Michael “Buddy” Kofoid Makes A Huge Sprint Car Leap In 2018

Michael Kofoid

Sixteen-year-old sprint car driver Michael “Buddy” Kofoid is set to embark on his most ambitious racing schedule to date after joining Harley Van Dyke Motorsports.

Kofoid, who rocketed into the national spotlight in 2016 when as a 14-year-old he won a preliminary feature during the Trophy Cup at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., is slated to run between 70 and 80 races on the West Coast and in the Midwest aboard the Van Dyke No. 5h.

“We’re planning on running for Harley Van Dyke after running for Dan Simpson for a couple of years,” Kofoid explained. “We plan on running 70 to 80 races. We plan on starting in Las Vegas with the Outlaws (in March) and we’ll follow their swing up to California.

“Then we would run some local shows with King of the West as well as the SCCT (Sprint Car Challenge Tour) series,” Kofoid continued. “Then around June we’ll head back East and possibly run with the All Stars during Ohio Speedweek, the 360 and 410 Knoxville Nationals and then we would come back to California and finish out the season with some more local shows as well as King of the West and SCCT again.”

It’s another big step for Kofoid as he continues to make a name for himself in the world of sprint car racing. Earlier this year, he captured his first King of the West-NARC Sprint Car Series victory, winning the Howard Kaeding Classic at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif.

In addition to his King of the West victory, Kofoid finished fifth in the Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour standings and eighth with the King of the West-NARC Sprint Car Series.

The opportunity for Kofoid to join Harley Van Dyke Motorsports, whom he drove for during one race in October, came about after Kofoid began exploring his options for the 2018 season. After talking with several teams, Kofoid settled on Van Dyke Motorsports because of the chance to race on the West Coast and in the Midwest.

“You can’t really stay in California forever,” Kofoid said. “You’ve got to expose yourself to different areas and race against different people. The best people aren’t just in one place, they’re all spread out over the country. You’ve got to race against all of them and race in different places for track time and experience.

“We’ll just see how it pans out,” Kofoid added. “Harley’s got super good equipment and definitely equipment that can win anywhere, so it’s just up to me to see if we can get it done.”

Kofoid will also make his first trip to Australia in the next few weeks, where he’ll be driving a sprint car fielded by Bernie Gordon during his trek Down Under.

“I’ll be down there for a month. I’ve never been out of the country either so that’ll be cool to experience a totally different atmosphere and run around 12 to 14 times in a month,” Kofoid said. “Everything is set in stone and we’re just waiting on the day to come that we can leave. I’m super thankful for that.

“I like the idea of new things and new experiences, so I think it’ll be well worth it and hopefully we can make something good out of it.”

For those race fans not living on the West Coast and who are not familiar with this young gun, I can only say that you need to keep your eyes and ears open!  Buddy has a heap load of raw talent that is coupled with the enthusiasm of a 16-year-old!!  I first saw this youngster race in The Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown in 2015 and I was quite impressed with his abilities.  Likewise, Kofoid showed off his racing talent in the Gold Cup at Chico this past September and everyone knew that he was in the house!

Stay tuned, I think that there are great things in store for this young man.

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!

“Young Money” Will Have A Full Weekend!

Kyle Larson
After a dominating win on Wednesday night at the Knoxville Nationals, Kyle Larson faced a dilemma. He had qualified for the prestigious A-main finals of one of the premiere dirt races in the world. The problem was the race was set for Saturday night, and his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series forbids him from racing on dirt the day before he has to drive the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, be it qualifying, practice or the race.

On Thursday, he appeared with Ganassi at an event in downtown Detroit unveiling the Camaro ZL1 as Chevrolet’s entry in next year’s 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. On the drive to the airport afterward, Larson tried to talk Ganassi into allowing an exception. The team owner voiced his concerns—the contract language exists to make sure Larson is fresh and to give the team time to find a replacement if he gets injured.

With Larson and other team officials pleading Larson’s case, Ganassi ultimately relented, and now Larson will race in the event in Knoxville, Iowa on Saturday to try to put an exclamation point at the end of what he calls his favorite week of racing of the year. He finished fifth in the event last year. “I’m thankful for Chip to even allow me to do what I get to do right now,” Larson says. “It’s especially nice that he’s making an exception for Saturday night.”

