Bell Outduels Larson For The Turkey Classic At Ventura

Christopher Bell

Thanksgiving is the day each year when we take a little extra time to realize how fortunate we are and to give thanks.

For those in attendance at Thursday’s “Turkey Night Grand Prix,” the realization quickly came to how thankful we are to have witnessed Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson duking it out against each other for 98 laps in USAC Midgets at Ventura Raceway.

The three official lead changes listed in the box score aren’t indicative of the back-and-forth battle these two titans waged with sliders being exchanged like currency on both ends of the racetrack!

On the 54th lap, Bell ultimately made the winning pass on Larson with a daring outside move on the front straightaway, but would have to endure the relentless persistence of Larson all the way down to turn one of the final lap when he stifled Larson’s slider before it even had time to develop.

Bell, of Norman, Oklahoma, joined the ranks of two-time “Turkey Night” winners just six days after wrapping up his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title at Homestead (Fla.) Speedway.  Though he and Larson have reached success in the NASCAR ranks in recent years, their home lies in the dirt tracks, just like old times when they were regulars on the USAC trail.

“Oh my god, it’s so much fun,” Bell exclaimed.  “I just told Kyle that if he would’ve beat me, I would’ve been, maybe not just as happy, but still happy because it was just that much fun.  That race was one of the most fun races I’ve run in a long time.”

Straight from the outset, polesitter Larson had the upper hand as inside second row starter Bell followed in his wake on the bottom.

As Larson ringed around the berm lining the bottom of the racing surface, Bell became the first in line to venture to the top on the 12th lap, using a big bite off turn four to pull to a dead-heat at the line alongside Larson before nudging into the lead by a sliver into the first turn.

Bell never wavered in his decision to go “high, wide, and handsome”, and it would pay off one lap later when he slipped by Larson off turn four to secure the lead.

“I could tell that the top was going to be good,” Bell theorized.  “Watching the sprint car feature, we saw that it got pretty good.  They tilled the bottom and I could tell it was going to be really good at the beginning.  Once it started going away, I tried the top and it was right there.”

On lap 40, Brayton Lynch got sideways in a shuffle for position at the exit of turn four.  Facing oncoming traffic, Chad Boat met front-bumper to front-bumper with Lynch, melding the noses of each car together as Boat attempted to peel away to no avail.  Courtney Crone and newly-crowned five-time USAC Light Up the World Beverages Western States Midget champ Ronnie Gardner were also involved, but would restart.

When racing resumed on lap 52, Larson went to the bottom and slid his teammate Bell to snare the lead.  One lap later, Bell returned the favor and slithered by Larson with just inches to spare as he tunneled between Larson’s right-side wheels and the front straightaway wall.  Larson attacked again into turn one with a slider, but the motion was denied, and Bell cleared away the Tryptophan after the wake-up call and sprinted back into the lead.

Following a lap 57 tangle between the two most recent USAC National Midget feature winners – Brady Bacon and series champion Spencer Bayston – Larson harassed Bell, putting it all on the line in the prestigious race in an attempt to become just the third driver to win the event three times.  On lap 66, Larson got on the bike, lifting the left side wheels as he ripped the edge of the turn three cushion in his tireless pursuit.

With three-quarters of the race in the rearview mirror, it was time to turn up the wick!  The bottom became just a distant memory as the two were now inside the barrel, riding the wave in turns three and four above the cushion.  On lap 80, Larson slid Bell into turn one momentarily.  Bell retaliated by crossing underneath Larson off the second turn to recapture the point.  In turn three, the second verse played out the same as the first as Larson slid to the lead and Bell, so Allen Iverson-esque, used a killer crossover to bolt back to the front.

“The majority of drivers understand you have to be good at the end of the race to win the race,” Bell said.  “At the beginning, you’re just cruising and making sure you make It to the end of the race.  That’s the biggest thing.  Kyle and I were both rolling around there about quarter-throttle at the beginning, trying to save our tires and kill some laps.  It worked out and we were racing our butts off at the end.”

Larson, the five-time NASCAR Monster Energy Cup winner, set up another Hail Mary that was denied as Bell wheelied away off the top of turn two to remain in front.  Tyler Courtney, the USAC West Coast/VRA Sprint Car feature winner earlier in the night, slowed to a stop in turn one to bring out the yellow and provide a breather for both the drivers and fans alike.

On the ensuing restart, Bell jetted away from Larson and, with ten to go, held a lead of over one second with a full nest of lappers resting in the distance.  Just prior to lapped traffic possibly becoming a factor with a mere four laps to go, Holly Shelton and Bacon performed a synchronized spin between turns one and two that brought out the final yellow and one more stanza that Bell had to deal with Larson.

“The track was so technical,” Bell explained.  “It was all about hitting your marks and minimizing mistakes because you weren’t going to make a mistake-free lap tonight.  You just had to make sure when you made a mistake that you could recover from it.  Once I got going on those green flag runs, I could get my momentum built up and make good, competitive laps.  But after the yellow flags, it was tough to pick your rhythm back up.  I knew I was a sitting duck their leading on the restarts.  On the final one, Kyle got one last bomb on me and I was able to get him back.”

Larson’s first lob of a bomb was a success in turn one on the lap 95 restart as he scraped across the surface to snag the race lead from Bell.  Bell counter-punched and ripped away the lead back away from Larson with a slider into turn three.  Entering turn one with two laps remaining, wheels banged and nerf bars clanged as Larson shot to the lead past Bell once again.

As a uncertain as a game of tug-of-war teetering on a see-saw, Bell launched like a missile on a hell-bound train to slide across the nose of Larson and into the lead between turns three and four to capture the lead for good.  Larson threw a haymaker entering turn three coming to the white flag, pulling side-by-side with Bell at the exit of four where it momentarily became three-wide with Shane Golobic arriving seemingly out of the clear blue sky to mount a challenge for the lead.

Larson tried once more on the final lap, but Bell savagely, and wisely, took a lower entrance into turn one, thus preventing a final pull of the pin from Larson.  Bell carried on with a 0.193 second lead across the finish line as Larson blasted off the top of the final corner to nip Golobic by a wheel at the line for the runner-up spot.  Past “Turkey Night” winner Tanner Thorson was fourth and Don Basile “Rookie of the Race” Zeb Wise was fifth in his second-career USAC National Midget start.

Bell was 4 for 7 in USAC National Midget feature appearances in 2017 for a .571 batting average.  His 21st career series victory tied him with Steve Cannon, Jimmy Caruthers, Rex Easton and Ken Schrader for 27th all-time.

The fourth-straight “Turkey Night” win for the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports team began with Bell’s victory in 2014. Firsts are always special in any circumstance, but this one has even more meaning for the 22-year-old, 2013 USAC National Midget titlist.

