STEVE KINSER & DONNY SCHATZ Outlaws Campaign Picks up Steam with Stops in Pennsylvania, Virginia INDIANAPOLIS (May 12, 2010) -- There's nothing like playing a rivalry game to ratchet up the blood pressure. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Bears vs.
STEVE KINSER & DONNY SCHATZ
Outlaws Campaign Picks up Steam with Stops in Pennsylvania, Virginia
INDIANAPOLIS (May 12, 2010) -- There's nothing like playing a rivalry game to ratchet up the blood pressure. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Bears vs. Packers. Ohio State vs. Michigan. World of Outlaws vs. the Pennsylvania Posse. It's winner-take-all and, for the fans, it's bragging rights. As if the rigors of racing with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series weren't enough, the premiere Sprint car racers in the world head into unfriendly waters this weekend, making their first stop at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa., which boasts some of the toughest regional competition the Outlaws annually face. Tony Stewart Racing's Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz lead the Outlaw stars poised to regain supremacy after watching members of the Posse claim victory in all four stops at the legendary half-mile dirt oval in 2009.
If any Outlaw team is up for the challenge, the TSR tandem of Kinser and Schatz certainly seem to fit the mold. Both Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion and driver of the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/JD Byrider Maxim, and Schatz, the four-time and reigning WoO champion and pilot of the TSR No. 15 Armor All/STP/ParkerStore J&J, have enjoyed enormous success at "The Grove" throughout their careers. Kinser has won 37 times in Outlaw competition at the track, winning most recently in May 2008. Schatz, a 15-time WoO winner at Williams Grove, earned his most recent triumph at the track in July 2008. Kinser enters the two-night event, which begins Thursday, on top of the 2010 WoO championship standings following consecutive top-five runs last week at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway, while Schatz maintained his fourth position in the standings by coming home fifth last Saturday night.
It certainly has never been easy for Kinser to win at Williams Grove but, at times, he's made it look that way. The 55-year-old first raced at the famed oval in the summer of 1979. Two years later, he scored his first win at the track in May 1981, and followed that with another Outlaw vtriumph in June. The Bloomington, Ind., native put together his first three-race win streak at the track between August 1983 and May 1984. He won four straight in the summer of 1987, and in August 1990 began a six-race winning streak that included his first of four Williams Grove National Open triumphs. WoO victories continued throughout the 1990s for Kinser, and he scored his fourth National Open win in the fall of 2003. With the SPEED cameras rolling in May 2008, Kinser led the final eight laps to capture his 38th career victory at the track.
In the last decade, Schatz has learned to love racing at Williams Grove Speedway. After struggling mightily at the facility during his first two seasons on the road with the Outlaws in 1997 and 1998, the Fargo, N.D., racer figured something out. In 1999, he scored five top-10 finishes in six starts and, the following October, he broke through by winning not only his first feature at the track, but also his first National Open. That win was a springboard for more success as he won the next three times he raced there. Two years later, he built another three-race winning streak, winning his first Summer Nationals title in the process. In October 2004, he won his second National Open and repeated the feat the next fall. During the 2007 season, nobody was better than Schatz, and he won five of the six races, including his fourth National Open to tie Kinser for the most wins in that event. Those victories are part of his current streak of 15 consecutive top-eight finishes. He stormed from 17th to finish second to Kinser in May 2008. Two months later, he won his third Summer Nationals crown, his most recent victory at the track. Last year, he charged from 23rd to fifth in May, raced from 22nd to sixth in the Summer Nationals, and finished second in the National Open.
Following Thursday and Friday night's races in Pennsylvania, the traveling Outlaws teams will continue their 2010 campaign at Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica. Saturday's event will be the third consecutive season the WoO stars will compete on the half-mile clay oval. In both previous starts, Schatz has finished seventh while Kinser came home 11th in 2008 and ninth last May.
Kinser leads the series standings heading into the week of action by three markers over Jason Meyers. Kinser is on top of the standings for the second time this season. Earlier in the year, he took the lead from Schatz, who currently ranks fourth in the standings, 87 points out of first.