Larson expects to fly to Iowa after his responsibilities at Michigan International Speedway end on Saturday afternoon. He will race at night and fly back to Michigan after that. He doesn’t have to be anywhere at MIS until 11:30 Sunday morning. “I’ll still be able to get plenty of sleep and be ready,” he said.

Larson has won two races in a row at Michigan.

“Young Money” could be flying back to Michigan Saturday night $150,000.00 richer, if he wins the feature at Knoxville!

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

Tony Stewart Foundation Challenges Knoxville Nationals Fans

Tony Stewart
Whether as a car owner, driver or philanthropist, Tony Stewart always expects to finish ahead of the field, and those expectations won’t change on Aug. 9 when the Tony Stewart Foundation presents the fifth annual WELD Racing Go-Kart Spectacular at Slideways Karting Center in Knoxville, Iowa.

Fans attending the 5-hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store at Knoxville Raceway can race head-to-head with Stewart, but also recent Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winners Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who followed Stewart’s path from the dirt tracks to NASCAR.

The Tony Stewart Foundation benefits chronically ill and physically disabled children, animals that are endangered or at-risk, and drivers injured in the sport of motor racing, and the foundation has taken the wheel of this year’s WELD Racing Go-Kart Spectacular which had previously been hosted by the Jeff Gordon Foundation.

Those interested in helping the Tony Stewart Foundation’s mission will not only battle Stewart, Larson and Stenhouse, but they will also have the opportunity to showcase their skills against WELD Racing ambassadors “KamiKaze” Chris Day from the Street Outlaws television series on Discovery and Pirelli World Challenge driver Shea Holbrook. The entry fee is $400 per competitor with the total number of entrants limited to 50. Participants will receive an event T-shirt and goodie bag containing WELD Racing merchandise and items autographed by Stewart. Fans can register to compete by visitinghttp://TonyStewartFoundation.org and writing “KARTING” in the comment field.

The goal of this year’s event is to promote One Cure, a project led by the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center (FACC) where innovative cancer treatments for pets are being researched in clinical trials to benefit people. The FACC sees more than 1,500 new animalcancer patients every year, with approximately 400 patients enrolling in these carefully monitored clinical trials specific to their cancer type. These canine and feline patients are helping pioneer cancer research, moving cutting-edge treatments out of the laboratory and into clinical practice, ultimately providing hope to the next generation of animal and human cancer patients.

“We’ve learned that many cancer treatment breakthroughs are happening because of collaborations between scientists and doctors working with both people and domestic pets,” Stewart said. “It’s a perfect fit with my foundation’s missions to help children and animals. Cancer is cancer. We aim to educate people about comparative oncology and improve the lives of all cancer patients, whether they have two legs or four.”

A second One Cure initiative during the Knoxville Nationals called Flip It For Good is asking for fans of all ages to participate. The Tony Stewart Foundation and Knoxville Raceway are teaming up in an effort to establish a new Guinness World Record for the largest game of heads or tails. The current record was set in July 2016 by 561 fans at Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. The event will take place on Aug. 11 from noon to 1:30 p.m. CDT in the Fan Zone under the main grandstands at Knoxville Raceway.

“Our Flip It For Good competition is for anyone to play,” Stewart said. “Players choose their side, I flip the coin, someone spots me, and we start eliminating players until there’s only one standing. The challenge is to be the last one standing. It’s fun, it’s fast and for a great cause.”

While only 562 participants are needed to break the record, Stewart has issued Knoxville Nationals fans the challenge of bringing 800 players to this round of Flip It For Good. The $10 entry donation includes a commemorative bandana, a player’s wristband for the official count and a $10 gift certificate to upload a photo of a person or pet impacted by cancer onto the “Faces of Team One Cure” online photo mosaic. Participants can register onsite at Knoxville Raceway, or online prior to Aug. 10 by visitinghttp://tonystewartfoundation.org/flip-it-for-good-registration/.

For more information regarding the Tony Stewart Foundation, visit www.tonystewartfoundation.org and follow on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/14TSF or on Twitter and Instagram @14TSF.

For information regarding Stewart, visit www.tonystewart.com or www.tonystewartracing.com, or follow on Twitter @TonyStewart.

For more information regarding the 5-hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store, visit www.knoxvilleraceway.com.

