Schatz, Parkerstore Team Eye Return to "The Big E" FARGO, ND (April 8) - Speed is the name of the game in most forms of racing and in dirt track racing, the fastest place to race is Eldora Speedway. Donny Schatz and his ParkerStore team are ...
Schatz, Parkerstore Team Eye Return to "The Big E"
FARGO, ND (April 8) - Speed is the name of the game in most forms of racing and in dirt track racing, the fastest place to race is Eldora Speedway. Donny Schatz and his ParkerStore team are looking forward to their first visit of the season to the high-banked half-mile dirt oval in Western Ohio when they join the rest of the traveling World of Outlaws Sprint Series stars on Friday and Saturday night.
"Any time you go to a place that is all about horsepower and momentum, I'm up for that," said Schatz, who has piloted the #15 ParkerStore J&J into second place in the WoO standings. "We race at a lot tracks each year and there are clearly some that stand out more than others. Eldora can be a pretty intimating place, but it can also be a lot of fun."
Schatz, who has raced at Eldora more than 40 times since his first race - the 1996 King's Royal, has proven to be one of the top sprint car drivers in the Outlaw series in the past couple of seasons. He has been very consistent and extremely tough to beat at the high-speed places, and also at tradition-rich tracks like Knoxville and WIlliams Grove.
The Fargo, ND driver won 12 WoO feature events last season (7 "A" feature and 5 preliminary features) and five of those came at Eldora, Knoxville and Williams Grove. He won the Outlaws preliminary feature last April and that was his second consecutive win at "the Big E". Schatz collected his first career victory at the legendary half-mile in August 2002 when he dominated the $100,000-to-win Historical Big One event.
"It seems like it took forever to get my first win, but now that we've got it I just want to keep winning," continued Schatz. "I think Eldora is a place where you need to get experience, because it takes a little while to figure it out. Once you get over that first hump, then you kind of have a better idea of the place."
"We'd like to have a good weekend and continue improving," said Schatz, who has had a consistent 2004 season so far with five top five and seven top ten finishes in nine starts. "Last year, we won the first night, but didn't come back and get it done the second night. Winning at least one race at Eldora this year is a goal of mine, and I'd like to get it this weekend. If we get one, then I can get greedy and try and get more. Everybody wants to win the King's Royal, but that's a long way from now."
Last year's win in April was a milestone for Tyler Swank, the Crew Chief on the ParkerStore team. Swank claimed his first career Eldora victory as a Crew Chief when Schatz passed early leader Brian Paulus and led the final 11 laps of the preliminary feature. The chemistry between Schatz and Swank has been very good and the 26 year-old Iowa native is optimistic they'll continue to improve.
"Donny can do some amazing things in a sprint car and I'm just happy that most of the time we are on the same page," said Swank. "Being from Newton (which is just north of Knoxville), I know how important winning at great places like Eldora can be to a team. He spoiled me by the winning the first time we were there together and I'm ready for number two."
Schatz knows the value of his crew and is hoping to reward everyone involved with Donny Schatz Motorsports with a solid showing this weekend.
"My guys have been working hard to get me in a position to win and I know they spent this week getting us prepared," said Schatz, of his crew which includes Swank, Team Manager Dave Yingst, and crewman John Gressman. "We're hoping some of the R&D that we've been working on will help us this weekend and get us prepared for the big money races later in the summer. In this sport, you've got to continue to get better. Steve (Kinser) just won his 500th Outlaw feature and he's setting a pretty good pace so far this year. We need to close the gap on him and this weekend would be a great time to start."
For all the latest news and information on Donny Schatz and the ParkerStore team log onto www.donnyschatz.com and www.parker.com/racing.