FT. WORTH, TX - For most competitors in the rugged Pennzoil World of Outlaws series opportunities to win a feature race don't come along very often. Donny Schatz wants to be one of the drivers that has a chance to win every night. Schatz is...
FT. WORTH, TX - For most competitors in the rugged Pennzoil World of Outlaws series opportunities to win a feature race don't come along very often. Donny Schatz wants to be one of the drivers that has a chance to win every night. Schatz is hoping to make up for a second place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a race which aired live on TNN, on Thursday and Friday at Texas Motor Speedway's Southern Bleacher Classic.
"We want to win all of the races, but it seems like when we have a television race everyone picks up the pace," said Schatz, who will race live on TNN Friday. "Those races are really important for us, because we get a chance to get great exposure for ParkerStores and Featherlite Coaches, who really help us race night after night. I feel like I gave the Las Vegas TV race away and I want to get that one back."
Schatz began the 2001 WoO season with a fifth place finish in the season opener and the next race was the Las Vegas TV event. Schatz put the ParkerStores #15 J&J in the lead when the green flag dropped and was the class of the field during most of the race. Track conditions were very difficult and with three laps to go, Schatz was approaching two lapped cars. He was hoping to split the lapped cars, but one driver changed his line forcing "the Minot Missile" to slow down. This gave second place runner Andy Hillenburg a chance to make a move for the lead. Schatz wasn't able to make a move on Hillenburg and finished second.
Since then, luck certainly hasn't been with the ParkerStores team. A broken component cost the team a top five finish two days later in Las Vegas, and they struggled at Devil's Bowl Speedway the following weekend. At State Fair Speedway in Oklahoma City, Schatz made a terrific charge from 18th to sixth in the preliminary program and was running ninth early in the "A" Feature the following day when he was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Schatz tried to miss Hillenburg, who got sideways in the corner, and ended up in the fence causing extensive damage.
Last weekend, things began to take a turn for the better. On Saturday night, Schatz raced from 20th to fifth in the 40-lap "A" Feature at I-55 Raceway. The track became a one-lane track after it began taking rubber in the "B" Feature. Schatz found a way to pass through the middle and worked his way up to fifth and was challenging for fourth when the checkered flag fell. The finish has given the team optimism even though Schatz admits that he hasn't h ad the best of luck at the Dirt Track at Texas Motor Speedway.
"We've never really run that well at TMS," said Schatz, who qualified second at the 4/10-mile oval last fall, but his best finish is a 13th. "We're hoping that will change. (Crew Chief Kenny Woodruff) KW has been putting a great car underneath me, but I've been struggling a little bit. We put both things together at Pevely and we want to build on that. I know the car is going to be great when we get there, and I just hope I am too."
-Donny Schatz Motorsports