Eldora: Donny Schatz preview

Schatz, Parkerstores Team eye Eldora weekend. ROSSBURG, OH - "The faster the better" is how Pennzoil World of Outlaws star Donny Schatz tends to describe his characteristics of choice in a racetrack. This weekend, Schatz and his ParkerStores...

Schatz, Parkerstores Team eye Eldora weekend.

ROSSBURG, OH - "The faster the better" is how Pennzoil World of Outlaws star Donny Schatz tends to describe his characteristics of choice in a racetrack. This weekend, Schatz and his ParkerStores team will make their first appearance at the high-speed half-mile dirt oval of Eldora Speedway.

"I've always really enjoyed racing at Eldora, because when you're right, it's all out," said Schatz. "Last year was the first year that I raced there with Kenny Woodruff as my crew chief and he can certainly get a car working well there. We just had a little bad luck on a couple of occasions, but I'm confident we'll be fast there this weekend."

Prior to the 2001 WoO season, Schatz's best feature finish at the "Big E" came in his first visit. He finished eighth in the 1996 King's Royal, but was unable to return to the Top Ten until last season. He raced the #15 ParkerStores/Featherlite J&J seven times at Eldora Speedway in 2001, four times finishing better than eighth including a career-best third the night before the King's Royal. He qualified seventh or better in all seven events and claimed his first "Fast Qualifier Award" of the 2001 season during last April's event. Adding Woodruff, who has won two King's Royal's and three Historical Big One's at Eldora, certainly gave the team a good opportunity to succeed.

"We had some really good runs last year," continued the Fargo, ND driver. "The feature in April was a battle even though the track took rubber. Steve (Kinser) and I had a really good race for fourth at the end. In June, I was really coming to the front and ready to chase down Johnny (Herrera) and Andy (Hillenburg) until we broke a spark plug, and I had to hang on to finish fourth. After finishing third the night before the King's Royal, I really felt confident we were going to win the $50,000, but the rain made for a really wet track, which made passing really tough.

"The Historical Big One (HBO) weekend was probably the toughest to swallow. Like I said, we were good all year at Eldora and both nights we didn't even finish the feature. The first night, I started sixth and we broke a rearend on the first lap. The next night, I started on the front row and was running second when I smacked the wall coming off turn two and damaged another rearend. I don't know if I could have won either race, but I would've liked to been around at the end."

Schatz has been able to cross high-speed racetracks off his wish list for wins in the past few seasons. In 1999, he dominated the field at the lightning fast Manazanita Speedway claiming the final WoO sanctioned Western World. Two years ago, he earned his first Williams Grove Speedway victory claiming the prestigious Williams Grove National Open. Last season, he won the preliminary feature at Bristol Motor Speedway rocketing from his 10th starting position running the cushion to post the victory in the 25-lap event, and he also won his first feature race at Knoxville Raceway during last year's Knoxville Nationals.

"I want to win at every track we race, but when a track has the tradition that Eldora does, you simply want it more," continued Schatz. "We have started to be more consistent lately. Qualifying is important, and we were able to do that well at Eldora last year. We just want a shot at it with five laps to go. If we get our shot, I'll be happy with that."

- www.donnyschatz.com

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Donny Schatz
Teams Williams