CHICO, CA - Who would have thought last week's World of Outlaws Sprint Series preliminary feature victory at Calistoga Speedway would have meant so much. Donny Schatz and his ParkerStore team picked up their first win in over three months last...
CHICO, CA - Who would have thought last week's World of Outlaws Sprint Series preliminary feature victory at Calistoga Speedway would have meant so much. Donny Schatz and his ParkerStore team picked up their first win in over three months last week and this weekend dominated the 51st annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway, with Schatz winning both his preliminary feature and Saturday's 40-lap finale.
"I have to thank my crew, they've worked so hard all year long to struggle like we have," said the driver of the #15 ParkerStore J&J. "It's nice to come out here to the west coast and run good at Calistoga, and now here. Chico's one of those places that I've never run good at, but we won Thursday, and tonight was a completely different track, but the car felt good when we hot-lapped, and I thought we had a shot at this one."
Schatz came into the Gold Cup looking to add the prestigious title to his trophy case that already includes the Western World, National Open, Warrnambool Classic and Historical Big One. He dominated Thursday's opener and continued to be the class of the field with Saturday's performance. Schatz led all 40 laps methodically working lapped traffic on the action, packed quarter-mile dirt oval and never allowed second place finisher, Joey Saldana, a chance to close the gap.
According to Schatz, the ParkerStore crew, consisting of Tyler Swank, Brian Bloomfield and John Pate, was the difference.
"My crew made the right tire choice tonight, and it won us the race," said Schatz, who continues to hold third in the WoO standings. "We had a harder and bigger tire than anyone else, and when you do something different sometimes it bites you but it payed off tonight."
The victory continued a recent "hot steak" for Schatz, who has four WoO triumphs in 2004. "I've had trouble leading races this year. It seems like I can lead one lap and then it goes down the tubes. It's not the car, it's me, and I've been beating myself up mentally, but running up front last week really built up my confidence."
"My mom and dad are out here, and I want to thank them. They are such a big part of this team and proud supporters , and without them and a ParkerStores I wouldn't be able to do this."
Schatz and the ParkerStore crew will travel east to Nebraska for this weekend's 1/3-mile Short Track Nationals at Eagle Raceway in Eagle, NE on Friday and Saturday. The trip won't seem that far for Schatz and the crew following their big win in California.
"Every win is your favorite, because you're only as good as your last race, but being able to say the Gold Cup was my last win is going to be pretty cool this week," admitted Schatz. "It's nice to come out here and run for $25,0000 -- the money's nice, but I want that Gold Cup trophy. I've been missing some trophies this year, and it's awesome to get my name on the Gold Cup with Steve (Kinser), Sammy (Swindell), Dave Blaney, and all the other great races that have won here."