“I definitely had to work harder for this one.  This one was even more fun and more special.”

Contingency award winners Thursday night at Ventura Raceway were Kyle Larson (ProSource/Woodland Auto Display Fast Qualifier), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Simpson Race Products/Extreme Mufflers 1st Qualifier Winner & Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher), Chad Boat (Competition Suspension, Inc./Brown & Miller Racing Solutions 2nd Qualifier Winner), Zeb Wise (Chalk Stix/Keizer Aluminum Wheels/Saldana Racing Products/Indy Race Parts Last Chance Winner) and Ryan Robinson (KSE Racing Products/Esslinger Engineering Hard Charger).

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Sage Fruit Company Partners With Tony Stewart Racing In 2018

The Sage Fruit Company, a Pacific Northwest sales and marketing organization, in the tree fruit industry, announced today an agreement with Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) beginning with the 2018 season.

 

The partnership includes an associate sponsorship on the TSR No. 15 driven by Donny Schatz and the TSR No. 14 driven by Tony Stewart. Schatz will embark on his 22nd season competing with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series in 2018 while Stewart is planning to compete in Sprint car races all across the United States.

 

“The Sage Fruit Company is very excited to be joining Tony Stewart Racing,” said Chuck Sinks, President, Sales and Marketing, Sage Fruit Company. “We are all big fans of auto racing, but Sprint cars have been our passion.  We have been in the sport for the last 14 years, and to be able to partner with such a strong professional winning organization like TSR is only adding to our passion.  We have admired Tony his entire racing career, whether it has been in the IRL, USAC, NASCAR or Sprint cars.  Now, to be able to team with him and Donny Schatz is something that we look forward to. Donny is an outstanding driver and he obviously has a great crew behind him to be able to win nine championships. 2018 will be a great year.”

 

The announcement comes in advance of the Outlaws’ 2017 season finale at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Schatz will be looking to capture a series-best 20th WoO A-Feature victory in the Textron World Finals and wrap up his ninth WoO championship and eighth WoO title for TSR. The championship would be the team’s 22nd short-track-racing title overall.

 

“Having been involved in racing for most of my life, I have learned that the importance of relationships in this sport goes unmatched,” Stewart said. “Through their interest in and dedication to supporting Winged Sprint car racing, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Chuck and his team at Sage Fruit. I’m very proud to welcome them to Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing and to have them as part of our team. It’s exciting to have an opportunity to build on our friendship through our racing program and for Donny Schatz and I to carry their brand on our cars next season. We’re looking forward to working with Chuck and his entire Sage Fruit team.”

The partnership continues Sage Fruits’ involvement in short-track racing and commitment to Winged Sprint car racing. TSR has fielded a WoO team for 16 seasons and will look to continue leading the way in short-track racing both on the track and off in 2018. Both race schedules for 2018 and car schemes for the TSR Nos. 14 and 15 racecars will be released at a later date.

More information about Sage Fruit Company is available on their website at www.sagefruit.com and TSR can be found at www.TonyStewartRacing.com.  Be sure to follow both Sage and Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian on their social media outlets.

 

Tony Stewart Racing: Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TonyStewartRacing or on Twitter and Instagram @TonyStewart_Rcg.
Sage Fruit: Facebook at www.facebook.com/SageFruit or on Twitter and Instagram @SageFruit.

 

 

About Sage Fruit Company®

Located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Sage Fruit Company is a sales and marketing organization specializing in tree fruit. The growers of Sage Fruit Company have been serving customers with apples, pears, cherries and apricots for multiple generations. The company takes great pride in its commitment to quality, innovation, and service. Sage Fruit growers farm several thousand acres of conventional and organic orchards throughout the state of Washington, as well as parts of Oregon.  By using the most efficient growing methods available, it delivers high-quality product to consumers year-round.

For more information visit: www.sagefruit.com/. Follow Sage Fruit on Facebook and Twitter at @SageFruit.

 

About Tony Stewart Racing

Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) is the title-winning World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series team owned by three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. The organization has captured 21 short-track racing titles (14 in the United States Auto Club and seven World of Outlaws) since its inception in 2001. In 2017, TSR fielded Sprint car teams for eight-time World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz and also Stewart. Based in Brownsburg, Indiana, TSR operates out of a 25,000-square-foot facility. For more information please visit us on the Web at www.TonyStewartRacing.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TonyStewartRacing, on Instagram at @TonyStewart_rcg and on Twitter at @TonyStewart_rcg.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Donny Schatz Finished Third At Fulton Speedway

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Date: Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017

Series: World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series

Location: Fulton (N.Y.) Speedway

Winner: David Gravel of CJB Motorsports

TSR Results: Started 8th, Finished 3rd/Running, completed 25 of 25 laps

TSR Points: Donny Schatz – (1st with 10,532 points, 158 ahead of second-place Brad Sweet)

 

Tony Stewart-Curb/Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and the Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance-backed team continued their run of podium finishes with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series Saturday night at Fulton (N.Y.) Speedway. The eight-time and reigning WoO champion finished third in the 25-lap A-Feature at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval, finishing on the podium for the third consecutive race and the sixth time in his last seven races.

“We battled the best we could,” Schatz said. “That’s what you have to do to win a championship. These Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance guys have been doing a great job all season. We’ll turn our attention to next weekend, when we have three nights of racing.”

Schatz led the traveling Sprint-car stars back to New York for the Outlaws program at Fulton, which was part of NAPA Super DIRT Week. He entered the race with an advantage of 148 points in the 2017 WoO Championship standings over Brad Sweet and only 10 nights of racing remaining in the season.

The driver of the TSR No. 15 Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J was the 27th of 28 to make a qualifying lap. His lap of 13.472 seconds ranked eighth overall and landed the North Dakota driver the third starting position in heat two. He chased front-row starters David Gravel and Shane Stewart at the start of the eight-lap heat race. While Gravel took command of the race, Schatz tried everything he could to overtake Stewart, but ultimately he finished third. The result transferred Schatz directly into the 25-lap A-Feature. He started the 79th WoO A-Feature of season outside of row four and he quickly jumped into sixth. He passed Stewart for fifth on lap four and then was part of a terrific duel with Jac Haudenschild over the next five laps. Schatz reached third on lap nine and restarted in that position after leader Daryn Pittman made contact with Clyde Knipp and brought out a caution. Schatz followed Gravel and Jason Johnson back to green and the trio pulled away from the rest of the field. Another restart on lap 14 bunched the field, but Gravel continued leading until he took the white flag. A caution during the final lap extended the race, giving Schatz and Johnson one more opportunity. On the ensuing green-white-checkered finish, neither driver could make a run at Gravel, who won for the 17th time in 2017.
With the finish, Schatz added 10 points to his advantage over Sweet in the championship standings, and he continues to lead the series in wins with 18, top-fives with 60 and top-10s with 68.

