SCHATZ, PARKERSTORE TEAM SCORE VEGAS OUTLAW WIN LAS VEGAS, NV (March 12) - Donny Schatz felt like he was struggling in the early going of the 2005 World of Outlaws Sprint Series campaign. After dropping out while leading the first WoO "A"...
SCHATZ, PARKERSTORE TEAM SCORE VEGAS OUTLAW WIN
LAS VEGAS, NV (March 12) - Donny Schatz felt like he was struggling in the early going of the 2005 World of Outlaws Sprint Series campaign. After dropping out while leading the first WoO "A" feature in Florida back in February, he didn't feel like he had his "mojo" working. Friday's victory in the J.D. Byrider World of Outlaws Nationals A-main aboard his #15 ParkerStore J&J with Shaver power will certainly help him get it back.
"We need to just keep winning races," said Schatz, following his third victory in Las Vegas and 29th career WoO triumph. "We're not focusing on seconds and thirds. We need to win races, it's the plain flat bottom line. You win a lot of races, things are going to go your way and the points will take care of themselves.
"We don't need to be falling out. We were really good the first night down in Florida, had a good start but just didn't finish that way. Hopefully we've got all the bad stuff behind us. I think we'll be all right. These guys (Todd Seitz, Brian Bloomfield and John Pate) work awfully hard and I've been a tough guy to deal with lately with the way we've been running so maybe this will ease my blood pressure a little bit."
The ParkerStore team found themselves locked into Friday's program thanks to a strong third place run in Thursday's opener. The team did some R&D work on a new Shaver motor program early in the evening and finished fourth in the dash event that set the starting lineup for the 30-lap finale.
Schatz quickly jumped up to second as the green flag waved to start the action. By lap 10, Schatz had his ParkerStore sprinter on the back bumper of leader, Kraig Kinser. After a caution on lap 13, Craig Dollansky got by Schatz with a low move in turns three and four. Schatz remained patient working the entire racing surface trying to find the best place to run on the track. With just seven laps to go, Schatz made his move on Dollansky. The two made contact on the frontstretch, which made for some anxious moments.
"It got pretty sideways," explained Schatz. "That's our job to try to save them. I feel a lot more comfortable trying to save my car in that situation than I would driving down the interstate at 90 mph getting sideways on the ice. When you're in [a spin], you don't have a choice. You've got to get out of them."
The 27 year-old Fargo, ND has plenty of ice driving experience, and he also was able to right his #15 sprinter and set his sights on Kinser again. On lap 24, Schatz made his move on the bottom and exited turn two ahead of Kinser to gain the lead. It was a lead he wouldn't relinquish, but there was added drama as his right rear tire shredded just after he took the checkered flag.
"Our racecars are always better at the end than at the beginning," said Schatz, who also won the 2004 season finale at Las Vegas. "We were kind of skeptical about how tight to go, but we just went with it. We just needed more laps and fuel to come off the other cars. Everybody's cars get worse and my racecars seem to get a lot better. Some nights it bites us, tonight it helped us stay on the bottom and make decent laps."
"Kraig's car was fast on the top, and he needed to be maneuverable. I could run the top, but I wasn't very good there. When you get to traffic you've got to be able to go everywhere. I kept trying to make the bottom work. I knew when we got to traffic the bottom was going to have to be there. If you don't push the envelope in this deal, you're going to get passed by two or three guys. When I saw the opportunity I went for it. It worked for us tonight, but a lot of nights it bites you."
Schatz admitted following the race that it takes a total team effort to win races and be successful in the competitive Outlaw series.
"It's a chemistry," continued Schatz. "It's not just one person, it's a lot of people. These guys work awful hard, but the only thing I can do is get in the car and go so I got to just keep fighting that way."
The ParkerStore team will hope to carry their "Vegas Mojo" with them as they head east towards their next race. Schatz and the team return to the track next Friday at Pike County Speedway in Mississippi and next Saturday, they'll be competing at Houston Raceway Park in Texas.