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

Does Kyle Larson’s Versatility Keep Him Sharp?

Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. come to NASCAR racing from similar backgrounds – specifically, open-wheel sprint cars.

And both Larson and Stenhouse have two victories so far this season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Larson at the two two-mile tracks (Fontana and Michigan) and Stenhouse at the two restrictor-plate superspeedways (Talladega and Daytona).

Unlike Stenhouse, however, Larson hasn’t curtailed his moonlighting in the open-wheel ranks. On Tuesday, between Monster Energy races at Daytona and Kentucky, Larson won his sixth straight sprint car race, taking the checkered flag at an event in Pennsylvania.

Stenhouse believes Larson’s versatility keeps him sharp!

“I think showing up and doing what Kyle has been doing in sprint cars is pretty tough to do,” Stenhouse said. “I had the opportunity back when I was racing sprint cars all the time to run Ohio Sprint Week like Kyle did this year and won three out of five races in 2006. That was a big task and a huge goal that I accomplished.

“For him to do it when he is not running full time sprint cars is impressive. Going to get around different cars and trying to adapt to different race tracks and changing conditions just keeps you sharp. It definitely brings some confidence to what you are doing over here. I don’t have everything in line to do that like Kyle does right now. He has a good system lined up that he has been working with the last few years, and it’s been paying off for him. I definitely think it brings confidence to both sides.”

These two drivers are part of the changing of the guard in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup.

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

After A Weekend Sweep Donny Schatz Heads To Eldora

Image result for donny schatz and arctic cat

After sweeping last weekend’s World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series doubleheader in the Great Plains, Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz heads to Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio for this weekend’s #LetsRaceTwo event Friday and Saturday evening on a mission.

The mission during the first of three 2017 stops at the historic high-banked, half-mile dirt-oval is to continue building momentum behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J. Schatz and his crew of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti scored their biggest triumph of the 2016 campaign at Eldora by capturing the 33rd annual Kings Royal.

The eight-time and reigning WoO champion opened the Outlaws’ 40th season of competition on a tear, winning five of the first six races. He increased the team’s win total to eight this past Saturday night with a flag-to-flag triumph at 81 Speedway in Park City, Kansas, just 24 hours after picking up his third career WoO A-Feature victory at State Fair Speedway in Sedalia, Missouri. The wins were the 27th and 28th career WoO A-Feature triumphs in the month of May for Schatz, and he’s looking to continue adding to that number this weekend.

When he arrives Friday at one of the most intimidating tracks on the Outlaw circuit, it will mark the 22nd consecutive season of competing at “The Big E.” The Fargo, North Dakota racer splashed onto the national scene in his debut at the track with an eighth-place finish in his first Kings Royal in July 1996. It took him seven seasons to join the elite list of Eldora Speedway winners, and he did it in a big way by taking the 2002 $100,000-to-win Historical Big One. Five seasons later, he scored his first official WoO A-Feature at the track by dominating the 2007 Kings Royal. That win started a three-year run of wins that included WoO May triumphs in 2008 and 2009 and his second Kings Royal victory in 2009. In May 2015, Schatz ended a five-year winless streak at Eldora when he raced past Kerry Madsen on the opening night of the #LetsRaceTwo event. Schatz completed the weekend sweep the following night by leading all 30 laps of the WoO A-Feature to score his seventh career Eldora win. Last season, he finished ninth and seventh, respectively, during the #LetsRaceTwo weekend before finishing second in July’s Joker’s Wild race and the Knight Before the Kings Royal. Following consecutive runner-up finishes, Schatz raced to victory in the 40-lap Kings Royal to become only the fourth driver to have won the prestigious race more than twice, joining Steve Kinser, Sammy Swindell and Jac Haudenschild.

SCHATZ FAST FACTS: ELDORA

• Schatz made his Outlaw debut at Eldora Speedway in the 12th annual Kings Royal in 1996, which was aired live on The Nashville Network (TNN).

• He is one of seven drivers to have won both the Kings Royal and Historical Big One.

• He scored May triumphs in 2008 and 2009, and each victory moved him into the WoO points lead, which he didn’t relinquish the rest of the season.

• In five of his eight WoO championship seasons, he has at least one victory at Eldora – 2007, 2008, 2009, 2015 and 2016.

• Schatz has made 104 career WoO starts at the track, 13 of those are classified as WoO preliminary feature programs. He won a preliminary feature in April 2003. Schatz has 28 top-five finishes and 69 top-10s.

• By leading the final 20 laps and winning the 2016 Kings Royal, Schatz ranks fifth all-time in WoO A-Feature wins at the track with seven.

 

SCHATZ FAST FACTS: 2017

• Through 20 of 92 scheduled races in the 2017 WoO campaign, Schatz leads the championship standings with 2,832 markers and holds a 60-point advantage over David Gravel.

• Schatz leads the series with eight wins and 14 top-five finishes. His 17 top-10s are tied for most with Gravel.

• Schatz has led laps in 10 of the first 20 races.
• Five of his eight victories have come on half-mile, dirt ovals.

 

Following the Eldora doubleheader, Schatz and the Arctic Cat/Ford Performance team will return to Indiana Sunday for an event at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt. The event was originally scheduled for April 29.

 

For both events at Eldora Speedway, the pit gates and grandstands will open at 2 p.m. EDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit www.eldoraspeedway.com or call 937-338-3815.

 

Sunday at Tri-State Speedway, the pit gates will open at 3 p.m. CDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are slated to begin at 6 p.m. Visit tristatespeedway.com or call 812-768-5995 to get more information.

 

Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Live 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 on the DIRTVision.com. Live video will be availableFriday night only. Visit to DIRTVision.com for more information.

 

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.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.

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.

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

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

The results of last weekend provide you and your Arctic Cat/Ford Performance team some positive momentum heading into this weekend. How often can you carry the results from one weekend to the next when racing with the World of Outlaws?

“The biggest thing you have to do is continue to put in the work. As soon as you pull out of the track, the focus has to go on the next race. We got off to a really good start this season with some good runs in Florida, Kilgore, Las Vegas, Tulare and Stockton, but then crashed a car in Placerville. We found ourselves on some rubber-down surfaces and then dealt with a lot of weather issues for the next few weeks, so April wasn’t exactly what we had envisioned. Getting back to the shop was big for my guys and it allowed us to get back to where we needed to be. We tried a number of things and last weekend was a good example of working on something for a while and then seeing it pay dividends. I have the hardest-working crew and, unfortunately, we hurt a car last weekend. I think Saturday night is the first time I can say I won the race with a frame that was junked during the race. The good news is my guys are prepared and hopefully, Friday night, we’ll be right back on the pace we were on this past weekend. No two nights of racing are alike in dirt racing, so you always have to be able to adapt throughout the night. We’ll begin with our normal starting point for Eldora and see if we can keep things going.”

With 92 races on your schedule, you have the opportunity to race at a number of facilities. This weekend provides you the first of three chances to race at the famous Eldora Speedway. What makes it stand out?

“Eldora is such a special place – the speed, the energy. You can feel the tradition and the passion for dirt-track racing when you roll up to the gate. The late Earl Baltes had a dream and, thankfully, Tony Stewart has been able to continue with that vision. The place is one of the best tracks in the world and we’re excited to have the opportunity to race there as much as we do. We’ve had some pretty good runs at Eldora the past couple of years. Two years ago, we were really good. Last May, we were still working on some things that helped pave the way for the Kings Royal weekend, where we were able to get the win. I’m excited to get back over there and see what we can do.”

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

Donny Schatz Is Very Excited About Returning To Devil’s Bowl Speedway

Image result for donny schatz and arctic cat

Making history isn’t something eight-time and reigning World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz is concerned about, but appreciating it certainly is. For more than half of his life, the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing driver has chased his dream of competing with “The Greatest Show on Dirt,” a series that was created by the late Ted Johnson 40 years ago and started at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas.

This weekend, Schatz and his Arctic Cat/Ford Performance-backed team lead the Outlaws back to Devil’s Bowl, where Johnson first staged an “Outlaw” race in March of 1978. The two-night Texas Outlaw Nationals provides Schatz an opportunity to continue his quest for a ninth WoO title while competing to win a second Ted Johnson Memorial race trophy.

Since the beginning of 1997, Schatz has realized his dream of being an Outlaw, climbing the ranks from teenage rookie to one of the most decorated drivers in series history. In typical World of Outlaws fashion, his journey has been filled with a lot of ups and downs along the way.

