Donny Schatz season preview

Schatz, ParkerStore Team Set To Open 2005 Season BARBERVILLE, FL (February 10) - When the 2004 World of Outlaws Sprint Series ended last fall in November at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Donny Schatz would have been happy to start the 2005 season ...

Schatz, ParkerStore Team Set To Open 2005 Season

BARBERVILLE, FL (February 10) - When the 2004 World of Outlaws Sprint Series ended last fall in November at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Donny Schatz would have been happy to start the 2005 season right away. After winning his eighth feature race of the final 22 starts on that November night, the Fargo, ND racer felt like he and his ParkerStore team were operating in midseason form.

This weekend, Schatz will jump back into his #15 ParkerStore J&J with Shaver power and continue his pursuit of the coveted World of Outlaws Championship racing at Volusia Raceway Park on Friday and Sunday nights.

Schatz, who finished a career-best third in last year's WoO standings, continued his torrid pace in Australia in late December and January. On January 2nd, he scored his fourth $50K Sprintcar International victory at Parramatta City Raceway near Sydney and two weeks later defeated all of the World of Outlaws competitors and was victorious in WoO season-opening Outlaws Down Under II "A" Feature. His goal now is to continue his winning ways.

"I'm really excited about getting the season going," continued Schatz, who won six races in 13 starts in Australia. "Winning the Outlaws Down Under show to start the season was really a big thing. You know the guy that won Outlaws Down Under show last year won the championship, so I hope we can make it two straight years and get the championship accomplished."

"I honestly hope we can have a season like Steve did last year and continue racing at this high level. We've got a lot of racing to look forward."

The ParkerStore team will have a primarily the same program as last year. Parker will continue being a corporate partner of the team that is based out of Fargo, ND. Parker has been a co-primary sponsor of the Schatz Racing team since 1999, and as part of its sponsorship package, Parker provides product support including hoses, fittings and quick couplings for Schatz's #15 car and its transporter.

"I've said this for quite some time, but the people at Parker really make this possible," explained Schatz. "Brad Fischer and John Strand and all the people at Parker have been very supportive our racing program. We do quite a few car shows each season and it helps all of their employees see what World of Outlaws racing is all about. Dick Bellerud and his trucking company, Bellerud Transport, are also major reasons why we can do this."

One change to the team is the addition of Todd Seitz as crew chief. He joined the team last fall and transitioned to replace Tyler Swank. Brian Bloomfield joined the team last April and helped Donny in Australia as well. Seitz worked for Schatz Racing in 1996 before working with several other Outlaw teams, including Steve Kinser, and then joined Hoosier Tire as a Tire Specialist and later became a Product Manager. Seitz is thrilled with the opportunity to return working on the road with one of the best sprint car drivers in the world.

"I'm really looking forward to getting started," said Seitz. "It seems like a long time ago that we won the race in Las Vegas, but we've been working hard to get prepared for the season. We're going to take the season one race at a time and know that we have to communicate well and stay in tune with what the racetrack is doing. There are too many good guys out here to not be at your best all the time."

This weekend Schatz will return to race on the Florida soil for the first time since 1996, the year before he won the World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award. A lot has changed since then for Schatz, who at the time was competing regularly with the Upper Midwest WISSOTA Series and now is one of the top sprint car drivers in the World of Outlaws.

"Things have definitely changed, but the bottom line is you still have to have the best car and do what it takes to win," continued Schatz. "I think our racing program is the best out here. Jack Elam builds a great racecar and Ronnie Shaver has a tremendous motor program. That combined with products from Sander Engineering and K&N Performance Filters and several other companies really gives us an advantage. We just have to keep everything organized and we should be strong night in and night out."

The goal the past two seasons has been to be consistent enough to challenge for wins and get closer to the top of the standings. The 27 year-old knows that it will take an awesome season to reach the ultimate goal of winning the championship.

"I think the championship has been a reality the past couple of years, but it seems like we gave a lot of chances and opportunities away," continued Schatz. "Those sort of things happen when you're trying to reach the top. I really think we've got the right attitude on how to attack each night. We know we can't get discouraged or disappointed about one single night.

"I can't tell you how much fun it was last fall and this winter. It's fun to be in those shoes and I wish we had been a little closer to Steve and Danny for the points deal last year, but right now we are all on a level playing field. If we can keep ourselves from getting in a big hole early, I think we'll be in great shape this year."

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser