KANSAS BOUNTY Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Looks to Fight Off Outlaw Challengers in Topeka Return INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 21, 2008) -- Two-time-defending Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz ...
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Looks to Fight Off Outlaw Challengers in Topeka Return
INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 21, 2008) -- Two-time-defending Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz has faced just about every challenge imaginable during the last 12 years. Saturday night will mark a first for the driver of the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J. In true Outlaw style, a $1,000 bounty has been put up for any driver who can beat Schatz in the "Thunder at the Heartland" feature at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.).
Schatz, a two-time winner at Heartland Park Topeka (HPT), enters the event on top of the standings with only three feature races remaining in 2008. Schatz leads the series with 16 "A" feature wins, but Mother Nature has been a close second in the headlines with 15 races being cancelled this year. Saturday's event was originally scheduled for Sept. 13 but was washed out by rain. In all, 26 nights of racing have been affected by weather.
The 31-year-old Fargo, N.D., resident continues to set the standard in Sprint Car racing's top series. Prior to last weekend's events in California, he dominated the previous two events. First, on Oct. 4, he led all 40 laps in the feature at Princeton (Minn.) Speedway. Then, he captured his first career "Clean Sweep" at Hollywood Hills Speedway in San Felipe, N.M., on Oct. 12. In that event, he was the fastest qualifier, won his heat race, the Crane Cams Dash, and led all 30 laps of the feature.
Following last weekend's pair of races in California, only one stop remains on the journey toward the season-ending Vault World Finals in Concord, N.C. Saturday's race at HPT will be the series' fourth "A" event at the 3/8-mile dirt oval. After hosting two WoO events on a temporary surface built on the HPT drag strip, the current track was constructed in 2001 and has since hosted three WoO events. Schatz won the first WoO race in 2001 and also won last fall, on Sept. 14, 2007. If he can win again Saturday, he'll collect an extra $500.
Schatz has a 97-point advantage on Jason Meyers in the season-long WoO championship point standings. His current total of 8,576 points has been built through consistency. Going along with those16 WoO wins are 43 top-five finishes and 55 top-10s in 60 WoO races this season.
For the event Saturday at Heartland Park Topeka, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. For race tickets and other event information, contact SLS Promotions at (815) 344-2023. The official Web site of Heartland Park Topeka is www.hpt.com.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend's event can catch all of the action from Heartland Park Topeka 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:
It's always good to race at a track where you've had success before. Do your previous wins at HPT give you added confidence heading into Saturday?
"It's nice going to track where you've won before, but that won't matter once we start racing. The guy who has the best car usually wins, and figuring out how to have the best car is the key. We've got detailed notes from what we did there in the past and hopefully we'll find ourselves in a similar situation where we can use that information. This sport is always changing, so you always have to try to stay on top of the changes.
"We've had a really good year and the TSR guys (Rick Warner, Shane Bowers, Kyle Sundby) have really worked hard. Our short track program has continued to improve and we're hoping to have another good night in Topeka."
The year is coming to an end in a few races and you are closing in on your third championship. What is it going to take to finish off the season the way you want to?
"Winning races is the only answer right now. I don't points race or worry about that stuff. I try to win every time I hit the track. I've always said that the guy who wins the most races usually has a pretty good shot at being the champion. Right now, we just need to concentrate on winning Saturday night's race. All the people at Armor All, Chevy, ParkerStore and the other TSR partners are interested in us winning races, too. The best way to end the season is on a three-race winning streak. The only way we can do that is by starting with a victory on Saturday."
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.