Johnson was a major influence on Schatz during the formative years of his Outlaw career. It was a role Johnson believed was necessary in order to continue building the Outlaw legacy. And it was something he did with a number of the series’ stars from its inception. That all began when Johnson convinced the late Lanny Edwards to stage a $2,000-to-win show at Devil’s Bowl to start the 1978 season. Johnson envisioned it being the first race of a season-long series that would crown a champion at the end. Not many people thought the Sprint-car-fan-turned-race promoter could make it all work. Word spread quickly after 96 cars showed up at Devil’s Bowl that March and soon Johnson was able to book races at Eldora Speedway and all the major tracks across the country. Ultimately, it did work that season and some kid from Indiana named Steve Kinser earned the most points that season and was dubbed “King of the Outlaws.” Sprint car history was never the same.

While Schatz was growing up in North Dakota, Johnson was building the series bigger and bigger every year with Kinser, Sammy Swindell and Doug Wolfgang battling it out from coast to coast. More and more tracks like Devil’s Bowl became regular stops on the tour during the first two decades, including Red River Valley Speedway in Fargo. This is where is all started for Schatz – his first taste of what the Outlaws were all about.

Just over 10 years later, Schatz was trying to become an Outlaw, making his debut at Devil’s Bowl in the spring of 1997. If he was nervous, he certainly didn’t show it when he made his first official laps with the Outlaws around the half-mile, dirt oval. Instead, he offered a glimpse of what was ahead for the future series champion by qualifying sixth in the field of 50 cars. The following season, he battled Kinser for the Spring Nationals victory before finishing second to “The King of the Outlaws.” For the first six seasons of his Outlaw career, Schatz raced at Devil’s Bowl twice annually with the Spring Nationals being held early each season and the Winter Nationals late in the campaign. In 2014, the Outlaws ended an 11-year hiatus and ventured back to Devil’s Bowl, where Schatz made his return memorable by racing to his first career victory at the track and his historic 150th WoO A-Feature triumph of his career. He scored the Ted Johnson Memorial race victory one year later after out-dueling Shane Stewart in the 30-lap main event. Last spring, Schatz charged from 19th to eighth in the Texas Outlaws Nationals opener and raced from 13th to fifth in the Ted Johnson Memorial race.

WoO wins are always the goal and, anytime they come in Texas, it’s big. Schatz earned his first Texas triumph during his third season on the tour in March 1999. He raced to victory at Battleground Speedway just outside of Houston that night to earn his second career WoO A-Feature win. Six years later, Schatz was victorious at Houston Raceway Park near Baytown and won there again in March 2007. His two triumphs at Devil’s Bowl increased his win total in the state to five and, earlier this season, Schatz pushed that number to six with a clean sweep at LoneStar Speedway in Kilgore. The sweep included Schatz pacing the field in qualifying behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J, leading every lap of his heat, the dash and 30-lap A-Feature.

Following his victory at LoneStar, Schatz was en route to the Gator Motorplex in Willis, Texas where the Outlaws were scheduled to make their debut March 4. Persistent rain forced WoO officials to postpone the event until Thursday. Schatz will be looking to add the Gator Motorplex to the list of 81 different tracks where he’s amassed his 235 career WoO A-Feature triumphs.

Schatz enters this week’s action with a 72-point lead in the WoO championship standings. Through 14 of the 92 scheduled races, he has a series-best six victories and 10 top-five finishes. He will carry a streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes into Thursday’s event.

Thursday at the Gator Motorplex, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT and the grandstands open at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. More details are available by calling at (936) 588-6127, or by visiting gatormotorplex.net.

For Friday’s and Saturday’s races, the pit gates will open at 3 p.m. CDT while the grandstands open at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit devilsbowl.com or call 972-222-2421.
Race fans unable to attend the DIRTcar Nationals can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Live video coverage of the Texas Outlaw Nationals is available, on a pay-per-view basis or fans can listen to all three nights 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.

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:
 

The WoO schedule is filled with stops at tradition-filled tracks. This week, you return to Devil’s Bowl Speedway, where the Outlaws officially started. How important is it for the series to continue racing at venues like Devil’s Bowl?

