SCHATZ TAKES PARKERSTORE J&J TO SECOND STRAIGHT WIN TOPEKA, KS (Sept. 14) - For the better part of his World of Outlaws career, Donny Schatz has been a strong closer. With less than 20 races remaining in the 2007 season and the championship ...
SCHATZ TAKES PARKERSTORE J&J TO SECOND STRAIGHT WIN
TOPEKA, KS (Sept. 14) - For the better part of his World of Outlaws career, Donny Schatz has been a strong closer. With less than 20 races remaining in the 2007 season and the championship standings still in doubt, Schatz is making the statement that he's going to continue to be strong to the finish as he chases his second WoO title.
Transport/Snap-on Tools sponsored No. 15 On Friday night, the defending WoO champion and current points leader raced his Global ParkerStore/Tom Johnson Camping Center/BellerudJ&J with Shaver power to his second consecutive win by finishing strong in the 35-lap "A" feature at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, KS.
"You've got to take every one you can get," said Schatz, following his 16th WoO win of the season. "We got lucky tonight. The car popped out of gear about midway through the race. I was lucky enough to get it back in gear and passed Daryn (Pittman) for second. Then it was just a matter of seeing if we could get past Tim (Shaffer)."
Following Wednesday night's win at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Spencer, IA, Schatz started the evening by qualifying eighth in the field. He won the second heat race and drew the number four starting position in the Crane Cams Dash. In the eight-lap dash, Schatz finished second to Tim Shaffer earning an outside front row starting position for the 35-lap race.
Early cautions slowed the pace as the field worked around the 3/8-mile dirt oval. Schatz followed Shaffer into traffic and looked poised to make a bid for the lead when he slowed coming through turns three and four. After a few seconds the car regained speed before a caution slowed the the action on lap 17.
"I haven't had a car jump out of gear for several years," continued Schatz. "The cables kind of pull out and lock, and this one doesn't seem to want to lock. I could feel it earlier in the night, but you never expect it will bite you. We were bouncing through a few holes and that started to jar it. It popped out, but I got back in sync."
On the restart, Schatz roared past Daryn Pittman for second and then he chased Shaffer back into traffic. When Shaffer made a high move trying to lap a car, Schatz seized the moment on lap 27 and led the rest of the way for his 67th career WoO "A" feature moving him into seventh place all-time just three behind current NASCAR racer Dave Blaney.
"It's hard to pass people in open track," explained Schatz, who also won at HPT in 2001. "I don't think anyone has that good of a race car, especially with a full load of fuel. We needed to hit lapped traffic and force him to make a mistake. All of the yellows were kind of hurting him and kind of hurting us. He made a mistake in lapped traffic and I was there to capitalize on it. I've said it before, that when you are running second, you are in the catbird's seat. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain."
The consecutive wins following the annual Gold Rush tour matched last year's pair of triumphs when he won at Eagle Raceway and Jackson Speedway. It marks the fifth time in the last six years that Schatz has multiple wins following the west coast swing. Last season he won five races following the Gold Cup through the season finale. The Fargo, ND racer is aiming for at least that many this year.
"We're still shooting for 20 and maybe more," continued Schatz, who won a career-high 19 last year. "We have a few races left and we just have to make sure to capitalize on as many as we can. Every year we try to do better. We want to win more races than we did last year. We want another championship and we feel like winning races is the best way to try and get it."
Schatz and his ParkerStore team will look to make it three straight on Sunday night at Charter Raceway Park Sunday night. The show was originally scheduled for August 4th, one night after Schatz claimed the Super Clean Summer of Money crown on ESPN2. Schatz is a former winner at the track winning in July 2002 leading all 40 laps.