SCHATZ, PARKERSTORE TEAM MAKE IT THREE STRAIGHT Defending WoO Champion continues remarkable season with another triumph TULARE, CA (October 13) - With one move in the fourth heat race, Donny Schatz set up his entire night in Saturday's ...
SCHATZ, PARKERSTORE TEAM MAKE IT THREE STRAIGHT
Defending WoO Champion continues remarkable season with another triumph
TULARE, CA (October 13) - With one move in the fourth heat race, Donny Schatz set up his entire night in Saturday's inaugural Dave Helm Memorial at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, CA. Schatz raced his Global ParkerStore/Tom Johnson Camping Center sponsored No. 15 J&J with Shaver-built Chevrolet power past Terry McCarl with two laps remaining to claim the coveted runner-up spot in his heat race and earned a spot in the Crane Cams Dash. On a night when track position meant everything, Schatz found himself on the pole for the feature event and led all 35 laps to capture his third consecutive WoO race and 19th of season.
"By no means was this an easy night for us," admitted Schatz. "We qualified in the perfect spot (fourth). That's what got us here tonight. Things worked out our way in the heat. We didn't even get to pull a pill for the starting spot in the dash. The only one left was the pole.
"My race team (Dave Lawrence, Shane Bowers and Ricky Warner) gave me a great car tonight. The track was really demanding with all the rain they had here yesterday. I felt like I may have had something going wrong late in the race, but fortunately we had enough to get the job done tonight."
The three-race win streak began two weeks ago when Schatz picked up the $50,000 Williams Grove National Open and continued last Saturday in Princeton, MN. It's the second three-race winning streak of the season for the Fargo, N.D. racer, who continues to approach each race with the same mindset and that didn't change on Saturday.
"Our job is to come out here and win races," said Schatz, who is now tied with Dave Blaney for sixth overall in career WoO wins with 70. "My guys keep giving me a fast race car and we are trying to take advantage of everything that comes our way. We've won three in a row and now we'll shoot for four on Friday night in Phoenix."
Schatz qualified fourth in the field and started the fourth heat race in the fourth position. With the first and second place finishers in each heat race gaining spots in the dash, Schatz knew he had to move forward. After a good start, he battled Terry McCarl trying lap after lap to make the bottom groove work. Late in the heat race, McCarl moved down and Schatz took a chance on the higher groove and it worked.
The second place finish put him in the drawing positions, but since he finished second in the fourth heat race the other seven positions were already selected. By chance, the only remaining spot was the pole position. Schatz beat Ronnie Day to turn one during the first lap of the Crane Cams Dash and went on to win his 12th dash of the season.
In the feature, the track remained fast, but narrow as competitors would all be vying for the bottom line. Schatz jumped out into the lead at the start and set a fast early pace. The current points leader showed his patience as he tried to work through the lapped traffic during the middle stages. A caution on lap 25 took him out of traffic and one more caution with two laps remaining kept Schatz from dealing with traffic during the green, white, checkered finish.
The victory coupled with Joey Saldana's ninth place finished allowed Schatz to increase his lead in the points standings with only four nights of racing remaining.
"Like I said we really just worry about wins, but its a lot of fun to have someone pushing you," continued Schatz, who extended his lead to more than 100 markers with Saturday's win. "To go down to the wire with a great driver like Joey Saldana is pretty exciting. This team has been amazing all season...they've worked so hard. I just hope I can reward them at the end of the year with a championship."
The ParkerStore team will be back in action on Friday night at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix. Schatz won a thriller at the half-mile dirt oval back in March and he'll be looking for win number 20 this weekend. On Saturday, the team will return to Perris Auto Speedway in Southern California for the first WoO race at the track since 2004.