 

“Racing at places like Devil’s Bowl is a huge part of this sport’s heritage. It’s crazy to think that 40 years ago Ted Johnson organized an event hoping to attract all the top Sprint car drivers. They showed up and it started what we all now know to be the World of Outlaws. It’s my life. It’s a lot of people’s life, and we all owe it to Ted and the tracks that took a chance. Lanny Edwards was one of those guys and Devil’s Bowl is a huge part of the history of the Outlaws. When we first started racing, that was one of the things you looked forward to – going to all the places you had heard about. Knoxville. Eldora. Williams Grove. Devil’s Bowl. Chico. Places you knew were going to be tough, but places where you wanted to someday become successful. We raced a lot at Devil’s Bowl early in my career and then stopped for a while. When we started going back there a few years ago, I really appreciated that chance. Some of those fans who were there that night were there that first-ever Outlaw race back in 1978. You want to reward those people and help carry the tradition on to their kids and grandkids, keep building fans and putting on the best show we can. I’m really looking forward to this weekend and racing at all the historic places on our schedule for many years to come.”

 

Thursday night’s race at Gator Motorplex will be the 15th of the season. What have you learned about the 2017 season so far?

“We’ve learned that you have to work extremely hard for everything you get out on the road with the Outlaws. I can’t thank Tony (Stewart) enough for putting together an incredible group of people to surround me with. We have new partners in Arctic Cat and Ford Performance this year who have really jumped on board and got behind us. My crew of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti work extremely hard every night to give me a fast racecar. Our goals are still the same as they were when we left for Florida to start the season two months ago. We are out here to win races. We are out here to learn as much as we can every night and try to find ways to improve. You do that by trying things. You do that by figuring out different ways to do things. We’ve got three races this week to see if we can find ways to get better. It starts Thursday in Willis, where we haven’t been, so we’re excited about that new challenge, and then we get to go back to Devil’s Bowl and get back on a bigger track for the first time in quite a while. That’s another challenge we’re looking forward to. In this sport, I’ve always believed you have to keep looking forward. The next race is the most important one.”

The season is very young, but the handwriting is on the wall, the die is cast, and Schatz has his work cut out for him. Nevertheless, Schatz is the 2017 face of TheWorld of Outlaws as they travel throughout the USA this summer putting on “The Best Show On Dirt” and now doubt will be the man to beat each and every week!

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

 

Donny Schatz Looks To Continue Winning As The WoO Rolls Into Stockton

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Constant improvement is the goal for Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) each and every night of competition with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series. What they learn now may help them later during one of the most grueling race schedules in all of motorsports. Their expectations continue to soar early in the 2017 campaign and, despite winning six of the first eight WoO A-Feature races, eight-time and reigning WoO champion Donny Schatz and his team of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti know they must continue getting better.

Improvement at this week’s venue, the Stockton (Calif.) Dirt Track, will be a tall order for the TSR No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J. Schatz swept both nights of the 2016 FVP Western Spring Shootout at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval located on the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds. Those results won’t factor in the team’s quest to continue one of the best starts a team has ever had in the 40-year history of “The Greatest Show on Dirt,” but the collection of notes from six previous races at the facility should help them build a solid plan of attack.

This weekend is the second leg of the Outlaws’ annual spring tour of the Golden State and, just as was the case last week, the TSR Arctic Cat/Ford Performance team enters the weekend as the series’ most recent winner. After seeing their five-race WoO winning streak end last Friday at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Schatz and crew bounced back in typical championship form by posting a complete nightSaturday at Thunderbowl that began with qualifying third and concluded with Schatz making bold late-race passes around Brad Sweet and Daryn Pittman to capture his first victory at the track since 2007.

The victory was his 15th career triumph in California and three of those have come in six starts at Stockton. The North Dakota driver first circled the track in the spring of 2013 and thrilled the capacity crowd with his run from 13th to third in the 30-lap A-Feature. His hard-charging runs continued the following spring when Schatz stormed from eighth to take the lead from Kerry Madsen. He would lead eight laps, but was ecplised for the victory by Madsen as the two came to the flagstand side by side for the win. In 2015, Schatz took opening-night qualifying honors and led 14 laps to score his first victory at the track by edging Shane Stewart. Last spring, Schatz again was the top qualifier in Friday’s program and later in the evening passed Brian Brown for the top spot on lap 16. He would lead the rest of the way for career win number two at Stockton. And, 24 hours later, he charged from sixth and drove around leader Joey Saldana on lap 25 and led the final five circuits to complete the weekend sweep.

