TERRE HAUTE, IN -JULY 13, 2003 - An uncharacteristic engine failure derailed Donny Schatz and the ParkerStores team for scoring another top three finish in the 30-lap A Main at the Action Track, Terre Haute, IN. With just five laps to go while ...
TERRE HAUTE, IN -JULY 13, 2003 - An uncharacteristic engine failure derailed Donny Schatz and the ParkerStores team for scoring another top three finish in the 30-lap A Main at the Action Track, Terre Haute, IN. With just five laps to go while running third behind eventual winner and runner-up respectively, Danny Lasoski and Steve Kinser, Schatz slowed the #15 ParkerStores Shaver J & J to a stop in turn four ending his chances to maintain the streak of consistent top finishes the team has enjoyed the past several weeks.
Schatz posted the fifth fastest time of the 30 cars in the pits for the nights competition. After finishing second to Kinser in his heat race, Schatz started inside second row in the first dash scoring second to Lasoski, securing the inside second row starting position for the feature.
At the drop of the green, Schatz fell in behind Lasoski and Kinser quickly distancing themselves from the remainder of the field before starting the fine art of weaving through lapped traffic. Sitting in the catbird seat behind the other two, Schatz was biding his time, finding the best groove for mounting a late-race assault for the win. But, exiting turn four ending lap 25, the maturity and experience of Schatz was clearly demonstrated when he shut the car down rather than risking seriously damaging his Shaver power plant or laying down fluid on the track that could prove to be hazardous to the other competitors.
"Although the engine problem prevented us from making a charge for the win or at the very least, scoring another solid finish," said Schatz. "I look it as expunging some of the bad luck demons as we head into big events at Eldora, Williams Grove and Knoxville the next few weeks. It is disappointing to everyone on the ParkerStores team to have a DNF in our stats but when you consider how many nights we run and the percentage of races we finish, it really does reflect how well our team is prepared. We just have to shake it off and get ready for Eldora this weekend."
The first of the major U.S. events for winged sprint cars is set for Friday and Saturday, July 18-19. The Eldora Clash at Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, OH, the $10,000 to win preliminary to Saturday night's Kings Royal, the 20th Annual $50,000 to win, starts the run for the money for the best of the best in World of Outlaws Winged Sprint Car competition.
After a quick stop in Sarver, PA at Lernerville Speedway on July 22nd, Schatz and the ParkerStores team head for Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA for the Summer Nationals July 24-26. Schatz is a former champion of the prestigious event.
The Fargo, ND based team continues with an event on July 28 at New Egypt Speedway, New Egypt, NJ followed on July 30's race at Sharon Speedway, Hartford, OH. Schatz and company then travel to K-C Raceway, Chillicothe, OH, PowerCom Park Raceway, Beaver Dam, WI on August 3 and Hartford Speedway Park, Hartford, MI. These travels lead the team back to Eldora Speedway August 8-9 for The Historic Big One where Schatz will defend his 2002 victory in the $100,000 to win event.
The culmination of this marathon of racing is the 43rd Annual Knoxville Nationals August 13-16 at Knoxville Raceway, Knoxville, IA, the undisputed "Super Bowl of Winged Sprint Car Racing". Schatz will be going for his third consecutive Kele Challenge victory. The North Dakota driver has finished the Saturday night finale in the runner-up spot twice in the last three year and was clearly the favorite in 2001 when a lap-one, turn-one tire problem sent him crashing violently all the way through turns one and two. Schatz was unhurt in the accident but his evening ended before getting started. In 2003, he has his sights set on bringing home the $125,000 winner's prize plus the prestige of adding his name to a distinguished list of previous winners.