CONSISTENCY COUNTS Two-Time World of Outlaws Champion Donny Schatz Looks To Continue Recent Success at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway INDIANAPOLIS (April 8, 2008) -- Beginning with his triumph in the 24th annual Kings Royal at Tony Stewart's ...
Two-Time World of Outlaws Champion Donny Schatz
Looks To Continue Recent Success at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway
INDIANAPOLIS (April 8, 2008) -- Beginning with his triumph in the 24th annual Kings Royal at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Donny Schatz was the class of the field during last season's biggest Sprint car events at the legendary track. This weekend marks the first of five events at the famed half-mile dirt oval for Schatz and the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series in 2008. On Friday and Saturday night, Schatz will pilot the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) No. 15 Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J looking to continue his recent success at the track.
The two-time defending WoO champion's dominant performance in the $50,000 Kings Royal victory last July launched the Fargo, N.D. native on an unprecedented sweep of the summer's highest-paying races. But the resolve he and his team showed during the Outlaws' final visit to the Eldora last September proved to be a vital part of their pursuit of a second consecutive WoO championship.
September's American Revolution Weekend presented by Chevrolet was the setting for Schatz' roller-coaster ride of emotions during the 30-lap feature event. He started the race on the pole and stormed out to a commanding lead within the first seven laps of the race. On the 10th circuit, disaster struck as his right-rear tire went flat, forcing him to give up the lead and rejoin the field in 21st position. Schatz spent the remaining 20 laps passing cars lap after lap, and he ultimately finished seventh to maintain a comfortable margin in the standings.
During his career, Schatz has competed in 62 WoO races at Eldora. Last season's results included a second-place finish in April, a charge from 17th to sixth in late May, a third-place run in the Night Before the Kings Royal event, the Kings Royal win and the charge to seventh in September that pushed his streak of consecutive top-10 finishes at the track to 12.
The 2008 WoO campaign has been slow to pick up steam thanks to Mother Nature. Schatz has only been on the track for five Outlaws races in the past two months while five other nights of racing have been washed out. Consistency continues to be the theme for Schatz and his TSR crew as they've finished in the top-eight in all five events, including three runner-up finishes.
Schatz enters the weekend holding the third position in the WoO series standings with 706 points. He trails leader Craig Dollansky by 37 points as the series schedule begins to gain momentum with five races scheduled in the next three weeks.
Donny Schatz, driver of the No. 15 TSR/Armor All/Chevy/ParkerStore J&J:
The past two seasons, you've been very strong at Eldora. What has been the key?
"It took me a long time to figure out Eldora, but we've got a really good combination going there. The biggest key on the fast race tracks is being able to get maximum power. Our program with Chevy has really been a big reason why we've been successful on the bigger tracks. When you can produce that amount of horsepower and be able to transfer it to the car and keep the wheels from spinning, then you can drive forward.
"I've also been able to get our car going through the middle really good at Eldora. Eldora will forever be known as the track where you've got to get up on the hill and pound the cushion. When everyone else is up there trying to knock the wall down, sometimes you've got to be able to go where everyone else can't. (TSR crew chief) Ricky (Warner) and the guys have given me a good car all year and we were really fast on the half-miles (Volusia and Manzanita) earlier this year. We're expecting that to continue this weekend."
It's the first of five events at Eldora Speedway this year. Will you be trying anything that will help you later on?
"With the level of competition there is in the Outlaws right now, you've got to be right-on every time you hit the track. We'll start the night just like we have the past couple of years we've raced at Eldora and continue trying to get the car better for the feature. The advantage of having a teammate is that we can learn from one another. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Carr) and the 20 team won here last year, too. So between the two of us, we have some data that should help us continue getting faster.
"The only race that matters right now is the next one at Eldora. We want more than anything to get everyone involved with Tony Stewart Racing -- Armor All, Chevy, and ParkerStore -- their first Outlaws victory of the year. If we're able to do it at Eldora, that would make it just that much sweeter."