GOLDEN STATE REBOUND Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Eyes Return to Thunderbowl Raceway Following Tough Weekend at Silver Dollar Speedway INDIANAPOLIS (March 17, 2009) -- When victories are expected, anything but wins can be tough to ...
GOLDEN STATE REBOUND
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Eyes Return to Thunderbowl Raceway Following Tough Weekend at Silver Dollar Speedway
INDIANAPOLIS (March 17, 2009) -- When victories are expected, anything but wins can be tough to swallow. How a team bounces back from a tough night often shows the amount of resolve they have. This weekend three-time and defending World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz and the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) crew return to action at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. with plans of returning to the form that has led them to three victories in six Outlaw starts this season.
Fortunately for Schatz and Armor All team the number of tough nights have been far exceeded by the times he's put the TSR No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J in victory lane. After scoring two wins in early February at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., and an impressive victory on Feb. 26 in front of a more than 8,000 fans at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Schatz found himself out of contention for the first time this season. Last weekend's 10th and 13th place finishes in the 23rd annual Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif., may have slowed their juggernaut on the 2009 WoO campaign, but as they say there's plenty of racing still to come.
The Fargo, N.D. native admits that winning the races is the key variable to having a successful season, but also knows that limiting the amount of time a team struggles is also very important. So his thoughts have turned to scoring his 92nd career WoO triumph and the focus has turned towards being very competitive this weekend.
Schatz scored his last California victory at the high-banked 1/3-mile dirt oval when he captured the Dave Helm Memorial race in October 2007. The 1997 Kevin Gobrecht WoO Rookie of the Year led all 35 laps of that event to score his second career triumph at the facility. His first win came in October 2005 when he fought off a strong challenge from Sammy Swindell to capture the victory. Schatz has five top-fives and seven top-10 finishes in 10 career starts at the track.
After six of 84 scheduled nights of WoO racing complete, Schatz has three victories and a pair of top-10s. He continues to lead the WoO Sprint Series Championship standings with 851 points.
On Friday and Saturday at Thunderbowl Raceway, the pit gates will be open all day, while the grandstands gates will open at 5 p.m. PDT. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For more details, contact Thunderbowl Raceway at (559) 688-0909, or visit the track's official Web site, www.thunderbowlraceway.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:
After winning three of the first four WoO races in 2009 your expectations for the first run through California were probably pretty high. Things didn't go as planned in Chico, so how do you bounce back this weekend in Tulare?
"The next race is the one that matters. We've lived by that philosophy for quite some time. Whether you win your last one or run 13th, the one ahead of you is the one you need to be concentrating on. For the past year or so, California hasn't been all that great for us as far as results go, but that can all change this weekend.
"Last weekend, we had some things not go our way and it ended up being an uphill climb for the better part of two nights. On Friday night, we were fortunate to make the heat inversion and draw a good starting spot in the dash, but we had a problem early in the feature race and I had to come from the back. The second night we just missed it in qualifying, and I couldn't quite get to second in our heat race. Everything happens for a reason, so now we'll focus on getting the Armor All car with Chevy power faster this weekend."
You mentioned qualifying as being important. With 54 cars at Chico, things were pretty close in qualifying. Do you expect it to be the same this weekend at Tulare?
"I'm sure they'll have a full field of cars again up there, so yeah, we'll need to be fast right from the start. We pride ourselves on trying to win everything we can. We want to be the fastest car in hot laps. We want to set fast time. We want to win heat races and dash events. My g uys (Rick Warner, Shane Bowers and Keith Turney) do a great job of giving me a good car every time I hit the track.
"Experience is the key. We've been to Tulare several times and have had mixed results. I set a track record there in 2005 and also struggled to make the race there last fall. The biggest thing is to concentrate on what the track is doing. It's March and the tracks tend to be a little wetter, so you have put yourself in the right spot. We're the kind of team that tries to have the best car at the end of the race, so sometimes we have to work a little harder behind the wheel earlier in the night."
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.