ONE POSITION BETTER Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Seeks Fourth Outlaws Feature Win Following Consecutive Runner-up Finishes INDIANAPOLIS (April 14, 2009) -- Thirty-three times last year, World of Outlaws (WoO) champion Donny Schatz finished...
ONE POSITION BETTER
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Seeks Fourth Outlaws Feature Win Following Consecutive Runner-up Finishes
INDIANAPOLIS (April 14, 2009) -- Thirty-three times last year, World of Outlaws (WoO) champion Donny Schatz finished first or second. Those finishes occurred in 67 starts, giving him a nearly .500 average for finishing in the top-two. After finishing second on consecutive nights last weekend in Texas behind the wheel of the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J, Schatz is hovering around .500 once again when it comes to top-two finishes in the early part of the 2009 WoO season.
This weekend, the three-time and defending WoO champion looks to increase his victory total when he and TSR's Armor All crew make their first appearance of the season in the Midwest, contesting events at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway (PIR) on Friday night and at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., on Saturday.
If previous results are any indication, there is reason for optimism following Schatz's charge from 14th to second last Saturday at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas.
Friday's race at PIR will be only the fifth appearance by the Outlaws at the high-banked 3/8-mile dirt oval. Schatz's best finish there came in April 2007, when he charged from the 17th starting position to finish sixth. Last July, Schatz established a new PIR record in qualifying, circling the track in 13.107 seconds (102.998 mph). He'll be looking for PIR to become the 54th different track where he's scored a WoO feature event win during his 13-year WoO career.
I-55 Raceway is already on that list, thanks to a dominating performance three years ago at the high-banked 1/3-mile dirt oval located just south of St. Louis. He led all 40 laps of the feature event there in April 2006, and has made 20 other appearances at the track. He has posted top-five finishes in five of his last six starts.
After completing the WoO series' first races in Texas since 2007, 11 of the 84 scheduled nights of racing are in the books. Schatz has three victories, six top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He continues to lead the WoO Sprint Series Championship standings with 1,541 points.
On Friday, the pit gates at PIR will open at 1 p.m. CDT with the grandstands opening at 3 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For more details, contact PIR at (270) 898-7469. The official Web site of PIR is www.paducahinternationalraceway.com.
On Saturday, the pit gates and grandstands at I-55 Raceway will open at 2 p.m. CDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. For more details, call I-55 Raceway at (636) 479-3219. The official Web site of I-55 Raceway is www.i55raceway.com.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend's races can catch all of the action at 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:
The weekend in Texas was your first action following a weekend off. The finishes were consistent, but safe to say not what you were shooting for?
"Well, our goal is to win every race. To win a race, you've got to be in a position to win. On Friday night (at Lone Star Speedway), we weren't ever really in a position to win. On Saturday night, we had a chance but just came up a lap or two short. Both nights, we had to come from a little ways back, and with the competition out here, you can't give up that much track position.
"We're still trying to get things figured out. The more we race, the better things will continue to be. I know my guys (Ricky Warner and Shane Bowers) are working really hard. They continue to give me a car that gets better and better as the race goes on, so I'd say we're getting closer. We're all competitive and want to win every time out. When we don't, we have to talk about what we could have done better and make notes, so at the next race, we may be able to come away with a win."
Friday's race at Paducah is at one of the tracks on the schedule where you haven't raced that many times. Is it harder to compete at a track where your experience is limited?
"Not really. We race at tracks all across the country and I've been to places all across Australia, as well. It's about getting your car right for that particular track. The last couple of times we've raced there, we learned something. We were really good there last summer. I had a mechanical problem during the feature and, basically, just held on to finish eighth. Obviously, the more you go to a track, the more information and notes you can build. I'm sure we'll be ready to get back out there and try to do better than we have in the past."
The race at I-55 Raceway is always one of the most anticipated races for the fans. Do the drivers feel the same way?
"We race all the time and every race is something we look forward to. I can see why the fans like seeing us there. Ken Schrader and Ray Marlar do a great job with the track. Anytime you're on a tight, high-banked track, the action is going to be fast and furious. I've won races there. I've started on the front row and have been involved in first-lap crashes there, too. We were even four-wide coming out of two to start a feature there a couple of years back, so it's definitely an exciting place to race.
"The bottom line is still watching the track and keeping up with it all night. How abrasive is it? How deep is the cushion? Will it slick off? There is usually a top groove and bottom groove. Sometimes, even the middle comes. You have to have a good car at the end of the race. The ability to be able to move around and find different passing lanes is key. Traffic is going to come into play, for sure, and that's what we want. A good, 40-lap race with long green runs, where the leaders have to maneuver traffic. If we can have that, I like our chances of putting on a good show for Armor All, Chevy, ParkerStore and all the people associated with Tony Stewart Racing."
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.