CHARGING DOWN THE STRETCH Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Looking To Maintain Momentum in Washington and Oregon INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 27, 2008) -- Late August on the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series is one the...
CHARGING DOWN THE STRETCH
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz Looking To Maintain Momentum in Washington and Oregon
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 27, 2008) -- Late August on the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series is one the best times of the year for Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) Donny Schatz. The two-time defending WoO champion claims the annual trek through Washington and Oregon typically ranks as one of the most fun times he has during the 10-month marathon season in which Sprint car racing's premiere drivers compete.
After barnstorming through his home state of North Dakota following his third Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals triumph, and then embarking on a trip from Montana to the oil-rich city of Edmonton, Schatz is excited for this weekend's return to Washington and Oregon, where he's spent many nights during the past 12 years he's been on the Outlaws tour.
Schatz will be in action on Friday and Saturday night, driving the TSR No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash. On Monday, he'll travel to Elma, Wash., and race at Grays Harbor Raceway Park (GHRP) before concluding the northwest tour with a stop at Cottage Grove (Ore.) Speedway on Tuesday night.
Friday's race at Skagit will be the sixth appearance for Schatz at the 3/10-mile dirt oval. It was all podium finishes for the Fargo, N.D., resident at the track in his first three races, including a victory on August 25, 2006. Last season, he scored finishes of ninth and 10th in the Skagit feature events.
Following the weekend festivities, Schatz and the Armor All team will travel south on Interstate 5 to compete in Elma, Wash., on Monday night. Schatz will be looking to pick up his second career victory in his 20th appearance at GHRP. His first win came in thrilling fashion on August 27, 2005, when he passed Steve Kinser on lap 37 of the 40-lap race in front of a record-breaking crowd. He charged from the ninth starting position to claim that victory, and last August, he charged from his 18th starting spot to finish sixth. The result was his fifth consecutive top-10 finish -- a streak that Schatz has built to 66 top-10 finishes in a row, including last weekend's results from Edmonton.
Tuesday's event at Cottage Grove Speedway will serve as the final stop for Schatz in the northwest this season. The track, formerly known as Riverside Speedway, has offered the best of both worlds for Schatz. On August 24, 1998, Schatz scored his first career WoO "A" feature win at the high-banked quarter-mile dirt oval. Four years later, he looked poised to pick up win number two at the track as he held a commanding lead when a camshaft broke and he was credited with a 23rd-place finish. In last year's event, Schatz put on a show for the capacity crowd. While battling for the lead on lap six, he went off the race track in turns one and two. He kept his machine running and rejoined the field on the backstretch in 14th position and spent the remaining 33 circuits moving forward. He got all the way back to second, but ended up just short of catching eventual winner Joey Saldana at the finish line.
Schatz enters this week coming off a second-place finish in the Oil City Cup finale at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton. It was his 14th runner-up finish of the season. He continues to lead the WoO season point standings with 6,480 points, 105 ahead of Jason Meyers. Schatz also leads the series with 12 "A" feature victories this season and is the only driver to finish in the top-10 in all 43 events contested this season.
Race fans unable to attend this week's events can catch all of the action from Skagit Speedway, Grays Harbor Raceway Park and Cottage Grove 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.
For both Friday and Saturday's events at Skagit Speedway, pit gates will open at 3 p.m. PDT and the grandstands will open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. The official track Web site is www.skagitspeedway.com. For ticket information, call (360) 724-3567 during weekday business hours.
On Monday, the pit gates at Grays Harbor Raceway Park will open at 2:30 p.m. PDT with the grandstands opening at 3:30 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For ticket information, visit the official track Web site at www.graysharborraceway.net.
For Tuesday's program at Cottage Grove Speedway, the pit gates will open at Noon PDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Time Trials are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For ticket information, call (541) 942-7561, or visit the official track Web site at www.cottagegrovespeedway.com.
Donny Schatz, driver of the No. 15 TSR/Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J:
You've always liked this part of the schedule. What is it about this time of the year that you like?
"Everything after the Knoxville Nationals is kind of downhill. The pressure cooker at Knoxville kind of peaks the season and then you head west and usually have a little more time to do some fun things. This year has been a little different with make-ups and rainouts, but this week is kind of getting back to the regular way. I really like Washington and Oregon. It's beautiful country and the racing is usually pretty good, too. When I had my motorhome on the road, I really enjoyed the windshield time out there. Places like Skagit, Elma and Cottage Grove do a great job hosting us and the fans come out to be part of the atmosphere, too.
"We're still focused on winning races, but the time out there seems to keep everyone excited about the next race."
Two more second-place finishes last week and an unbelievable run following a crash in Edmonton. You guys keep putting up good numbers, but not the results you are looking for?
"We're frustrated any time we don't win races. Billings last week was a deal where we got beat in traffic and never got a chance to get back in traffic once Joey (Saldana) got by me. Friday night, what can I say? When you race more than 80 times a year, things like that might happen. Paul (McMahan) got sideways and left us with no place to go.
"The Armor All crew (Rick Warner, Shane Bowers, and Kyle Sundby) and the guys from the Bass Pro Shop team jumped in and got me back out on the track. We made the most of a bad night and put ourselves in a good position for Saturday. We did everything we could on Saturday night. The track laid rubber and we still found a way to get beside the leader. I thought I had a chance at the win, but we came up short because of circumstances out of my control. We know we are close and we'll keep working hard. This week is a great opportunity for us to get the Armor All, Chevy, ParkerStore No. 15 back on the top of podium."
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.