With eight of 92 scheduled nights of racing complete, Schatz continues to lead the championship standings, holding a 72-point advantage over Brad Sweet. He tops several other categories including wins and top-fives with six each, top-10s with seven, and laps led with 84.

For both events this weekend at the Stockton Dirt Track, the pit gates will open at noon PDT while the grandstands open at 4 p.m. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit www.stocktondirttrack.com or call 844-DIRT-TIX.

Race fans unable to attend the DIRTcar Nationals can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Live audio is available so fans can listen 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.

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.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.

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/Curb J&J:
With a late-race pass last Saturday, you were able to return to victory lane at Thunderbowl Raceway. How important was it for you to end that winless streak at that track?

“I know I was pretty excited – really, mostly excited for my guys. They work so hard and continue to do everything they can to help me win. It’s no secret that we hadn’t won a race in Tulare in a long time. And that’s been a goal for us, to keep getting better at the things we don’t feel like we are good enough at. It’s a long list and we’re trying to check them off one at a time. We didn’t make the show at Tulare last year. A couple years before that, we led the feature and then crashed out. It’s a tough place to race and, if you can win there, you know you’ve accomplished something. We came into the weekend on a roll and honestly felt like we made some progress Friday night. That progress put us a position to winSaturday. Qualifying went well and then the car was just so good in the feature. We were all surprised that it took rubber, so it was just a matter of finding a way around those guys. When you are leading and in the rubber, you can’t move around. I took some chances and it paid off. That’s my job and that’s what Tony (Stewart) and everyone involved with this team expects.”

The results you’ve put at Stockton are the best you have at any California track. What’s been the biggest factor in your success at that facility?

“It all goes back to my team. Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti have a passion for winning that is second to none. They put me in a car every night that I have a chance to drive to the front with. As a driver, that’s all you can ask for. As far as Stockton goes, I’ve really enjoyed racing there every time we’ve been there. It’s a first-class facility, the fan support is awesome. We’ve had such great crowds come out and support us there. And the racing surface really is ideal for good racing. You almost always see a top and bottom groove in the feature. We’ve also been able to find a way to make the middle work there, too. That’s what you want as a driver – a track where you can move around. We’ve had some thrilling finishes there and that’s the kind of stuff that keeps people coming back. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Stockton and having the opportunity to race there again. It’s been a lot of fun in the past and we’re expecting it to be this weekend, as well.”

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

Donny Schatz Continues His Winning Ways Out West

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Dates: Thursday-Friday, March 9-10, 2017

Series: World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series

Location: The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Winners: Thursday – Donny Schatz of Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing

Friday – Schatz of Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing

TSR Results: Friday – Started 4th, Finished 1st/Running, completed 25 of 25 laps

Saturday – Started 2nd, Finished 1st/Running, completed 30 of 30 laps

TSR Points: Donny Schatz – (1st with 872 points, 74 ahead of second-place Jason Johnson and Brad Sweet)
After starting the 2017 World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series campaign by winning three of the first four races, Tony Stewart-Curb Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and the Arctic Cat/Ford Performance-backed team headed to Las Vegas this past weekend looking to continue setting a blistering pace during the Outlaws’ annual invasion at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. And when the dust settled Friday night, Schatz was the last one standing after collecting all the hardware, bonus cash and the momentum.

 

The eight-time and reigning WoO champion and his team of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti banked two more wins in dramatic fashion at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past weekend to push their current winning streak to five and continue one of the fastest starts in the 40-year history of “The Greatest Show on Dirt.” After dominating Thursday’s 25-lap A-Feature aboard the TSR No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance J&J, Schatz lost the lead on a late restart, but he wasn’t going to be denied. On the white-flag lap, he dove under Brian Brown in turns three and four and beat him to the finish line to score his 10th career triumph at the half-mile, dirt oval. With Thursday’s win, including an additional $5,000 cash bonus, in the bank, Schatz and crew came back Friday night looking for the Vegas sweep. He started second and chased down early leader Logan Schuchart and took the lead on lap 13 of the 30-lap contest. Schatz held the top spot for eight laps before Rico Abreu overtook Schatz with nine laps remaining. This time it was Schatz who took advantage of a restart and surged ahead of Abreu to retake the lead. Schatz pulled away during the final seven laps and became the first driver to sweep a Las Vegas WoO doubleheader since Steve Kinser pulled off the feat in March 2004.

