Williams Grove III: Donny Schatz preview

Schatz, Parkerstore Team aim for Second National Open Victory CARLISLE, PA -- Donny Schatz and the ParkerStore World of Outlaws Sprint Series team have a knack for being their best at the right time of the season. Schatz, who has an impressive...

Schatz, Parkerstore Team aim for Second National Open Victory

CARLISLE, PA -- Donny Schatz and the ParkerStore World of Outlaws Sprint Series team have a knack for being their best at the right time of the season. Schatz, who has an impressive list of accomplishments on his sprint car resume, just recently won the 51st annual Gold Cup Race of Champions in his #15 ParkerStore J&J with Shaver horsepower. This weekend, he's hoping to win his second National Open at Williams Grove Speedway.

"Everything has been going really well for us and we are excited for another big race," said Schatz, who won the 2000 National Open, which was his first career triumph at the legendary Central Pennsylvania half-mile dirt oval. "The team has really stepped up since we were in California and we've been right in the hunt every night. That's all a driver can ask for is to have a chance. Everyone knows this is the last big money race and the high-paying events really help keep your racing team going."

The 42nd annual National Open, regarded as the East's oldest and richest sprint car classic, will once again be sponsored by Cleveland Brothers and sanctioned by the World of Outlaws. The program includes two nights of racing and will culminate with Saturday's 40-lap finale paying $30,000 to the winner.

Schatz has faired well at Williams Grove Speedway the past four years winning three features in 2001, including two in one night, and three in 2003, including last year's National Open preliminary feature.

"Ever since I won the National Open in 2000, I've loved racing there," said Schatz, who has seven career Williams Grove wins. "I really struggled there for a long time until I figured out how to get around the track. I've got a lot of confidence and even though we haven't won a race there this year, I feel like if everything works out, we'll have a great chance Saturday night."

The ParkerStore team has been on a great run since winning the second preliminary feature event in the Harvest Classic at Calistoga Speedway on September 4th. Schatz dominated the Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, CA. He led all 30 laps of his preliminary feature program and all 40 laps to capture his first $25,000-to-win Gold Cup on September 11th. The following weekend he swept the One-Third Mile Short Track Nationals at Eagle Raceway in Eagle, NE.

The Fargo, ND racer, who recently had a career-best four race WoO winning streak, admits that better results in time trials has been the biggest reason for the late season success.

"The big deal has been qualifying," explained Schatz. "We've been able to hit the inversion just right so we starting closer to the front. I had to make a bonsai move in Chico during our preliminary night dash, and that's what you can do when you are confident. That move basically set-up entire weekend. We had to pass some guys at Eagle too, and when your program is going well good things seem to happen."

"Qualifying will again be a key this weekend, because the competition there is second to none. We put a new car together and raced it on Monday night. We set quick time and honestly, the car had a lot to do with it. We'll try to qualify the best we can and hope for a good inversion draw. It's going to be tough, but our plan is get locked in (finish in the top four) and be close to front with 10 laps to go Saturday night"

The ParkerStore team of Tyler Swank, Brian Bloomfield and John Pate continue to keep up with the rigorous World of Outlaws Sprint Series schedule that has taken them from Williams Grove in July to races in New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. In 24 nights of racing since then, the team has five wins, 14 top five and 18 top ten finishes.

"The racecar is working really good, the motor is really strong and our driver is on his "A" game," said Crew Chief Tyler Swank, "so I've got to make everything stays together. We've got a really good chance. We were strong here in May, but no so good in July. I'm not sure why, but with this being the last big money race I know we'll want to have our best showing of the year here this weekend."

Keep up with all the latest news and information regarding Donny Schatz and the ParkerStore team by logging onto www.donnyschatz.com and www.parker.com/racing.

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Donny Schatz
Teams Williams