Up Next:

The Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb team returns to Pennsylvania and New York this weekend for three races beginning Saturday night at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway. Schatz will make his eighth appearance at the half-mile dirt oval where he won the Outlaws’ 2004 race at “The Speed Palace.” Schatz has finished on the podium the past three seasons at Port Royal, coming home second in 2014 and third the last two seasons. Sunday and Monday, it’s back to New York to make up races that were postponed by Mother Nature earlier this season. Schatz returns to Weedsport SpeedwaySunday winner of the past two races at the track and, Monday night, he’ll make his first appearance at Ransomville Speedway since his rookie season in 1997.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Donny Schatz Had Two Third Place Finishes Over The Weekend

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Dates: Friday-Saturday, Sept. 22-23, 2017

Series: World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series

Locations: Friday – Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio

Saturday – Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania

Winners: Friday – Tim Shaffer of DR Racing

Saturday – David Gravel of CJB Motorsports

TSR Results: Friday – Started 3rd, Finished 2nd/Running, completed 30 of 30 laps

Saturday – Started 7th, Finished 3rd/Running, completed 35 of 35 laps

TSR Points: Donny Schatz – (1st with 9,812 points, 94 ahead of second-place Brad Sweet)

 

Tony Stewart-Curb/Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and the Arctic Cat/Ford Performance-backed team scored a pair of podium finishes with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series over the weekend. Schatz finished second in Friday night’s #BeForTheCrowns 30-lap WoO A-Feature at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. And the current WoO championship leader charged from seventh to third in Saturday night’s Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania.

“The goal for the weekend was to be in position to challenge for a couple of victories,” said Schatz, driver of the TSR No. 15 Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J. “The TSR guys put an awesome car under me Friday night and we were right there. That’s all you can ask for. We were goodon Saturday night, too, and I was hoping we’d have some long, green runs to see what would happen in traffic. Unfortnately, there were a lot of yellows, but that’s racing and we’ll keep plugging away at it.”

Schatz and the TSR No. 15 team returned to Eldora Friday looking to continue their run of success at the historic, high-banked, half-mile dirt oval. Earlier in the season, Schatz raced to a pair of victories at “The Big E,” winning the finale of the #LetsRaceTwo weekend in May and the 34th annual Kings Royal in July. The evening started well as Schatz topped the second group of cars in qualifying to earn the pole position for heat three. The track surface was lightning fast for the heat races and Schatz led from start to finish to advance into the Craftsman Club Dash. He finished third in the six-lap dash and started the 30-lap A-Feature inside the second row. When the green flag waved for the A-Feature, Schatz would battle Jason Johnson for third during the opening laps while front-row starters Tim Shaffer and Shane Stewart set the pace. Shaffer grabbed control of the top spot and Schatz zeroed in on Stewart for second during laps six through 10. Stewart’s night came to an end with a flat right-rear tire on lap 13. Schatz restarted second and chased Shaffer the remainder of the race. He closed in on Shaffer late in the race, making a bid for the lead on the final lap, but came up short and finished second at Eldora for the second time this season.

The Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance Curb team traveled from Western Ohio to Western Pennsylvania for Saturday’s Commonwealth Clash. Schatz won the race last year and also won the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup at the track this past July. He was the 20th of 29 cars to circle the 4/10-mile, dirt oval in qualifying and ended up seventh on the grid. Schatz finished third in the opening heat to transfer directly into the 35-lap A-Feature. In the main event, Schatz started inside of the fourth row and was mixing it up early with Kraig Kinser and Jac Haudenschild as the three raced for sixth. He took advantage of a lap-eight restart and passed both Kinser and Haudenshild, as well as Daryn Pittman, to grab fifth. The following lap, he drove by Stewart to reach fourth behind David Gravel, Brad Sweet and Sheldon Haudenschild. Schatz held that position until lap 24, when he passed Haudenschild for the third. With Gravel and Sweet battling it out for the top spot, Schatz worked hard to join the fray. He closed in during the final five laps, but a pair of cautions late opened up the track for Gravel, and Schatz would finish third.

With 74 of the 92 scheduled races complete, Schatz continues to lead the 2017 WoO Championship standings. He has accumulated 9,812 points and holds a 94-point lead over Brad Sweet. The eight-time and reigning WoO champion also leads the series in wins with 18 and top-fives with 55. He and Sweet are tied for most top-10s with 63.

Up Next:

The Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb team will make its third appearance of the season in Central Pennsylvania at historic Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg for this week’s 55th annual Champion Oil National Open Thursday through Saturday night. The race is recognized as one of Sprint car racing’s crown jewels and annually the biggest Sprint car race in the Eastern United States. The results from Thursday and Friday nights will determine Saturday’s lineup based on combined points. Drivers are vying to be one of 24 cars competing in the 40-lap finale, which awards $50,000 to the winner. Schatz is the only driver in the history of the event to be a five-time winner. Thursday evening will also include the 30-lap Summer Nationals A-Feature that was rained out on July 22nd.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Donny Schatz Returns To Some Familiar Grounds At Eldora

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Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz and the TSR Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance team will find themselves on familiar soil this weekend when they return to Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio and Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania for a World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series doubleheader.

Having already completed 72 Outlaw races at dirt tracks all across the United States this season, the eight-time and reigning champion leads the traveling Sprint car stars back into action with only 16 races remaining in the 2017 campaign, beginning with Friday’s #BeFourTheCrowns race at Eldora, followed by the Commonwealth Clash Saturday night at Lernerville.

Schatz is not only the series’ most recent winner after driving his TSR No. 15 Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J into victory lane at last Saturday’s Wine Country Outlaw Showdown at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway, he also is the most recent Outlaw winner at both Eldora and Lernerville. In late July, the team was victorious in the prestigious Kings Royal at Eldora and Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup at Lernerville.

The stakes may not be as high this weekend as they were during that four-day stretch in the heat of summer, when the winner’s share was $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, but every night is important when a championship is on the line. During the past four seasons, Schatz and his team of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti have closed Outlaw campaigns surging by winning seven, six, seven and five WoO A-Features during the final 18 races of those seasons. Last Friday’s opener at Calistoga marked the 18th event remaining in 2017 and Schatz raced from 22nd to fourth. His victory Saturday at Calistoga was his 18th WoO win of the season.

