Donny Schatz - Silver State Shootout preview

MINOT, ND - The Pennzoil World of Outlaws schedule is a grueling 10-month journey from dirt track to dirt track all across the United States. Outlaws Star Donny Schatz will take some time away from the racetrack this week to help build spirits of...

MINOT, ND - The Pennzoil World of Outlaws schedule is a grueling 10-month journey from dirt track to dirt track all across the United States. Outlaws Star Donny Schatz will take some time away from the racetrack this week to help build spirits of others and help keep things in perspective for himself. On Tuesday, Schatz will travel to Sioux Falls, SD, for the AJ Peterson Benefit. Peterson, who is one of a million people that is struck each year with transverse myelitis, was actively involved in sports in Sioux Falls before he came down with this disease. His condition is an unexplained swelling of the spinal cord, which left AJ paralyzed from the waist down. Schatz felt it was important to return for the event since he raced in the Sioux Falls area regularly before joining the Outlaws full-time in 1997. "Anytime, I go to Sioux Falls, it's kind of like going home for me," said Schatz. "I did a lot of racing there when I was just starting out. Everyone treated me really good and it's going be fun to give something back for a worthwhile cause. If me being there gives his family a chance to continue their search for a cure, then I'm all for it." On the track, Schatz has taken his lumps early this season with the Outlaws after starting out with a fifth and second place finish. A broken fuel pump cost him a chance at a top three finish in Las Vegas and on Sunday at Oklahoma City, he was the victim of circumstance as Andy Hillenburg lost control of his car in turn two, which put the ParkerStore #15 into the guardrail. In each race, he placed 24th and that has dropped him to 15th in the WoO standings. "It's fun to go and do things away from the track," continued Schatz. "Right now the way things are going, I'm gritting my teeth trying to get back up in the points. I wish we were racing every night, because we need to try and turn our luck around. The only way you can do that is by racing, so I'm really edgy right now." Before Schatz returns to action on Friday at State Fair Speedway in Sedalia, MO, "the Minot Missile" will pay a visit to the Kidney Dialysis Clinic in Sedalia on Friday morning. Schatz will be joining civic leaders of Sedalia in an effort to help promote Organ Donation. "There are a number of great people at the Kidney Dialysis Clinic," said Schatz, who visited the same clinic last spring. "It makes you realize that if you have your health you've got to be thankful. Sometimes people don't appreciate their health as much as they should. When you go and spend time with patients, it makes you take a step back and realize that some of the bad finishes on the race track really aren't that bad. It really helps me mentally to be a part of these events." When Schatz puts his #15 Parkerstores J&J on the track in Sedalia, he'll be returning to the track where he made his sprint car debut in April 1993. According to Schatz, the track has always been special to him even though lady luck seems to go against him there. "It's the first place that I ever raced," explained Schatz, who finished 16th in his inaugural race. "I've run really good there in the past three years with the Outlaws and have actually led the feature three or four times, but always had crazy things happen like a flat tire or something unusual. Hopefully, we'll continue running well there, and this time get a victory. We really need one, because we're behind big time in the points." Following Friday's race in Sedalia, the Outlaw journey will continue with a program at I-55 Raceway, which is located in Pevely, MO, just south of St. Louis. The high-banked 3/8 mile oval is another track where Schatz has run well, but has yet to find victory lane. "Last year, I led the feature for a few laps, but then dropped all the way out of the top ten," said Schatz. "(Crew Chief) Kenny (Woodruff) put an awesome car under me both nights at Oklahoma City, and I'm hoping he's got a good setup for Pevely. One where he says, 'you just go drive it hard.' If that's the case then maybe we can we be right there at the end of the night and have a terrific weekend."

- Bill Klingbeil

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Andy Hillenburg , Donny Schatz