END OF THE LINE Donny Schatz Looks to Take Final Outlaw Feature Race at Manzanita Speedway in Tony Stewart Racing's Armor All J&J INDIANAPOLIS (March 24, 2009) -- Making a statement has become the norm for Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Donny ...
END OF THE LINE
Donny Schatz Looks to Take Final Outlaw Feature Race at Manzanita Speedway in Tony Stewart Racing's Armor All J&J
INDIANAPOLIS (March 24, 2009) -- Making a statement has become the norm for Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Donny Schatz over the past three years in Sprint car racing's highest level of competition. The three-time and defending World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series champion regularly puts an exclamation point on things, illustrating he knows how to finish. This Saturday, Schatz will have another opportunity to make closing remarks when he turns his final laps at historic Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz.
Schatz, who will pilot TSR's No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J, first raced at the track in October 1996 and began his rookie season with the Outlaws at the track in January 1997. The historic half-mile was also the setting for his first signature WoO win.
As a 22 year-old, Schatz joined the prestigious list of Western World champions when he swept the two-night program in 1999. Those victories came over Mark Kinser, a driver who Schatz hoped to model his career after. The weekend sweep, his third and fourth career WoO wins, provided the young driver with the confidence that he could compete with the sport's elite.
Throughout his 12-year WoO career, Schatz has found ways to be the last one standing on several occasions. In 1999, 2004, 2006 and 2008, he was the winner of the Outlaws' final race of the season, and Saturday offers the Fargo, N.D., resident another opportunity to leave a lasting impression when Manzanita hosts its final WoO feature event.
He has started 20 races at the facility and his stats include 10 top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. In March 2007, Schatz added a third Manzanita triumph to his career win list, which now stands at 91 following his most recent win at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in February. Last March, Schatz led the first 16 laps of the 30-lap feature event before ultimately finishing second.
With eight nights of action completed this season, Schatz has three victories, four top-five finishes and five top-10s. He continues to lead the WoO Sprint Series Championship standings with 1,119 points.
On Saturday at Manzanita Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. MDT, while the grandstand gates will open at 5 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For more details, contact Manzanita Speedway at (602) 276-7575, or visit the track's official Web site, www.manzanitaspeedway.us.
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:
You've been racing at Manzanita since you started racing with the Outlaws. What memories do you have of the track?
"First off, it's tough news to hear that this will be our last race at Manzanita. The track will always be special to me. I was fortunate enough to join some of the legends of racing by winning the Western World in 1999. That was 10 years ago and maybe, at the time, I didn't quite understand how big of a deal it was. It was the first major race I won, and with it being one of the biggest races in Sprint car racing, I knew that I could win races that mattered.
"The track has so much tradition and it's pretty unique -- from where it's located seemingly out in the middle of nowhere, to the high speeds we reach there, to the caliber of drivers who have raced there. I've been fortunate enough to race at a lot of tracks, competing with the World of Outlaws during the past 12 years, and Manzanita will always be one of my favorites. I love going fast and you have to be able and willing to push it to the limit at Manzy. It's one of those tracks that separate the men from the boys. I'm going to miss racing there. Hopefully, we can go out with a bang and win the last race."
The California Swing didn't go as planned. Are you looking forward to returning to a larger track like Manzanita?
"Absolutely. For some reason, I haven't had the kind of success at those California tracks the past two years. I guess we'll take the fourth-place finish we got last Saturday and move on. This team has been really strong at the big tracks the last few years. We won at Las Vegas last month and started the year with a couple of wins at Florida, and those were all half-mile tracks.
"It's a total team effort and the Armor All crew (Rick Warner, Shane Bowers and Keith Turney) continue to do everything they can to give me a fast racecar each night. We have a week off after Saturday's race and I know it would be a good momentum boost to return to victory lane this week. It's a long season, but winning builds a lot of confidence in everyone."
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.