The team is looking to add a #BeFourTheCrowns victory to its list of accomplishments this season in its third visit of 2017 to the high-banked, half-mile dirt oval at Eldora, and Schatz has been stellar at “The Big E” this season. He won the Outlaws’ #LetsRaceTwo finale in May and finished second in the #KnightBeforeTheKingsRoyal event prior to becoming the first driver to win back-to-back Kings Royals to give him nine career WoO A-Feature wins at Eldora. His first career win at the track was the 2002 $100,000-to-win Historical Big One. The Fargo, North Dakota racer has yet to pick up an Eldora WoO A-Feature win in September. Since 2007, the Outlaws have staged a Friday-night race as part of Four-Crown weekend. In all eight of those races, Schatz has finished seventh or better with his best finish of second coming in 2014.

Schatz and crew will return to Lernerville Saturday with a two-race winning streak at the 4/10-mile, clay oval. Last September, Schatz led the final 21 laps to pick up his 23rd triumph of the season and seventh career win at Lernerville. His victory in July was his fifth Don Martin Memorial triumph, the most by any driver. Schatz won at Lernerville for the first time in his career on May 21, 2003 and, in the previous five late-season WoO races at Lernerville, Schatz has won twice and finished second twice.

With his victory at Calistoga, Schatz extended his lead in the 2017 WoO championship standings to 88 points over Brad Sweet. Last season, Schatz became the first driver in the 39-year history of the WoO to win 20 or more WoO A-Features in four consecutive seasons. He needs two more wins to extend that streak to five seasons in a row.

FACEBOOK LIVE WITH THE OWNER AND DRIVER

Prior to taking to the track Friday night, Schatz and his car owner Tony Stewart will participate in an event with Textron Off Road’s Mark Miller from Eldora Speedway. The discussion will be broadcast via Facebook Live on TSR’s Facebook page beginning at 2:30 p.m. EDT. The trio will be talking about the team’s relationship with Textron Off Road and the company’s products, as well as the 2017 season. Fans are encouraged to go to www.facebook.com/TonyStewartRacing.com and submit questions.

ENTER TO WIN A DONNY SCHATZ-THEMED HDX

The run for a World of Outlaws championship is down to only a few more weeks for TSR, Arctic Cat and Donny Schatz. Time is also running out to win one of the coolest giveaways. Fans are encouraged to join the ultimate limitless ride entering to win a customized, one-of-a-kind Donny Schatz-themed Arctic Cat HDX 700 through October 1 at online at www.arcticcat.com/donnyschatzhdx for the chance to win the customized all-terrain vehicle by random draw.

The grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to the Outlaws’ season-ending World Finals in Charlotte, including participation in a prerace ceremony. The winners will receive tickets to the World Finals and receive the keys to their Donny Schatz-themed HDX from the eight-time champion during pre-event ceremonies.

RACE NOTES

Friday at Eldora, the pit and grandstand gates will open at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30. More details are available by calling Eldora Speedway at (937) 338-3815, or by visiting www.eldoraspeedway.com.

Saturday at Lernerville, the pit and grandstand gates will open at 4 p.m. EDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30. More details are available by calling Lernerville Speedway at (724) 353-1350, or by visiting www.lernerville.com.

Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Live video is available on a pay-per-view basis for Saturday’s race at Lernerville and free audio coverage is available both nights as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Craftsman Sprint Car Series events at DIRTVision.com. Visit DIRTVision.com for more information.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Fans are encouraged to follow the progress of Schatz, TSR and the No. 15 Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J during the final weeks of the 2017 season on the web and social media. More information can be found at www.TonyStewartRacing.comwww.arcticcat.com, andwww.donnyschatzmotorsports.com.

Tony Stewart Racing: Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TonyStewartRacing or on Twitter and Instagram @TonyStewart_Rcg.

Donny Schatz: Facebook at www.facebook.com/DonnySchatz or on Twitter and Instagram @DonnySchatz.

Arctic Cat: Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArcticCat or on Twitter and Instagram @ArcticCat_atv @ArcticCat_Snow

Curb: Facebook at www.facebook.com/CurbRecords or on Twitter and Instagram @CurbRecords.

Ford Performance: Facebook at www.facebook.com/FordPerformance or on Twitter and Instagram @FordPerformance.

Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance J&J:
 

Following the annual West Coast swing, you return to a pair of tracks where you’ve already made several laps and had success this season. What do you look forward to most about returning to Eldora and Lernerville this weekend?

“We’re excited to get back to both of those places. We’re fortunate to be able to race at facilities that really have a passion for dirt racing. Earl Baltes built a masterpiece in the middle of corn fields in Western Ohio and created a destination for the biggest races of the year – for Sprint cars, Late Models, Modifieds, you name it – and they have a big race there. The Four-Crown weekend was always a big deal for USAC and, when the Outlaws became part of it, I was excited. We have a lot of friends who race in USAC and, obviously, our schedules don’t mesh up with theirs too often. Tony (Stewart) and his staff at Eldora have continued to make improvements and the place is just an awesome facility. And the biggest thing is they didn’t forget about the track. Fans come to see good racing. You look at the Kings Royal weekend where there was action all over the place, we were fortunate to be up there in the front battling it out in the A-Feature Friday and Saturday night of the Kings Royal weekend. I have to thank my guys – Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti – for that. They’ve given me a really good car at Eldora the last few years. We’ve had a great shot just about every time out and that’s what it’s all about. We’re happy to have the chance to chase a win there in September. We’ve been close but haven’t quite gotten it done. And as far as Lernerville goes, it’s always been one of the best tracks we’ve raced at during my Outlaw career. You can usually count on a couple of racing grooves and a race that plays out in lapped traffic. It’s another place where my guys have really done their homework and put a good car under me. I’m looking forward to getting back there on Saturday night.”

Since joining TSR following the 2007 season, you’ve worked with a number of marketing partners and carried their brand to victory lane quite a bit. This year, you have worked with Arcitc Cat and now Textron. What’s this season been like working with a new partner?  

“It’s been a great first year carrying the Arctic Cat brand on the 15. I just love the green. I’ve been an Arctic Cat guy since I was kid riding snowmobiles for as long as I can remember. We have worked with a number of great marketing partners over the years. Starting with the Armor All brand and that transitioned into STP. Bad Boy Buggies came on board in 2015 and some of those same people are now part of Textron Off Road, so it’s kind of come full circle. Textron has great products and really aligns with a lot the short-track race fans. The off-road stuff for both dirt and snow are a perfect match. It’s been a lot of fun. Tony and I will be talking more about it Friday afternoon before the race on Facebook Live with Mark Miller from Textron. We hope a lot of fans can tune in and let us know if there are any questions about their products.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY R

Donny Schatz Winds Up The Final West Coast Swing Of 2017

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For most, a trip to Napa Valley offers the opportunity to relax, unwind and enjoy the fruits of labor of a successful growing season. Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz is certainly a connoisseur of fine wine, enjoys relaxing and unwinding, but not when there is a World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series championship out there to chase.

