finished fourth in the heat race and fifth in the dash. The Pennsylvania Posse came to race tonight, Kreitz (Don, Jr.) Rahmer (Fred) and Kauffman (Keith) were tough. We finished sixth which got us in the top-ten in the points for the event. Back tomorrow, same time, same station.

FRIDAY, JULY 25 ~ Forgot to mention that Dave Yingst has been working with us the past few days. It is nice to have someone around with experience and knows exactly what he is doing. We did our usual race-day maintenance in the hotel parking lot going over the car with a microscope to make sure we didn't miss a thing.

We qualified eighth, finished fifth in the heat and fourth in the dash. We started outside the fourth row in the feature and picked up the win. Donny drove a great race, putting the car anywhere he needed to go to get around the traffic. We left second in the event points that puts us on the outside of the front row of the dash to determine where we start in the big feature. This was very good. After a quick bite to eat at Bob Evans, we headed to the hotel for a quick night of sleep.

SATURDAY, JULY 26 ~ Everyone's nerves were all knotted up as we unloaded in the hotel lot after finding the car wash and cleaning up everything-all of that before 7:00 AM. Donny always puts tremendous pressure on himself and we work as hard as we can to give him a perfect car.

Today, our pre-race maintenance included taking the rearend completely apart to check every component and the reassembling and installing back in the car. We wanted to ensure Donny and ourselves we didn't leave anything unchecked and nothing to chance.

He won the dash, which put us on the pole for the feature. Man, what a race. He and Lasoski battled for 25 laps back and forth until Donny finally got around him to stay and bring home the win. It was just awesome because he was really awesome in the car and just made it look almost easy. We picked up pizza on the way back to the hotel and a few cold beverages, all piled into Donny's room, ate, tipped back a couple of brews to celebrate and watched Ghostbusters. It was a good night.

SUNDAY, JULY 27 ~ We didn't sleep in much because we had the motor routine to perform after cleaning up the car and the trailer. After the work was all done, we showered and went to Outback Steakhouse. Donny treated us all to a great dinner and back to the hotel we went. This week will be a lot of driving, New Jersey, back to Ohio then to Wisconsin and up to Michigan. The cool thing is Donny is going to hang out with us on the road for a few days until he goes to Indy for the Silver Crown race on Thursday.

We should get our tractor back in the next couple of days so have to work that into the schedule somehow. But we will work it out.

Until next week.....the ParkerStores Crew.

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz
Teams Williams