A KING'S RANSOM Newly Crowned Kings Royal Champ Donny Schatz Looks To Capture More High-Paying Outlaw Wins for Tony Stewart Racing INDIANAPOLIS (July 21, 2009) -- Always keep them thinking. If the competition is worrying about who to beat more...
A KING'S RANSOM
Newly Crowned Kings Royal Champ Donny Schatz Looks To Capture More High-Paying Outlaw Wins for Tony Stewart Racing
INDIANAPOLIS (July 21, 2009) -- Always keep them thinking. If the competition is worrying about who to beat more than how to win, the path to victory lane becomes a little more distinguishable. As the three-time and defending World of Outlaws (WoO) champion, Donny Schatz regularly gets the attention of his peers as they circle the country competing on the dirt tracks of America. If the results of the last three seasons weren't enough to distract the other Outlaws, Saturday's Kings Royal victory for Schatz in the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J likely will serve as a refresher. The scary part might be that the upcoming schedule includes stops where Schatz has been very successful in the past.
This week, Schatz, his TSR teammate Kraig Kinser, and the rest of the Outlaws will hit the dirt four times. It all begins with Tuesday's Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. On Friday and Saturday, the Summer Nationals take place at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. The week of racing concludes Sunday night with an event at Lebanon (N.Y.) Valley Speedway.
Schatz enters Tuesday's Silver Cup loaded with confidence and a pocket full of money after taking $50,000 out of Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway on Saturday night. He's taken quite a bit of money out of Lernerville in years past, as well. He scored consecutive Silver Cup victories in 2006 and 2007, earning $30,000 for each win. Last year, he came up one spot short in his bid to bring home the $40,000 top prize. This year, the event will follow a different format, offering a pair of 30-lap features instead of the traditional 40-lap race. Each race will pay $15,000 to the winner. Schatz has three career wins at the 4/10-mile dirt track in 25 career starts.
For a number of years, Williams Grove has been a great place for Schatz to race. He's won at least one Outlaw feature at the track in seven of the last nine years. In 2007, he won five of six WoO feature races, including two during the Cleveland Brothers Summer Nationals weekend. Friday's appearance at the track will be his 74th WoO race on the historic half-mile dirt oval. He has 13 career wins at the facility and charged from his 23rd starting position to finish fifth in May.
On Sunday, Schatz will go after his third career win at Lebanon Valley. He was victorious in May 2001 and July 2006. Last September, he relinquished a top-five finish on the final lap when his right-rear tire went flat and he ended up 13th.
Schatz and the Armor All team are nearing the season's midway point as they have completed 39 of the Outlaws' scheduled 84 nights of racing for 2009. The results include 10 victories, 24 top-five finishes and 29 top-10s. Schatz continues to lead the WoO Sprint Series championship standings with 5,348 points.
Tuesday at Lernerville, the pit gates open at 4 p.m. EDT, and the grandstands open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the race can be purchased by calling Lernerville Speedway at (724)-353-1511. For more information on the event, visit www.lernerville.com.
Friday and Saturday at Williams Grove, the pit gates open at 4 p.m. EDT, and the grandstands open at 5:45 p.m. Time trials are scheduled to begin at 7:45 each night. Tickets for the race can be purchased by calling Williams Grove Speedway at (717) 697-5000. For more information on the event, visit www.williamsgrove.com.
Sunday at Lebanon Valley, the pit gates open at 2 p.m. EDT, and the grandstands open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Tickets for the race can be purchased by visiting www.lebanonvalley.com.
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 kicked off the "Month of Money" in fine style Saturday night by taking home your second Kings Royal and the $50,000 first prize. The Don Martin Memorial is up next, and you won the event in 2006 and 2007 and finished second last year. Do you like the fact that this year's format for the race is going to be a little different?
"I honestly enjoyed racing 40 laps for $40,000 last year, but I understand what the track is doing. They are giving the fans a unique opportunity to see two races instead of one. A driver could potentially take home $30,000 if he can win both and that would be the kind of show the fans would like to see.
"Lernerville does a great job of having a racing surface that we can compete on. The Silver Cup has always been one of my favorite races. It's a great time of the year and you can feel the energy. Two years ago, we won the Kings Royal and came to Lernerville and got the Silver Cup, too. I hope we can repeat that and head to Williams Grove on a nice winning streak."
The World of Outlaws race on a number of unique tracks every year, and Williams Grove Speedway would certainly be classified as unique. You've been tough to beat there the last few years. What makes it a special place to you?
"There are a lot of really neat places that we get to race. I've been going to Williams Grove since my rookie year (1997) and I didn't qualify for quite a few shows early on. I won my first race there in 2000 and started to get an idea of how to drive there. Ever since then, I've just tried to get better every time. We have such a good package of Chevy horsepower matched with our J&J racecars. It really works for me, there. It's so much fun racing, there. The biggest problem we've had the past couple of years at Williams Grove has been the rain. Hopefully, that's not the case this week."
As a veteran of more than 13 seasons on the road with the Outlaws, you know how to handle these stretches where you are racing just about every night, or every other night. What would you say is the key to not only surviving this stretch of the schedule, but also succeeding?
"The biggest thing is keeping yourself focused on the task at hand. Each night is the most important one and you can't do anything but concentrate on doing your best that night. I've spent a lot of years on the road and thought I had it figured out many times, and then found myself back to square one.
"During the past five years, we've really focused on being our best during this time of the year. That starts back in December and January with preparation by the guys back at the TSR shop. Everyone knows the schedule and the only way to figure it out is to go through it year after and year and find something that works for you.
"This is the time of the year where you can really make a season, and that's what we hope to do. Winning the Kings Royal was a great start to this run of races and, hopefully, we'll be able to add to that one and keep on going."
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.