With only 18 races remaining in the 2017 season, the eight-time and reigning WoO champion will be all business this weekend as the series returns to Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway for the two-night Wine Country Outlaw Showdown Friday and Saturday night.

The weekend marks the end of the Outlaws’ California slate for 2017 and Schatz would like nothing more than bookend the 11-race Golden State schedule with another California victory – or two – to go with his early season triumph at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare. Schatz and the TSR Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance-backed team return to the picturesque half-mile, dirt oval as the most recent Outlaw winners at the facility as Schatz raced past Craig Dollansky midway through the 25-lap A-Feature back in April 2015 to score his third career WoO A-Feature victory at the track.

The North Dakota racer first made laps in Calistoga during his rookie season with the Outlaws in 1997 during the annual Harvest Classic. He first tasted victory at the fairgrounds in 2004, winning the second preliminary feature. Success continued the following season with a runner-up finish in the second preliminary feature and a thrilling win in the 2005 Harvest Classic finale. He was on the podium the following season and raced to a pair of top-10 finishes in 2007. It was three years later when the Outlaws made their return to the track in the spring of 2011 and Schatz charged from 17th to seventh. Mother Nature pushed the 2012 race from April to September and the timing was perfect for Schatz to score his second career WoO A-Feature win at the track. The flag-to-flag victory pushed Schatz to a 50-point lead in the championship standings and he would go on to win his fifth WoO title.

After a demanding Gold Cup Race of Champions weekend at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Schatz and his TSR crew of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti are looking forward to closing out California on a high note. Last Saturday’s run from 25th to 11th in the 40-lap Gold Cup finale earned Schatz the KSE Hard Charger Award for the night, but also ended a 29-race top-10 streak. The team is determined to put itself in position to start a new streak this weekend – more along the lines of finishing on the podium, or most certainly within the top-five.

Through 70 of the 92 scheduled races, Schatz holds the top position in the championship standings with 9,230 points and has a 90-point lead over second-place Brad Sweet. Schatz leads the series with 17 WoO A-Feature victories and 51 top-five finishes, and his 59 top-10s are tied for most with Sweet.

RACE NOTES

Both nights at Calistoga, the pit gates at 2 p.m. PDT and the grandstands will open at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit www.calistogaspeedway.org or call (707) 942-5111.

Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Live video coverage is available on a pay-per-view basis and audio coverage is available for free as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Craftsman Sprint Car Series events on the DIRTVision.com. Visit to DIRTVision.com for more information.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Fans are encouraged to follow the progress of Schatz, TSR and the No. 15 Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J throughout the campaign on the web and social media. More information can be found at www.TonyStewartRacing.comwww.textronoffroad.com,  www.arcticcat.com and www.donnyschatzmotorsports.com.

Tony Stewart Racing: Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TonyStewartRacing or on Twitter and Instagram @TonyStewart_Rcg.

Donny Schatz: Facebook at www.facebook.com/DonnySchatz or on Twitter and Instagram @DonnySchatz.

Textron Off Road: Facebook atwww.facebook.com/TextronOffRoad/ or on Twitter and Instagram @TextronOffRoad

Arctic Cat: Facebook at www.facebook.com/arcticcat.snow/ or on Twitter and Instagram @ArcticCat_atv @ArcticCat_Snow

Curb: Facebook at www.facebook.com/CurbRecords or on Twitter and Instagram @CurbRecords.

Ford Performance: Facebook at www.facebook.com/FordPerformance or on Twitter and Instagram @FordPerformance.

Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance J&J:
 

After several weeks of competing on short tracks, this weekend provides you the opportunity to compete on a half-mile, dirt oval. From the driver’s seat, what is the biggest difference between the track sizes?

“Things just happen a lot quicker on the short tracks. You are in and out of the corners and in and out of lapped traffic almost all the time. These Sprint cars have so much power and can make so much speed on the bigger tracks. You can really use all of that to your advantage. You still have to have your car right in order to take advantage of everything. Qualifying is just so important. We’re looking forward to getting back to Calistoga and working with our big-track package. That’s just one of the things that makes being an Outlaw fun. You have to adjust and adapt not only from track to track, but you have to do that as the night goes on. When you qualify, you might attack the track a certain way, but you probably can’t race that way. Finding a rhythm and making good corners is a big deal. The way you get in affects the way you get out. And a lot of times, that’s where you are making your move forward.”

You and your team have had some success at Calistoga in the past. How important is it to put a couple of strong nights on the board to close out California?

“It’s important for us to have good finishes every night. The old saying goes that you are only as good as your last race. Well, we weren’t very good at the Gold Cup, so we have a lot to improve on this weekend. The number of chances you have to win this season are dwindling down. We know we have a couple of chances this weekend that we’d really like to take advantage of. My guys (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti) have worked really hard all season and finishing strong has always been something this team has put a lot of emphasis on. We know these are our last two races in California before heading back to across the country to continue on this journey. I’ve always enjoyed Calistoga. This trip, it’s much more of a business trip than what it was like early in my career, but I’m good with that. It’s a fun place to race and we have a good opportunity there in front of us.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Donny Schatz Rolls Into Silver Dollar Raceway For The Gold Cup

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Chasing gold in California began in 1848 when James W. Marshall first found gold in the town of Coloma, and that passion to find it lives on today in many circles. In the world of Sprint-car racing, this time of year attracts the best in the sport to the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series Gold Cup Race of Champions, the 64th annual edition of which takes place this weekend at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, a little more than 100 miles northwest of where the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s began.

Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and the Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb-backed team are seeking to add a prestigious Gold Cup victory to their list of 2017 accomplishments. The eight-time and reigning WoO champion and his crew of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti have already come up big in three major races this season, and adding another California triumph or two to their win total this season and making Schatz a three-time Gold Cup winner is the weekend goal.

Only Steve Kinser and Jac Haudenschild have scored three or more wins in the Gold Cup since the WoO began sanctioning the event during its inaugural season back in 1978. Schatz won his first Gold Cup in 2004 and scored his second two seasons ago to join Andy Hillenburg and Kyle Larson as two-time winners.

Schatz earned his 15th career California WoO victory earlier this season at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, continuing his recent run of success in the state. He won three California WoO A-Features in 2016 and five in 2015. The Fargo, North Dakota racer’s first California triumph was his flag-to-flag victory in the 2004 Gold Cup finale. Schatz led all 30 laps of his qualifying-night feature the night before and all 40 laps of the A-Feature to add the coveted Gold Cup trophy to his collection, which at the time included a Western World victory and a National Open triumph. Eleven years later, he became a two-time winner during his storybook 2015 season, when he raced to 31 triumphs en route to his seventh WoO title.