On Thursday and Friday at Williams Grove Speedway, the pit gates will open at 3:30 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 5:45 p.m. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m. For more details, contact Williams Grove Speedway at (717) 697-5000. The official Web site of Williams Grove Speedway is www.williamsgrove.com.
Saturday at Virginia Motor Speedway, the pit gates will open at 3 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For more details and ticket information, visit www.vamotorspeedway.com.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend's races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, "Voice of the Outlaws," calls the action as he does at all WoO Sprint Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.
Steve Kinser, Driver of the No. 11 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/J.D. Byrider Maxim:
Consistency has enabled you to return to the top spot in the championship standings. What's been the key to your strong start?
"We knew heading into this season that we could have better results than we had the past couple of years. Having a good start was important. We took a car that we thought would work well to Florida and it did. We tried another one for a few races and it performed well, too. We've only had one bad night and that was at Houston. We really just couldn't move forward, but just about every other night we have. I'd feel a lot better sitting here with four or five wins, but I guess having two is okay. The guys we're running up front with may have a couple more wins, but we've been right there just about every night.
"We don't get too worried about the points deal per se, but you do want to be up there once the first of June rolls around. By then, you usually have a good idea who is going to be fighting it out. Right now, we are where we need to be, and if we can put together three really good weeks, then I think we can stay right in the mix."
This weekend the schedule points you to Pennsylvania and that means racing against "The Posse" at Williams Grove Speedway. What has the rivalry been like for you during your career?
"Anyone who knows me knows that I'm competitive at everything I do. We race to win and, no matter where we go, we want to win. It just so happens that central Pennsylvania is a sort of hotbed for Sprint car racing, kind of like a lot of places used to be. We had some really good racing going on in Indiana when I was just starting out. I know the Memphis area was really strong for a while, but the Pennsylvania guys have really stayed strong all along.
"Williams Grove isn't your typical track. The local guys race there every week and maybe that gives them a little bit of an edge. We understand they like to protect their turf but, at the same time, it's important for us to go in and win some races, too. Last year, I don't think any of the Outlaw teams had a whole lot of success. I think it started with qualifying, and those guys are tough when you have to chase them down. Our races have been really competitive this year, so I hope we can go out there and win a couple of races."
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J:
The results you've posted at Williams Grove the past 10 seasons have been pretty impressive. With that success, you've become one of the guys the fans root against. What are your thoughts on that?
"I don't have a problem with that. I don't think anyone wants to be booed, but it does show that people notice what you are doing. When I first started with the Outlaws, I'm not sure too many people out there got really worried about the 15 car. Fortunately, that's changed and we've been able to win a lot of races at the track. There is some motivation to go out there and keep winning. Fans come to see a good race, and our goal is to do everything we can to race to the front.
"Williams Grove has been a place where we've been able to charge from the back of the field, and I know the fans out there appreciate seeing guys race through the field. I've had a couple of guys from Pennsylvania working on my car the past few years, and it's fun for them to be able to go back to where they are from and have success in front of their friends and families."
The season started with you winning the first night. But, since that win, the season has been anything but normal for you and your team. What are your thoughts on the first quarter of the season?
"Well, things haven't gone as planned, but we're still working together to improve. This Armor All team (crew chief Rick Warner, crewmen Shane Bowers and Steve Swenson) has been through a lot and some things have just happened that were out of our control. I'm a firm believer that you create your own luck, so we're going to keep working hard and do all the little things the best we can. If anything, some of the things that we've had to go through will only make us stronger.
"Everything adds up. Last weekend, we had a really good night going Friday, but it didn't end that way. We were right there for a podium finish, but my tire blew with a few laps to go. The rain was all around us, and it just so happened to hit a few minutes too late for us. You can't worry about it too long. We got together after the race and tried to figure out how to be better on Saturday. We learned a lot last weekend.
"Maybe we'll look at this week as the start of the second quarter, and we can duplicate our start to the first quarter. Williams Grove has been a good place for us to race the past few years. That doesn't guarantee us anything this week, but we'd sure like to start another streak of wins there. First things first, though. We have to start by putting a good qualifying lap on the board and then take it one step at time after that."