LAS VEGAS, NV (February 27) - Donny Schatz always seems to enjoy the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. After winning the 1999 Pennzoil World of Outlaws (WOO) season finale and posting a number of solid runs at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's half-mile...
LAS VEGAS, NV (February 27) - Donny Schatz always seems to enjoy the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. After winning the 1999 Pennzoil World of Outlaws (WOO) season finale and posting a number of solid runs at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's half-mile dirt track, Schatz is optimistic about his team's chances in this weekend's Silver State Shootout.
"I really like Las Vegas Motor Speedway," said Schatz, who now calls Fargo, ND home. "Any time you win somewhere that place automatically becomes more special, but we've run well there for a long time. It's a big track with good speeds, and that's where I seem to be my best. I know (Crew Chief) Kenny (Woodruff) has done a really good job with the car since we've been together. We'll have three nights to get everything dialed in, and I hope we have a shot by feature time on Saturday night."
Schatz will pilot the #15 ParkerStores J&J in the annual Silver State Shootout. The first of seven 2002 WoO events that share the market and spotlight with NASCAR. The team will run two complete nights of action which include qualifying, heat races and feature events. They will accumulate points that will line up Saturday's program, which will pay $20,000 to the winner. The "Minot Missile" knows that Saturday is the night when you want to be at your best.
"We're going to work really hard on Thursday and Friday, so that we might have a shot to be up front on Saturday," said Schatz. "Last year, we should have won the first night after leading for 28 laps, but finished second. In the second race we finished ninth, so for the final we were in pretty good shape, but after making a run into the top five we lost a fuel pump and finished almost last (23rd). That hurt us from momentum standpoint, so we're just hoping that doesn't happen again."
Schatz and the rest of the Outlaws opened the 2002 WoO season last Friday in Hanford, CA , at King's Speedway where Schatz finished ninth after starting 15th. On Saturday, he made another charge at Perris Auto Speedway coming from 12th to finish fourth. He was very pleased with Goodyear's new tires and is anxious to race with them more.
"I feel good about getting the first weekend under my belt," continued Schatz. "We had been trying to work with Goodyear on getting us some different tires, and they've brought back exactly what we asked for. I'm really happy with what they've got and looking forward to getting on them at Las Vegas. It's a bigger track and that should be an advantage, because we've got more surface of the tires on the track and that's a big key.
"We didn't qualify as well as we wanted to, but we were able to race our way to the front. In the past, I haven't had the best success early in the season, so our goal for these first handful of events is to be as competitive and consistent as possible."