The two-night Gold Cup, which includes a full program both Friday and Saturday nights, continues the Outlaws’ post-Knoxville Nationals run through the West. Schatz followed his 10th Knoxville victory aboard the TSR No. 15 Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J with a win at River Cities Speedway in his home state of North Dakota. He’s stacked seven top-five finishes in the eight races since that have been contested in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington and Oregon, including last night’s stop at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Oregon, where Schatz finished fifth.

Following the Gold Cup this weekend, the remainder of the 2017 WoO campaign will consist of 18 races, including two more nights in California as Schatz leads the series back to Calistoga for the Wine Country Outlaw Showdown next weekend. After the two-night program at the picturesque Calistoga Speedway, the teams will travel across the country for races at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, and Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania, before closing out the month with the three-night National Open at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

SCHATZ FAST FACTS: SILVER DOLLAR SPEEDWAY / GOLD CUP

• Donny Schatz made his Silver Dollar Speedway debut in September 1997 during his rookie season with “The Greatest Show on Dirt” at the Gold Cup. He finished 11th in his qualifying night and 18th in the Gold Cup finale.

• Schatz earned his first top-five finishes at Chico in the 1999 Gold Cup, coming home fifth and fourth, respectively.

• He led every lap of his preliminary feature and all 40 in the 2004 Gold Cup finale to score his first Silver Dollar Speedway WoO A-Feature victory and 23rd of his career. He now has 246 career WoO A-Feature wins.

• He scored spring wins at Silver Dollar Speedway in the Mini Gold Cup in 2012, 2015 and 2016. In 2012 and 2015, he also won a main event at the track during the Gold Cup.

• Last season, Schatz made a big charge forward after starting 17th. His run to a podium finish came up a few laps short when he made contact with Jac Haudenschild while attempting to make a pass for fourth.

• This will be the 21st Gold Cup for Schatz, who has been part of the event since joining the tour in 1997.

SCHATZ FAST FACTS: 2017

• Through 68 of 92 scheduled races in the 2017 WoO campaign, Schatz leads the point standings with 8,970 and holds a 92-point lead over Brad Sweet. Schatz leads the series in wins with 17 and top-fives with 51. He and Sweet are tied for most top-10s with 58.

• With 20 A-Features races remaining, Schatz is looking to win at least three more races in order to reach the 20-win mark for the fifth consecutive season. Last year, he became the first driver in WoO history to win 20 or more races in four consecutive seasons. He has previously won at 11 of the 13 tracks left on the schedule.
• Schatz has already won three of the Outlaws’ marquee races of 2017, scoring his third Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway, his fifth Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup, and his 10th Knoxville Nationals triumph. He’s looking to add the Gold Cup, Summer Nationals and Williams Grove National Open to that list.

ENTER TO WIN A DONNY SCHATZ-THEMED HDX

Winning the biggest races of the season and a WoO championship isn’t the only goal in 2017 for TSR, Arctic Cat and Schatz. There is shared passion to reach greatness without limits. And fans are encouraged to join the ultimate limitless ride by entering to win by random draw a customized, one-of-a-kind, Schatz-themed Arctic Cat HDX 700 all-terrain vehicle online through Oct. 1 atwww.arcticcat.com/donnyschatzhdx.

The grand-prize winner will receive a trip for two to the Outlaws’ season-ending World Finals in Charlotte, including participation in a prerace ceremony. The winners will receive tickets to the World Finals and receive the keys to the Schatz-themed HDX from the eight-time champion during pre-event ceremonies.

RACE NOTES

The pit gates open at Silver Dollar Speedway at 2 p.m. PDT Friday and Saturday. The grandstands will open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For tickets and more information, visitsilverdollarspeedway.com or call 530-891-6535.

Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Live video coverage is available for a fee or audio coverage is available for free as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Craftsman Sprint Car Series events on the DIRTVision.com. Visit to DIRTVision.com for more information.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Fans are encouraged to follow the progress of Schatz, TSR and the No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J throughout the campaign on the web and social media. More information can be found at www.TonyStewartRacing.comwww.arcticcat.com, and www.donnyschatzmotorsports.com.

Tony Stewart Racing: Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TonyStewartRacing or on Twitter and Instagram @TonyStewart_Rcg.
Donny Schatz: Facebook at www.facebook.com/DonnySchatz or on Twitter and Instagram @DonnySchatz.

Arctic Cat: Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArcticCat or on Twitter and Instagram @ArcticCat_atv @ArcticCat_Snow

Curb: Facebook at www.facebook.com/CurbRecords or on Twitter and Instagram @CurbRecords.

Ford Performance: Facebook at www.facebook.com/FordPerformance or on Twitter and Instagram @FordPerformance.

 

Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR Arctic Cat/Ford Performance J&J:
 

Throughout the history of the World of Outlaws, there have been races that have a long and storied tradition. The Gold Cup at Chico has been one of those races. What makes it special?

 

“Things change over time, but some races just have a different feel to them. A lot of things have changed from when I first started. We used to spend almost a month in California in August and September and race at a bunch of tracks. This year, we have two weekends to race here. We have a weekend in Chico and one in Calistoga. It feels a little different because we used to run Calistoga on Labor Day weekend and then finish up California with the Gold Cup the following weekend. That was kind of like our last big race out here, so I’m sure it’s going to feel a little different. The car count might be down from what it was early in my career, but the intensity is still there. The Gold Cup is a big deal and you’ll see guys driving like it, for sure. We’ve had some great Gold Cups and some that we’d like to forget, but that’s just part of racing. It’s a fun event and one we definitely want to be in contention to win. It still comes down to finding a way to get your car right and putting yourself in a position to win. I have to thank (car owner) Tony (Stewart) for surrounding me with an incredible group of people. These guys work extremely hard and we’re going to do everything we can to get another Gold Cup this weekend.”

 

You mentioned the schedule change. Does that change the way you approach this weekend, knowing you still have two races at Calistoga before heading back toward the Midwest?

 

“We won’t change how we attack the weekend. Last year, things didn’t end up the way we were hoping they would and that’s probably because we started too far back. It’s about qualifying and starting close to the front. Most of these races since we left Knoxville have been won off the front row and we only started one on the front row and didn’t win it. We have to be better all throughout the night. These are tough races to win. You have to find ways to get better and stay on top of things. We’ve had some short-track success this year and we’ll try to continue that this weekend. Once we have the Gold Cup behind us, we’ll start focusing on Calistoga.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Michael Kofoid Put On A Driving Clinic At Chico

Michael Kofoid

Michael “Buddy” Kofoid is just 15 years old, a high school student in Penngrove, CA.  On most summer weekends you will find him driving a 360 C.I. winged sprint car in excess of 100 mph!  This young man cannot even drive a car legally on the roads of CA, yet he not only is he racing a 700 hp. race car on many of the dirt tracks of Northern California, but he is beating drivers twice his age!

