Schatz Seeks Third Win at New Egypt Speedway Some drivers figure out a particular track very quickly and take an immediate liking to them. That is exactly the case for Donny Schatz and New Egypt Speedway in New Jersey. In the series...
Schatz Seeks Third Win at New Egypt Speedway
Some drivers figure out a particular track very quickly and take an immediate liking to them. That is exactly the case for Donny Schatz and New Egypt Speedway in New Jersey.
In the series three events at the track dating back to 2001, the reigning series champion and current point leader has found his way to the winner's circle in two of those three events, including in the series inaugural visit in 2001 as well as in their last visit in 2003.
On Sunday, May 20 Schatz will look for his third win at New Egypt as the best sprint car drivers in the world return to the half-mile to do battle for the only time this season in the Garden State.
"It's a fun place to race at," said Schatz driver of the ParkerStore J&J. "The last couple times we have been there it has been really hot out, well over 100 degrees so the track was dry. Those aren't quite the perfect conditions, but hopefully this year we get some good weather."
Schatz keeps meticulous notes about each and every track the series visits and his team has always hit on the set-up very well at New Egypt. He has led a combined 30 laps in the two events that he has won at the track, and he has also been in the Top-10 in time trials twice, including being second quick in 2003.
"That east coast dirt, it gets slick and you can race on it," he said. "We have had very good cars there in the past. We're looking forward to going back there and hopefully getting another victory."
Over the years, the World of Outlaws have visited countless tracks from coast-to-coast. One of the most unique is the D-shaped ½-mile New Egypt Speedway in New Jersey. Schatz had to think back a number of years to find a track that even remotely reminded him of New Egypt.
"There are a few tracks that resemble the D-shape of New Egypt," he said. "St. Augustine in Florida where we used to race years ago had a D-shape to it. There are a few others out there that we have not been to for some time. There are a number of uniquely shaped race tracks in the country and New Egypt is the one that we get to most often."
Schatz and his team are in the midst of a grueling stretch that will have seen them compete five times in a six-day period by the time they arrive at New Egypt. This is the first East Coast swing for the team with Pennsylvania native Dave Lawrence on board as crew chief. Lawrence joined the team in the off-season and has quickly gelled with Schatz and the rest of the crew. Schatz works very close with the day-to-day operations of the team, as he likes stay up-to-date with what is going on with all facets of the team from the business side to the actual set-up of the race car each night.
"It's been a lot of fun with Dave on board," Schatz said. "I keep my hand very close on things, but that is a lot of fun for me. I like to dig in and get things to where I want them to be. Dave is a great guy and is doing what we expect of him. He is a very good organizer and he stays on top of it. You have to have a lot of leadership and he wants to be a leader, not a follower. He also has a big commitment to this. If you ask him, he will tell you that he wants to stay and make a career out of this as long as he can. He's not looking at one, two, or three years. He is looking at the long term. It's great to get a commitment from someone that good and we are excited to have him on board."
In the first quarter of the season, Schatz has been a model of consistency racking up 15 Top-Five finishes and 20 Top-10 finishes in the first 22 races. His lowest finish of the season came on May 5 at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Arkansas, when he finished 14th. His only other finish outside of the Top-10 was a 12th-place finish at Thunderbowl Raceway in California in February when he used a provisional and started 25th. He has led nearly 100 laps on the season, and is tied for the lead with wins in the Crane Cams Dash, and also has set fast time twice. This is the same consistency he showed last season en route to his first World of Outlaws title.
"You have to be in the Top-three," commented Schatz. "You can't win anything on Top-10 finishes. We have been in the Top-three consistently and that is good. You are going to have weekends like we had at West Memphis and that's going to happen. That is just the way the ball rolls. Minimizing the pain and all that goes with it is the key to winning a championship. I think you have to minimize how bad things are sometimes, because you are going to have bad nights."
After his sixth win of the season on May 18 at Williams Grove Speedway, Schatz extended his lead in the championship standings, though that is the least thing on his mind. In his championship winning season last year he rarely looked at the standings and just focused on winning as many races as he could. Every time he takes to the track he has one goal in mind, and that is to end up in victory lane at the end of the night. He will look for his third win at New Egypt on Sunday night as the series returns to the D-shaped half-mile for the first time since 2003.
"We don't point's race," he said. "We are not pencil racers. Some of these guys when the feature is over can tell you how many points they lost or gained, and how much money they earned or lost. We come here to win and if we don't win, we are disappointed. Even sometimes when we win, we are a little disappointed, because we feel that we should have been better. You just have to go out and try to win races every night and that is what we try to do, and the rest of it takes care of itself."
On Sunday, May 20 at New Egypt Speedway, tickets for the World of Outlaws event will be $30 plus tax.