POWERING TO THE FINISH LINE Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Keeps Winning as Outlaws Race to Eldora, Lebanon Valley INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 18 2008) -- The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series season tests its racers...
POWERING TO THE FINISH LINE
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Keeps Winning as Outlaws Race to Eldora, Lebanon Valley
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 18 2008) -- The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series season tests its racers in every imaginable way during the 10-month journey that begins near Daytona in February and concludes near Charlotte in November. With so much in-between, it's easy to see why experience usually prevails and why Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Donny Schatz continues to set the standard. Friday night, the two-time defending WoO champion will try to raise the bar by winning his second feature of the season at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, where the Outlaws kick off the American Revolution Weekend presented by Chevy.
Schatz is one of seven Outlaw racers to have won over the last nine WoO events at the famed high-banked half-mile with its intimidating concrete wall. In the last two seasons, only Schatz and Joey Saldana have been able to score more than one win at the track. Schatz claimed the 2007 Kings Royal and drove the TSR No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J to victory at the "Big E" on May 31. He has 66 career WoO starts at the track and has 16 consecutive top-10 finishes in WoO action. That streak was in jeopardy during last year's American Revolution Weekend event. Schatz started on the pole and led the first 10 laps before shredding a right-rear tire. He rejoined the field with fresh rubber and charged from 18th to finish seventh.
Sunday will see Schatz and his fellow Outlaw competitors back in action at Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. The night will include only hot laps and the 25-lap "A" feature for the WoO drivers. Originally scheduled for July 20, the event was able to complete only qualifying, three heat races and the Crane Cams Dash before heavy rain fell, forcing officials to postpone the conclusion of the event. Schatz was the fastest qualifier in the field, finished third in the first heat race, and charged from seventh to third in the dash. He'll start inside the second row in the feature. The Fargo, N.D., resident has two career WoO wins at the track, the first coming on May 28, 2001, and the second on July 23, 2006.
The 12-year WoO veteran once again led the way as the Outlaws returned from California with stops in Iowa and Missouri last week. Schatz raced past his TSR teammate Kraig Kinser late in Wednesday's feature at Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer, Iowa. It was the second year in a row that he won at CCFS and third consecutive season that he's won the first race following the annual Gold Cup Race of Champions in California. Sunday night at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., he started fifth and dropped back to eighth before charging his way to back to finish second for the 15th time in 2008.
With only 13 races remaining in the 2008 WoO campaign, Schatz continues to lead the season point standings with 7,474 points, 108 ahead of Jason Meyers. Schatz has 39 top-fives and has finished inside the top-10 in 50 of the 53 events this year.
For Friday's opener of the American Revolution Weekend presented by Chevy at Eldora Speedway, pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT with the grandstands opening at 3 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For tickets or more information, visit www.eldoraspeedway.com.
On Sunday, the pit gates at Lebanon Valley Speedway will open at 2 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For race tickets, contact Lebanon Valley Speedway at (417) 282-5984. The official Web site of Lebanon Valley Speedway is www.lebanonvalley.com.
Race fans unable to attend this Friday's portion of the American Revolution Weekend presented by Chevy can catch all of the action from Eldora Speedway, and Sunday's feature event at Lebanon Valley Speedway 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 consistency all season has been remarkable. The same could be said for your recent results at Eldora Speedway. What's been the key?
"Consistency comes from teamwork and having everyone on the same page. This series is so tough and you have to always be on your game. We've had a very consistent season and if it wasn't for a couple of problems out West, we could consider it a really good season. Experience plays a big factor in being to able to work your way toward success and then staying there.
"Being on the road with the Outlaws is a tough deal, and so is racing at Eldora. They've changed the track around a little the last few years.
"Last year, we thought we had a really good handle on it, but it seemed to change, so we had to start over this year. We've had some good nights and ones where we know we have to get better. Hopefully on Friday, we'll be right up front battling for a win."
Friday's race is sponsored by Chevy, which also sponsors the No. 15 car you drive. What would it mean to win the event with a number of Chevy people in attendance?
"I want to win every race I start. Winning at Eldora is something special and something very hard to do. It's great that Chevy is involved with both the Outlaw show and the USAC 4-Crown Nationals. With all of the TSR teams competing there, we've got a great shot to get everyone from Chevy really excited. Everyone has a tough schedule, but it'll be nice spending time with them, and then hopefully sharing some smiles together in victory lane. It's a big track where horsepower is key, and we know that with the Chevy power behind us, we'll be fast."
Sunday night's race is the completion of a program you started in July. Will it be hard to just have a feature event to compete in?
"In a way, it'll kind of be like the Knoxville Nationals and the Gold Cup, where you just hot lap and then race the feature. I would have liked to have raced the feature back in July because the Armor All guys (Rick Warner, Shane Bowers, and Kyle Sundby) had the car really fast. I kind of came through the dash really fast and was, like, 'wow, this is gonna be good.' Mother Nature had other ideas, so we'll just look at our notes and hope the track is in a similar condition and give it our best shot."
For complete Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series results, log on to www.worldofoutlaws.com. For information regarding TSR, Schatz, Armor All, Chevy, or ParkerStore, log on to www.tonystewartracing.com, www.donnyschatz.com, www.aa-ownercenter.com, www.chevrolet.com, or www.parkerstore.com.