Such was the case Wednesday evening on the first night of The Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in the town of Chico, CA.  Kofoid strapped into his earth shaking, mud throwing, rocket ship of a race car and put on a racing clinic.  It could have been listed on the Chico State student catalog as “sprint car racing 101”!

With a great qualifying run to start off the night, he was able to start on the pole for his heat race.  When the green rag dropped on his heat race, Buddy got down hard on “the loud pedal” and showed the rest of his competitors the fast way around Silver Dollar Speedway.  He led his heat race flag to flag!

Later in the evening Kofoid was to start on the pole for the dash.  The dash consisted of the eight cars that finished first and second in the four heat races, and how they finish the dash determines the first eight starting spots for the feature.  As Kofoid led them to the green flag, once again, he launched first and sped off to a ten car length lead from start to finish!

The dash win would put Kofoid on the pole for the winged 360 feature.

Looking back the evening was beginning to resemble the movie, Ground Hog Day.  The first two races, his heat and the dash, were carbon copies of each other.  Moving forward, when the green flag flew for the main event Kofoid, once again, “let the big dog eat”!  By the time that Buddy had backed his sprinter into turn #3, he had started to pull away from the pack, not too far but far enough to give himself some breathing room.  Through the first 17 laps the distance back to second place remained constant, about 8-10 car lengths.

On lap 18 the first of several closely spaced yellow and red flags flew.  Time after time, the second place car, Michael Faccinto, Bud Keading and Willie Croft (all wily veterans) tried to steal the lead away from Kofoid, but all were unsuccessful each and every time.  On the last of the five restarts, lap 22, Buddy had a side-by-side battle for a couple of laps with Bud Kaeding, but dispensed with his challenge and went on to plant the Kofoid flag in Victory Lane!

If you live on the West Coast you need to keep your eye on this young man!  Michael Kofoid is an immensely talented young gun that is about to begin making his presence known when he unloads his sprinter at the race track.  It will not be too long before the comparisons with Kyle Larson will begin to be bantered around by sprint car fans that are in the know!

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Donny Schatz Post Three Top Ten Finishes

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Dates: Friday-Saturday, Sept. 1-2, 2017
Monday, Sept. 4, 2017

Series: World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series

Locations: FridaySaturday – Skagit Speedway in Alger, Washington

Monday – Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington

Winners: Friday – Shane Stewart of Larson/Marks Racing

Saturday – Daryn Pittman of Kasey Kahne Racing
Monday – Stewart of Larson/Marks Racing

TSR Results: Friday – Started 7th, Finished 4th/Running, completed 25 of 25 laps

Saturday – Started 2nd, Finished 5th/Running, completed 35 of 35 laps
Monday – Started 10th, Finished 7th/Running, completed 30 of 30 laps

TSR Points: Donny Schatz – (1st with 8,830 points, 96 ahead of second-place Brad Sweet)

 

Tony Stewart-Curb/Agajanian Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz and the Arctic Cat/Ford Performance team posted three top-seven finishes in World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series action over the Labor Day weekend in the state of Washington. Schatz drove the TSR No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J to fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the Outlaw Energy Showdown doubleheader at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Friday and Saturday, and concluded the weekend by finishing seventh Monday night at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma.

The weekend opened with Friday night’s return to Skagit with Schatz making his 22nd career start at the 3/10-mile, high-banked dirt oval. Schatz was the third driver to make a qualifying lap and ended up seventh overall in the field of 25 cars. The eight-time and reigning champion started and finished third in the opening heat to earn a transfer position in the 25-lap A-Feature. He started seventh and held that position until a lap-nine caution for leaders Brad Sweet and Daryn Pittman. Schatz grabbed fourth on the restart and continued in that position for the final 16 laps, following Shane Stewart, Jason Johnson and Jac Haudenschild to the finish line.

Schatz returned for the Outlaw Energy Showdown finale Saturday and again went out early for qualifications. He was the first to make a qualifying lap and ended up second overall. A flag-to-flag victory in heat two transferred Schatz into the Craftsman Club Dash, where he started and finished second. In the 40-lap A-Feature, Schatz and Jason Johnson battled for the lead early before Johnson was able to pull away. The top-two remained the same for the first 35 laps until Kasey Kahne Racing teammates Sweet and Pittman joined the battle for the lead. Sweet moved by Schatz and was followed by Pittman, who ultimately passed Johnson to secure the victory ahead of David Gravel, Sweet, Johnson and Schatz.

The weekend concluded with Monday’s annual stop at Grays Harbor Raceway. Schatz entered the event with a three-race winning streak at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval and, for the third consecutive night, Schatz was one of the first handful of drivers to qualify. He was the second to make a qualifying lap and, unfortunately, the track surface got better as qualifying went on and Schatz ended up 19th in the field of 26 competitors. He raced from seventh to fourth in the opening heat to transfer into the 30-lap A-Feature. In the main event, Schatz raced in the ninth and 10th positions during the opening 18 laps before moving up to eighth. He passed Jason Solwold for seventh with three laps remaining and finished there. Shane Stewart held off Sweet to score his second win of the weekend and seventh overall.

Through 67 of 92 scheduled races complete, Schatz remains on top of the 2017 WoO championship standings with 8,830 points. He leads Sweet by 96 markers and tops all drivers with 17 wins and 50 top-five finishes. He and Sweet are tied for top-10s with 57.

Up Next:

The Outlaws continue their run down the West Coast with a stop Wednesday night at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Oregon before heading to Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California for the 64th annual Gold Cup Race of Champions Friday and Saturday nights. Last September, Schatz led the final 28 laps at Willamette to earn his first win at the track. He is a two-time Gold Cup champion – 2004 and 2015 – and has six career wins at Silver Dollar Speedway.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

A Great Northwest Race Weekend Awaits Donny Schatz

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With a 92-race season, it’s no wonder the competitors on the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series tour sometimes has a difficult time with basic questions. What day is it? And where are we? After starting the season in Florida in February, the long and winding road for “The Greatest Show on Dirt” has taken the traveling Sprint car stars from coast to coast twice, already, and up next is a three-race weekend in the Pacific Northwest.

Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz and the Arctic Cat/Ford Performance team have navigated their way to the Seattle-area for the Outlaws’ annual Labor Day-weekend tripleheader in Washington. The driver of the TSR No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J resumes his quest for a ninth WoO championship Friday and Saturday night with the Outlaw Energy Showdown at Skagit Speedway in Alger. Following an off night Sunday, the weekend will conclude with Monday night’s stop at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma.

