GOLDEN REPEAT Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Chases Second Gold Cup Crown in Armor All Sprinter INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 8, 2009) -- Five years ago, Donny Schatz was a World of Outlaws (WoO) veteran capable of winning any night. The...
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Chases Second Gold Cup Crown in Armor All Sprinter
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 8, 2009) -- Five years ago, Donny Schatz was a World of Outlaws (WoO) veteran capable of winning any night. The North Dakota racer scored his first double-digit-win season with the Outlaws in 2003 and, in the fall of 2004, added the prestigious Gold Cup Race of Champions trophy to his collection. In the past five years, Schatz has added numerous trophies and three consecutive WoO titles. The one thing he hasn't added is another victory at Silver Dollar Speedway. This weekend, Schatz and the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 15 Armor All team get another chance to win on the quarter-mile "bullring" as they conclude this year's run of races on the West Coast.
The 2009 WoO campaign has been another banner season for Schatz behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J. This weekend's 56th annual Gold Cup Race of Champions ranks right up there on the team's goal list for the season, and the $50,000 payday would be a nice bonus, too. The Gold Cup format includes two nights of complete racing with the field of 100 cars divided on Thursday and Friday. Each program includes qualifying, heat races and a preliminary feature. Points will be awarded to the drivers following each night, and Saturday's event will be lined up by total points.
It was the 51st Gold Cup in September 2004 when Schatz had his career-best weekend at the track. He led all 30 laps of his preliminary feature and then led all 40 in the finale to pick up the popular victory. His fortunes at the track haven't been as good since that dominating weekend. In 2006, he crashed during the heat race of his preliminary night. In 2007, he had bad luck on his qualifying night again, but bounced back by charging from 16th to fifth in the finale. Last season, he raced from 10th to second in his preliminary feature before being caught up in an accident with a lapped car.
The good news for Schatz is that he has been able to back up his big wins in recent years. In 2005, he scored his first Kings Royal triumph at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway and, this July, he was able to do it again. After finishing second at the Knoxville Nationals four times in six years, Schatz has won the last four. Since that Gold Cup win in 2005, Schatz has won 17 races that paid $20,000 or more to win.
Schatz enters the Gold Cup with a dozen WoO triumphs, a Knoxville Nationals win and a pair of All-Star Circuit of Champions victories this season. In his most recent WoO races, he charged from 21st to finish sixth in Saturday night's WoO event at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash., and stormed from 20th to third on Tuesday night at Cottage Grove (Ore.) Speedway.
After completing 55 nights of racing with the Outlaws in 2009, Schatz and the TSR Armor All team continue to lead the season-long championship standings with 7,466 points. Their results include 12 victories, 35 top-five finishes and 44 top-10s.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Silver Dollar Speedway, the pit gates open at 2 p.m. PDT and grandstands open at 5 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tickets for each race can be purchased by calling Silver Dollar Speedway at (916) 969-7484. For more information on the event, visit www.silverdollarspeedway.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.
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J:
Your race teams seem to always perform at the biggest races. Any reason in particular you can attribute that to?
"I've got a pretty experienced team and they've been through a lot out here on the road. I've been racing for quite a few years and have experienced just about everything, myself. We try to look at every race as being just as important as the next. Obviously, that's not the case, but it's easy for a team to get too concerned about one night and it ends up messing you up for a couple of weeks or a month. We get on the track every time and try to do the best we can.
"We have been very fortunate to do well in the big races, but I think that is a reflection of the work the guys at Tony Stewart Racing do. Rick Warner, Shane Bowers and Eric Prutzman have really put in the time and effort so that we're ready for anything at the track. You have to be able to adjust to just about anything. We've worked with some great manufacturers over the years and have a really good program for just about any track. It's a total team effort from everybody associated with this group. We hope we can keep up our success rate this weekend."
The Gold Cup is one of the biggest races of the year, and one that brings out the best competition from California and the West Coast. What makes this race special to you?
"It's a big race and we always love the challenge when the going gets tough. Chico is a small track where anything can happen and winning there means you've done a lot. We always talk about going places where the local cars have a 'home-track advantage' and this is definitely one of them. It's fast. It's wet. There's traffic and the track will change. It's cool, because it's every aspect of racing. Pounding the cushion. Squeezing through lapped cars. Racing side-by-side. It's certainly a lot of fun for the fans and really tough on the drivers.
"When I won the Gold Cup back in 2004, we did everything right and it was pretty awesome to lead every lap. As a team, we knew we accomplished something special that weekend. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to put a weekend at Chico like that together, since. I'm not saying we need to go out and lead every lap, but we sure want to be in a position to win the race on Saturday night."
The Gold Cup brings the western swing to a close and turns the focus on the last dozen races. What would a win at the Gold Cup do for you and your team as you chase another WoO championship?
"I'd say it would be a really big thing for us. Since we haven't had a ton of success there the past four years, I'm sure we'd all be pretty pumped up heading to Spencer (Clay County Fairgrounds). We've won at Spencer the past two years after not having real great Gold Cups. If we can win the Gold Cup this weekend, it's safe to say that we'd really be feeling good about our chances the rest of the season."
For complete WoO Sprint Car Series results, go to www.worldofoutlaws.com. For information regarding TSR, Schatz, Armor All, Chevy, or ParkerStore, visit www.tonystewartracing.com, www.donnyschatz.com, www.aa-ownercenter.com, www.chevrolet.com, or www.parkerstore.com.