KNOXVILLE, IA (AUGUST 10) - Every sprint car team in the world wants to be their best on the final night of the Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals, and after posting wins in the first two nights of the Nationals, Donny Schatz and the ParkerStore are...
KNOXVILLE, IA (AUGUST 10) - Every sprint car team in the world wants to be their best on the final night of the Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals, and after posting wins in the first two nights of the Nationals, Donny Schatz and the ParkerStore are hoping to make it four wins in their last four nights on the track.
"I'm really excited about our chances tonight," said Schatz, who is celebrating his 25th birthday today. "Our big problem all year has been qualifying and we've gotten all that out of the way. Most people will probably say that to win the Knoxville Nationals you've got to start in the first two rows. I've started there the past three years and haven't been able to win it, so we'll go from the seventh spot and give it our best shot."
Schatz thrilled the capacity crowd on Friday night by winning the $10,000-to-win Kele World Challenge with a last corner pass. He also drove his #15 ParkerStore J&J to a third place finish in the 12-lap "A" Scramble and moved from ninth in points to seventh. The World Challenge victory followed Thursday's epic battle in which Schatz out muscled defending Knoxville Nationals Champion Danny Lasoski and Tyler Walker to win his second consecutive Knoxville Nationals prelim using a brand new J&J sprinter. Last Saturday, Schatz took home his biggest payday when he dominated the $100,000 Historical Big One utilizing a specially designed Ron Shaver powerplant, nicknamed "TIGER".
"We're running really good right now and it all comes down to one race," explained Schatz. "The guys in front of me are tremendous racers, but we've been strong in the feature races all season. I've got all the confidence in the world in my crew. Kenny Woodruff has won four Big One's, the Knoxville Nationals, the King's Royal, and a ton more big races. I know when I get into the car tonight that I'll have the car to beat. When the race starts, it'll all be up to me."
Schatz will be trying to overcome disappointment from the past two Knoxville N ationals "A" Features. In 2000, he had just teamed with "KW" at the Nationals and the Fargo, ND driver led the first 24 laps before Mark Kinser got by him and claimed the win. Last year, Schatz was a rocket in the ParkerStore car winning his qualifying night feature and the Kele World Challenge and earning the pole position. He never got to make a complete lap as his left rear tire peeled off the rim heading into turn one after taking the green flag.
"What you can overcome will only make you stronger and that's why I'm so confident, even though we are starting seventh," said Schatz. "All I can do is drive the race of my life tonight and see where the chips fall."