SCHATZ, PARKERSTORE TEAM AIM TO CONCLUDE CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON WITH LAS VEGAS VICTORY LAS VEGAS, NV (October 24) - From the first time Donny Schatz came to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he knew this was a place he enjoyed being. The thrill of the...
SCHATZ, PARKERSTORE TEAM AIM TO CONCLUDE CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON WITH LAS VEGAS VICTORY
LAS VEGAS, NV (October 24) - From the first time Donny Schatz came to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he knew this was a place he enjoyed being. The thrill of the Las Vegas lights and the hope of one day competing with the best of the World of Outlaws motivated the kid from Minot, ND.
The 29 year-old World of Outlaws star has come along way in his career since that first race at the Dirt Track at LVMS back in February 1997. This weekend, the ParkerStore sponsored sprint car racer will claim his first World of Outlaws championship, yet his goal for Friday and Saturday night is the same as its been for every other race this season.
"We're looking to win two more races," said Schatz, who picked up his series leading 16th "A" Feature win on Saturday night at USA Race Park in Tucson, Arizona. "I've said all season I wasn't worrying about the championship and instead just wanting to win as many races as I could. The guy with the most wins is the one that will end the year with the championship. I know there isn't anyone that can beat me in wins, so we're going to try and get 19 and 20."
Schatz was referring to WoO wins number 19 and 20 as he looks towards the two-night season finale program at the half-mile dirt oval located north of Las Vegas. He has two preliminary feature wins this season meaning that if he can sweep the final two races his total number of WoO wins this year would equal 20.
Coming into the final weekend with a goal of winning isn't new for Schatz. He's been very successful at the track claiming season ending feature wins here first in 1999 and then also in 2004. He won a thrilling feature event at the track in March of 2005 and was victorious earlier this season when he claimed the 30-lap feature event on March 9.
Following that win, he took over the championship standings and has never looked back aboard his No. 15 ParkerStore J&J with Shaver power. He currently holds a 330-point advantage over Craig Dollanksy and simply by signing in both nights, he'll claim the title.
"Technically we've got this thing under control, but as a racer I can't start thinking about anything but winning races until we've had our last one," continued Schatz, who scored the biggest win of his career this August with a triumph in the Super Clean Knoxville Nationals. "I've been on the other side of the coin knowing where winning the final race of the year can leave all the other guys thinking about that last race. I don't want to be thinking about what we could have done differently. Instead, we're going to try and win the final two nights and cap what's been a great year."
The domination by the ParkerStore team is obvious when you look at the series statistics for 2006. Schatz leads the series in wins (18 - 16 "A" and 2 prelims), feature laps led (419), fast qualifier awards (8) including two new track records, and dash wins (8).
"There's been a lot of hard work by a lot of people this year," said Schatz, who started his racing season in Australia by winning eight of his first nine starts. "My parents have supported my dream of racing for a lot years and they worked hard to give me the resources to become who I am as a racer. (Crew Chief) Ricky (Warner) spent a lot of time getting us ready last winter and we had a tremendous start. I usually have a tough time getting going, but we got that first win here in Las Vegas and were able to be competitive every night and win with regularity."
"(Crewman) Shane (Bowers) and James (Zartman) were added to the team this year and have both done a great job. It's a tough life out here and to have a championship team, you have to have people willing to do whatever it takes to win. The same thing can be said about our corporate partners ParkerStore, Bellerud Transport and Petro Stopping Centers."
Following the two nights of racing, the team will attend the 2006 World of Outlaws championship banquet at Bally's Las Vegas Hotel and Casino where they will receive their championship hardware.
"Any time you go to a place where you have won before you're excited," said Schatz. "We're just hoping to pick up a couple more wins and do a little celebrating at the banquet."