Schatz, Parkerstore Team aim to be crowned at Eldora. ROSSBURG, OH - Donny Schatz has claimed all season that winning his first race of the year was going to be the toughest. Since winning at his home track in West Fargo, ND, two Saturday's ago,...
Schatz, Parkerstore Team aim to be crowned at Eldora.
ROSSBURG, OH - Donny Schatz has claimed all season that winning his first race of the year was going to be the toughest. Since winning at his home track in West Fargo, ND, two Saturday's ago, Schatz and his ParkerStore team have been coming on strong. The second biggest thing for Schatz to accomplish may be finally winning a feature race at Eldora Speedway and Saturday's 19th annual King's Royal would be the perfect time according to Schatz.
"It'd be nice to win both nights, but I'm not greedy," said Schatz, who is searching for his first career Pennzoil World of Outlaws win at the "Big E". "Honestly, I want the King's Royal. You get the big crown, the robe and get to stand up there on stage and then comes the big check for 50 grand. That's what has us all keyed up. I'd be awful excited to add my name to the list of winners."
"We're heading into this weekend with some confidence, but we've really struggled at Eldora this year. Actually, we haven't had the results that we want there the past two years. We're going to cross our fingers and hope that we can get around the track well and things work out for the best."
Since the ParkerStore team brought out a new J&J sprinter on June 26 at State Fair Speedway, the team has been consistently running in the top five. In those 12 races, Schatz has two wins, six top five's and nine top tens. Included in that run are an 11th at I-55 Raceway last Saturday, where they blew a right rear tire, and the only two other finishes outside the top ten were due to motor problems at Knoxville Raceway.
Schatz's recent win at Red River Valley Speedway in Fargo, a place where he learned the trade of racing sprint cars yet struggled annually with the WoO, has given the 24 year-old added confidence heading into the first "Big Money" race of the season.
"I know I haven't been able to finish up front in the King's Royal, but I had the same problem with Fargo until this year," continued Schatz, who ranks sixth in the WoO standings. "Crazy stuff would always happen there and it seems like the same things happen at Eldora. I mean just about every year it rains during one of the big races and we end up racing all night. Rain certainly doesn't make racing at Eldora fun and fun is what racing is supposed to be all about. I know we overcame a lot to finally win at Fargo, and I hope we get the chance to be in contention on Saturday night."
Rain may have hindered the chances of the ParkerStores team last year. After qualifying third, Schatz couldn't transfer through the tough heat races which invert six cars and take only the top three. He finished fourth and had to start 12th in the 40-lap race. He tied his best career King's Royal finish of 8th, which he also accomplished in 1996 when he made his debut at the super fast half-mile as a 18 year-old.
Last year was his first time at the King's Royal with Kenny Woodruff as his crew chief. Woodruff, who has three King's Royal wins as a tuner (1989- Bobby Davis Jr., Dave Blaney 1993 & 1995), has had his share of wins in big money races at Eldora including winning three consecutive Historical Big One's with three different drivers, and Schatz would like nothing more than to become the fifth driver to win a big money race for Woodruff at Eldora.
"My chances are a lot better having KW on my team," said Schatz of Woodruff, who is assisted by Shane Anderson. "The odds are stacked in his corner at the big races, but I haven't been that good in them in the past. I know when we go out to race, he wants to win more than anybody in the place and I've been trying to match his passion for victory. His cars have been awful fast, and I'd love to get him up on the big stage with me."
The Speed Channel will tape both nights of action and will air the opener on August 15th and the King's Royal on September 5th both at 11 PM (et). Schatz has already done well when the Speed Channel cameras are rolling as he finished third at Fargo in the July 5th program that will air tonight at 11 PM (et) and won the July 6th race that will air on July 25th at 11 PM (et).