Donny Schatz Wins National Open MECHANICSBURG, PA - For the past month, Donny Schatz has been in a class of his in own in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series. Saturday night's 42nd National Open at Williams Grove Speedway proved to be more of ...
Donny Schatz Wins National Open
MECHANICSBURG, PA - For the past month, Donny Schatz has been in a class of his in own in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series. Saturday night's 42nd National Open at Williams Grove Speedway proved to be more of the same as Schatz raced his #15 ParkerStore J&J with Shaver power to a dominant victory and collected the $30,000 prize.
"It's great to run good out here, because this is an awesome place to race, and when you win here against the competition they have you really feel like you've accomplished something," said Schatz following his seventh victory in his last 10 starts. "This car was just awesome all night long - it's a new car and Jack Elam and the guys at J&J have done their homework and I just hope we can get a bunch more like it and keep it going. It's getting pretty late in the year to do anything in the points, but we'd like to keep winning races. "
Schatz, who won the 2000 National Open, came into the event on a roll claiming the $25,000 Gold Cup of Champions before sweeping the One-Third Mile Nationals. The ParkerStore team started the final Pennsylvania swing on a winning note as Schatz won the World of Outlaws feature event at Port Royal Speedway on Wednesday night.
Schatz made a thrilling run in Friday's National Open preliminary feature program though he was battling a throttle linkage problem. Even with the problem, the 27 year-old Fargo, ND racer made a late surge and tried to pass eventual winner Mark Smith coming to checkered flag in 25-lap preliminary feature. Smith and Pennsylvania's Fred Rahmer nosed out Schatz at the line and he was credited with a third place finish that locked him into Saturday's program.
Mother Nature delayed Saturday's program with an early evening thunderstorm during qualifications, but Schatz and the ParkerStore team kept close tabs on a very fast half-mile dirt track. After a hot-lap session, Schatz raced in the five-lap dash, which set the lineup for the first four rows of the 40-lap finale.
Schatz came home fourth in the dash and started the feature race, which began just after 2:15 a.m., in the second row. He quickly followed early leader Mark Smith and Steve Kinser at the drop of the green flag, but within a couple of laps, he was putting a slide job on Kinser for second and began reeling in Smith. On lap four, he made the same kind of slide job on Smith coming out of turn two to take the lead that he would never relinguish.
"It's always fun to do those slide jobs like we were doing at the start of the race. When you pass Steve Kinser you know you're doing something good, and then we got by the Zemco car, and tried to not make any mistakes. "
Once in front, Schatz raced away from the field weaving through traffic. The competitors trying to catch the ParkerStore sprinter couldn't close the gap and the only thing to slow Schatz down was a caution with seven laps remaining. Steve Kinser had moved into second, but couldn't mount a charge after the green flag flew again. Schatz had a straightaway advantage and made his second National Open crown look easy.
"Normally my guys are telling me to get my butt in gear under the cautions, but this time they gave me an okay signal, so I figured we were pretty good," continued Schatz, who still holds third place in the WoO standings. "It can get to be a handful out there when the fuel load goes out of the car late in the race. I had a couple of hairy moments out there - when you're running the cushion like that, it just wants to pull you over into the wall, but it's my job to keep it out of the wall. For the most part, though, it was a pretty clean drive."
Crew Chief Tyler Swank and Schatz made all the right choices on the ParkerStore sprinter, and Swank made the correct choice on the right rear tire compound for the 40-lap feature. The choice of a Hoosier 15 compound right rear proved to be a great call as the ParkerStore J&J was a rocket on this night. Schatz certainly didn't forget to show his appreciation for his guys.
"I have to thank this ParkerStores team. They're the ones that work their butts off," continued Schatz speaking of Swank, Crewman Brian Bloomfield and John Pate. "I have the fun job, and they deserve to be standing here just as much as I do. My mom and dad are the ones that make all the sacrifices so that I can go out and do this, and I want to thank them as well, and all the fans for coming out and watching us race."
The ParkerStore team will travel to Indiana and continue the World of Outlaws Sprint Series schedule on Friday night at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, IN before returning to Tri-City Speedway near St. Louis on Saturday night.
Keep up with all the latest news and information on Donny Schatz by logging onto www.donnyschatz.com and www.parker.com/racing.