SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Looks to Capture His Share in Sprint Car Racing's 'Month of Money' INDIANAPOLIS (July 15, 2008) -- Win, lose or draw, a competitor always looks forward to his next opportunity. Such...
SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Looks to Capture His Share in Sprint Car Racing's 'Month of Money'
INDIANAPOLIS (July 15, 2008) -- Win, lose or draw, a competitor always looks forward to his next opportunity. Such is the mindset of two-time defending Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz. Only minutes after his fourth-place finish in Sunday's 25th annual Kings Royal at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Schatz was already thinking about his next chance.
In the world of Sprint car racing, the opportunities to race when the stakes are two, three, four or five times the normal payout are very limited. Last season, Schatz won four of the five WoO races that paid $20,000 to win or more. This week, he'll look to repeat in two of the those events, beginning with the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup on Tuesday night at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., which pays $40,000 to the winner. Friday and Saturday night, he'll drive the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J with the goal of picking up his second consecutive Cleveland Brothers CAT Summer Nationals victory at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
Last week's $50,000-to-win Kings Royal kicked off the annual four-week stretch better know as the "Month of Money," which includes several regular nights of racing for $10,000, but also some higher-paying races sprinkled within. The drama continues Tuesday at Lernerville, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and where Schatz looks to join Mark Kinser as the only driver to win the race three years in a row.
Schatz has started 23 World of Outlaws feature events at the 4/10-mile dirt oval located in western Pennsylvania, including the past 10 Silver Cup feature. After winning a WoO feature at the track in May 2003, Schatz went winless there until claiming the Silver Cup in 2006. On that July night, the Fargo, N.D., resident began by picking up the quick time award and later racing past local hero Ed Lynch, Jr., for the lead with six laps remaining in the 40-lap race. In last season's Silver Cup race, Schatz charged past Craig Dollansky on lap nine and went on to win the non-stop 40-lap race that was completed in a little more than 10 minutes.
His 2007 victory led right into the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove, where he won the opening night feature and then led all 30 laps of the Summer Nationals finale two nights later. Schatz, who will be making his 71st start at the track Friday, also won the 2003 Summer Nationals finale and has 13 career wins at the uniquely shaped half-mile dirt oval. Schatz also won last year's National Open at the track, collecting the $50,000 first-place prize in September.
Following the Summer Nationals, Schatz and his Armor All team will return to New York for a single-night program Sunday at Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y., where Schatz has two career WoO "A" feature wins (May 28, 2001 and July 23, 2006).
Sunday night's 25th anniversary Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway was the 30th race in 2008 for the WoO competitors, and Schatz continues to lead the way in the driver standings with 4,318 points, 129 ahead of Jason Meyers. He also leads the series in total victories (10), top-fives (28), and he's the only driver to finish inside the top-10 in all 30 events.
Race fans unable to attend this week's events can catch all of the action from Lernerville, Williams Grove and 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.
On Tuesday at Lernerville, the pit gates will open at 4 p.m. EDT, with the grandstands opening at 5 p.m. Qualifying is set to begin at 6:45 p.m. For tickets or more information regarding the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup, visit www.lernerville.com.
For both nights of the Summer Nationals, the pit gates at Williams Grove Speedway will open at 4 p.m. EDT and the grandstand gates will open at 5:15 p.m. for advance ticket holders and 5:30 p.m. for all ticket holders. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m. each night. The official track Web site is www.williamsgrove.com. Tickets can be purchased by calling the track at 717-697-5000.
On Sunday at Lebanon Valley, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. EDT, with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For tickets or more information regarding Sunday's event, fans can visit www.lebanonvalley.com.
Donny Schatz, driver of the No. 15 TSR/Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J:
Last week's results were not what you hoped for. Does it help to be right back on the track so quickly at Lernerville?
"At the end of every night, you have to forget about it and start looking to the next one. We didn't win the Kings Royal, so having the Don Martin Silver Cup two days later at Lernerville keeps you from dwelling on anything too long. This is another big race and an excellent opportunity for us to put the Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J in victory lane.
"We've had some success at Lernerville in the last two Silver Cups, but that doesn't guarantee us anything this time. It's going to come down to getting qualified really well and then racing our way into the dash. The feature race is 40 laps and we'll try to be at our best during the final part of the race. Hopefully, we'll be in position to make a run at the victory."
Williams Grove Speedway has been a place where you have been extremely successful. What's been the key?
"Williams Grove is a place that is like no other. It took me a long time to figure it out, and once I did, things have gotten better and better. You have to have your car right and be able to keep your speed. We have a really good Chevy motor package and you need all the horsepower you can get there. The competition is really tough, so you've got to be on your game every time you get on the track."
These big races are part of a busy month of July. How do you keep focused each night?
"Every race is important, but some have a bigger impact as far as payout and prestige. We just try to be our best each time we got out on the track. From qualifying to the heat races and then to the feature, our goal is to keep getting the car better. Hopefully, that will carry over from one night to the next.
"These guys at Tony Stewart Racing are working really hard to give me a great car every night. They've got the experience to handle all the work, the travel and the nights where the payout is more than usual."
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.