Donny Schatz Receives 2008 Dakota Award Tony Stewart Racing Driver Receives Prestigious Honor for Second Time From North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association FARGO, N.D. (June 26, 2008) - For Advance Auto...
Donny Schatz Receives 2008 Dakota Award
Tony Stewart Racing Driver Receives Prestigious Honor for Second Time From North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association
FARGO, N.D. (June 26, 2008) - For Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series star Donny Schatz, the focus is always on his next race. Having raced close to 100 nights a year on two continents for the past 10 years, his time to look back is limited. The competitor in him simply won't let anything he's accomplished distract him from what he next wants to achieve.
The people that surround the two-time defending WoO Sprint Series champion recognize that he's attained lofty status during his 15-year racing career that started when a then-15-year-old kid from Minot, N.D., simply had a dream. On Wednesday, Schatz was honored by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association as recipient of its 2008 Dakota Award, annually given to a North Dakotan excelling outside the state.
"This is a great honor and I'm happy I can represent my home state of North Dakota on a national level," said Schatz, who grew up in Minot and now lives in Fargo. "Like a lot of things that happened as a result of our efforts last year, this award is truly a family award. My parents had the North Dakota heritage embedded in them and they simply passed it along to me and my sisters. We worked together as a family to build a race team that could compete with the best in the world and ultimately came away with consecutive World of Outlaws championships."
The award marks the second time Schatz has been recognized by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. In 1998, he received the Dakota Award following his 1997 WoO Sprint Series Rookie of the Year campaign. Both times, he has received the award during the week he will compete with the Outlaws in North Dakota. Friday night, Schatz will race at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, then Saturday at Red River Valley Speedway.
The 10 years between awards has seen quite a change in the 1995 Minot High graduate. There have been many highs and lows along the Outlaw trail as he's matured from a rookie to winning back-to-back championships. His 2007 season made history as he became the first driver to win five of the most prestigious Sprint car races in the same season: the Knoxville Nationals, Kings Royal, Williams Grove National Open, Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup, and the Williams Grove Summer Nationals.
"Last year was a great year for all of us," Schatz said. "I've always believed that once you do something, the motivation to do it again is even greater. We won the Outlaw championship, Knoxville Nationals and Silver Cup in 2006 and were fortunate to be able to repeat all of those feats again last year and added a few more things."
The incredible season opened new avenues for the 30-year-old Schatz. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Tony Stewart offered him the chance to drive for Tony Stewart Racing in the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series this year, and he hasn't missed a beat. He has the No. 15 Armor All/ParkerStore/Chevy/J&J entry in first place as he returns home for this weekend's events.
"It's been a good transition for us," Schatz said. "One of the things Tony and his organization recognized is that we had built a great nucleus of people and they allowed us to keep everyone intact. We've enjoyed our new relationships with the people at Armor All and Chevy. I feel like those relationships will only continue to make us better as a team. Our goals are higher than ever and we're hoping to repeat a lot of the things we accomplished last year and hopefully reach new heights."
Schatz has raced 27 times thus far in 2008 and has earned 10 victories, with seven of those have coming in WoO Sprint Series action.
The latest focus is a third-consecutive WoO championship for Schatz, and his journey toward that goal continues with the pair of races in his home state this weekend. It won't be the last time North Dakota residents will have the opportunity to see the 2008 Dakota Award winner up close this season. Schatz and the Tony Stewart Racing team will return to North Dakota in August for races in Mandan and Minot.
To keep up with the latest news and information about Schatz, visit www.donnyschatz.com or www.tonystewartracing.com.
-credit: - TSR -