Schatz leads the series into action with a 94-point lead in the 2017 WoO championship standings. The Fargo, North Dakota resident has earned 17 WoO A-Feature triumphs, pushing his career number of wins to 246. Three of those victories have come at Skagit Speedway. Schatz scored a win in the weekend finale in 2013, then swept the weekend in 2014. In 2015, he scored his historic 200th career WoO A-Feature victory at Grays Harbor. The win came in thrilling fashion as he overtook race leader Paul McMahan with two laps remaining and extended his winning streak at the track to three.

With only 24 races remaining in the 2017 season, each night is important in the big picture. Things can change quickly and that’s where the experience of Schatz, who is in his 21st season with the Outlaws, and his veteran crew of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti, comes into play. Three races in four nights is a tall order, but the challenge to not only compete all three nights but also contend for victories is what pushes the entire team. In 10 starts during the month of August, Schatz scored wins in the Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals and at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He finished sixth or better in all 10 races and the team knows if it can match that same type of consistency throughout September, another one of its goals for the season will remain in play.

The team has already notched a few of its 2017 points of emphasis as the season enters its final two dozen starts. Winning races was important – Schatz leads the Outlaws with 17 wins. Succeeding in the high-profile races – Schatz won all three of the major “Month of Money” races that were contested: The Kings Royal, the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup and the Knoxville Nationals. Finish strong – That is the focus beginning this weekend in Washington.

Schatz finished fourth and third, respectively, last weekend at Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, South Dakota and Billings (Mont.) Motorsports Park. Those finishes followed three top-fives, including a win and second-place finish in his home state of North Dakota the weekend prior.

Through 64 of the scheduled 92 events, the team has earned 8,412 points and holds a 94-point advantage over Kasey Kahne Racing’s Brad Sweet.

 

SCHATZ FAST FACTS: SKAGIT SPEEDWAY AND GRAYS HARBOR RACEWAY

 

• Schatz has made 21 career starts at Skagit Speedway. He made his debut at the track in August 2002 and finished third.

• He won his second start at the track in August 2006, but the win was considered a preliminary feature win and his not part of his career win numbers.

• He earned his first “official” WoO win at the track in August 2013, leading the final 19 laps of the 36-lap race.

• Schatz swept the weekend in 2014, leading all 25 laps of the Friday-night program and 23 of the 35 in the finale.

• Schatz made his debut at Grays Harbor Raceway during his rookie season with Outlaws in August 1997. He finished 10th in the preliminary feature and sixth in the finale.

• He has made 24 career starts at Grays Harbor (15 regular A programs and nine that were classified as preliminary programs). He has four career wins, 10 top-fives and 19 top-10s.

• He won at Grays Harbor for the first time in August 2005 by making a dramatic late pass of Steve Kinser to secure the victory.

• Schatz has won the last three WoO A-Features at Grays Harbor: In 2013, he led the final 25 laps of the 35-lap A-Feature; in 2014, he led the final 21 laps and, in 2015, he led only the final two laps to secure his 200th career WoO A-Feature triumph.

 

ENTER TO WIN A DONNY SCHATZ-THEMED HDX
Winning races and a WoO championship arent the only goals in 2017 for TSR, Arctic Cat and Donny Schatz. There is shared passion to reach greatness without limits. And fans are encouraged to join the ultimate limitless ride by entering to win a customized, one-of-a-kind, Donny Schatz-themed Arctic Cat HDX 700 through Oct. 1. Go to www.arcticcat.com/donnyschatzhdx for the chance to win the customized all-terrain vehicle by random draw.
The grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to the Outlaws’ season-ending World Finals in Charlotte, North Carolina, including participation in a prerace ceremony. The winners will receive tickets to the World Finals and receive the keys to the Donny Schatz-themed HDX from the eight-time champion during pre-event ceremonies.

 

RACE NOTES

 

The pit gates open at Skagit Speedway at 3 p.m. PDT Friday and Saturday. The grandstands will open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit skagitspeedway.com or call 360-724-3567.

 

Monday at Grays Harbor, the pit gates open at 3 p.m. PDT. The grandstands will open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit graysharborraceway.com or call 360-482-4374.

 

Race fans unable to attend this week’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Free audio coverage is available as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Craftsman Sprint Car Series events on the DIRTVision.com. Visit to DIRTVision.com for more information.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Fans are encouraged to follow the progress of Schatz, TSR and the No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J throughout the campaign on the Web and social media. More information can be found at www.TonyStewartRacing.comwww.arcticcat.com, and www.donnyschatzmotorsports.com.

Tony Stewart Racing: Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TonyStewartRacing or on Twitter and Instagram @TonyStewart_Rcg.
Donny Schatz: Facebook at www.facebook.com/DonnySchatz or on Twitter and Instagram @DonnySchatz.

Arctic Cat: Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArcticCat or on Twitter and Instagram @ArcticCat_atv @ArcticCat_Snow

Curb: Facebook at www.facebook.com/CurbRecords or on Twitter and Instagram @CurbRecords.

Ford Performance: Facebook at www.facebook.com/FordPerformance or on Twitter and Instagram @FordPerformance.

 

Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR Arctic Cat/Ford Performance J&J:
 

Over the years, you have always said that the Labor Day-weekend races in Washington were something you enjoyed. What makes you feel that way?

 

“I just enjoy traveling to Washington this time of the year. I always have liked this part of the schedule. We have some family out there and the long weekend usually gives us a chance to spend some time with them. As for the racing, it’s a challenge, for sure. Skagit has been one of those places where I feel like we’ve been really good, or the complete opposite. Obviously, you want to be really good. The track is pretty tricky, so having your car right and being in the right place at the right time certainly play a factor. When you leave Skagit, it’s down to Elma and that’s been a really good track for us the past few years, but that doesn’t have any bearing on Monday’s race. We’re going to have to be on our game there. I know my Arctic Cat/Ford Performance guys have been in town all week getting us ready. Winning these World of Outlaws races is really difficult and we’re just trying to work as hard as we can to put ourselves in a position to race for them.”

 

The calendar has turned to September and the number of races in the season continues to get smaller. Does your approach change this time of the year?  

 

“You can’t change what you are doing just because it’s later in the year. This sport is constantly changing and the teams that stay ahead of the changes are the ones that will be fighting for wins and ultimately the championship. That doesn’t mean you don’t change how you do everything. You may tinker with a few things here and there and tweak some aspects of your program but, at this point in the season, everyone pretty much has a routine they stick to. We know there are quite a few races still ahead of us and we still have high expectations to meet as a team. The crew (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti) on this Arctic Cat/Ford Performance team wants to win everything. We can’t get too far ahead ourselves and start thinking about later in the month or October. We have three important races this weekend that we need to keep focused on and that’s how we’ll approach the weekend. Come Tuesday, the setting changes, but everything else stays pretty much the same.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!