Schatz looks to add another big money payday to his 2002 totals. FARGO, ND (SEPTEMBER 25) - There's no question that Donny Schatz steps it up when the big money is on the line. This season he won the $100,000 Historical Big One, took home...
Schatz looks to add another big money payday to his 2002 totals.
FARGO, ND (SEPTEMBER 25) - There's no question that Donny Schatz steps it up when the big money is on the line. This season he won the $100,000 Historical Big One, took home $62,500 for his second place finish in the Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals, finished fourth in the $50,000-to-win King's Royal and claimed the $20,000 finale at Red River Valley Speedway in Fargo. With $30,000 on the line for Saturday night's winner of the 40th annual Williams Grove National Open sponsored by Cleveland Brothers, there's no question Schatz will be poised to make another good run in his #15 ParkerStores J&J.
"We seem to have our best showings when the money is on the line," said Schatz. "It's somewhat frustrating because we started the season with the goal of challenging for the World of Outlaws title, but just haven't had the consistency to make that happen. We did get our act together during the "Month of Money" and money is what helps keep us racing. I'd really like to get another National Open under my belt. I used to really hate going to 'The Grove', but I really love it now."
Schatz has had a roller coaster 2002 season, but still has collected five wins (three WoO wins) and is on pace to earn a career high this season. Last weekend not only was he behind the wheel of the ParkerStore sprinter, he also added setup duties on the car as the team and former crew chief Kenny Woodruff parted ways after two terrific seasons of working together. The 25 year-old held his own in his first three nights carrying more responsibility finishing fourth and second twice in Nebraska.
"There's a lot more pressure on me now, but I think in the long run it will help," continued Schatz, who won the 2000 National Open and finished third in last year's event. "I always thought it was impressive that Sammy Swindell could do it all. My dad has challenged me to finish the season strong and I'm just going to do the best I can. It felt good to run up front last weekend and we're heading to Pennsylvania with some confidence."
The ParkerStore team currently ranks seventh in the WoO standings and has 30 top five and 52 top ten finishes in 84 starts. They have 16 nights of action remaining in the 2002 season and a strong showing in the National Open could really help the team finish on strong note.
"For the past few years, we've ran well at the National Open and the following weekend in Charlotte, but after that have been pretty terrible," concluded Schatz. "We'd like to do well in Pennsylvania first and then keep it rolling during the final weeks of the season. Our big deal is trying to qualify well, because we've been able to race strong all season. The tough part about coming from the back is that once you get to the top five you usually don't have anything for the guys in front of you. Hopefully this weekend, we'll start up front and stay up there."