“You just have to keep fighting and working for everything you get out here racing with the World of Outlaws and I wouldn’t want to go into a fight with any group more than these Arctic Cat/Ford Performance guys,” Schatz said after his 11th career Las Vegas win and 234th career WoO victory. “We always enjoy coming to Las Vegas. Obviously with everything going on here this weekend – the NASCAR races across the street, the CONEXPO convention being in town – there are a lot of people here watching and we wanted to do our best to come out on top. We know we have a bullseye on our backs and we thrive on that. We show up at these races with the goal of winning everything we can. The restart Thursday night probably wasn’t what we needed and we ended up using every lap to get the win. And then we come back the next night and take advantage of a late restart. That’s racing. And part of that is being prepared to take advantage of those opportunities. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone involved with our team. To get two wins in Las Vegas is incredible, and now it’s off to California, where we’ll look to keep our level of performance as high as we can.”

Race Notes:
• The Las Vegas sweep for Schatz extended his current winning streak to five. The streak matches the second longest of his 21-year WoO career. His longest winning streak of six races came in August and September of 2014. He won five consecutive races in June 2015.

• With his fifth win in the first six races, Schatz joins Steve Kinser and Doug Wolfgang as the only drivers in the Outlaws’ 40-year history to put up a winning percentage over 80 percent in the first half dozen WoO races. In 1981, Wolfgang also won five of the first six WoO races and, a decade later in 1991, Kinser won six of the first seven WoO races.

• Schatz now his 234 career WoO A-Feature and he ranks third all-time behind Steve Kinser (577) and Sammy Swindell (294).

• The sweep pushed his career victory total to 11 in 55 career starts at the half-mile, dirt oval. He is the winningest driver at The Dirt Track at LVMS.

• Badlands Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota, offered a $5,000 cash bonus to the winners ofThursday and Friday night’s A-Feature. Schatz ended up with both of the bonuses and the added component of having the chance to earn an extra bonus if he is able to win both Outlaw events at Badlands Speedway in early July.

• Schatz increased his lead the WoO championship standings from 20 points to 74 over Jason Johnson and Brad Sweet through six of the 92 scheduled races.

Up Next:

The Outlaws’ Kick-Off Tour continues this weekend with a doubleheader at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California for first two of seven nights of competition in the Golden State. Anything can happen at the high-banked, .33-mile dirt oval and usually does. Last March, Schatz went out early to qualify and on an extremely narrow racing surface wasn’t able to transfer into the A-Feature. The track is one of 82 different facilities where Schatz has won over his 21-year Outlaw career. The Fargo, North Dakota racer is looking to return to victory lane this weekend for the first time at the track since his win in October 2007.

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

Tony Stewart’s Returns To Sprint Car Racing Is Less Than Sterling

Tony Stewart
This week Tony Stewart has returned to sprint car racing, though his first race back provided him more frustration than frivolity.

Stewart finished a disappointing 17th in the 26-car main event late Thursday at Bubba Raceway Park.  Just as side note, Smoke ended the night arguing with a fellow driver!

Stewart was driving a sprint car for the first time since he accidentally struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a race in upstate New York in 2014. Stewart is still facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Ward family.

The three-time NASCAR champion, who retired after last season, declined comment after the dirt-track event out of respect for the Ward family and later told The Associated Press he didn’t want to comment out of respect to the Wards.

He plans to keep a low profile during the event, racing again Friday and Saturday at the three-eighths mile track.

Sprint car racing is Stewart’s passion and how he plans to spend much of his retirement. He owns the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions series, which opened its season Thursday night in Ocala. Given his status and star power, Stewart had the best spot in the pits, just a few steps from the track.

There were barricades alongside his stall, a little something extra to keep the near-capacity crowd a few feet away. Stewart declined photo and autograph requests between breaks, telling those who asked that he would do it all after the finale.

It capped what surely had been a long day for Stewart, who arrived in Ocala early in the week and then flew up and back to Detroit early Thursday to join Stewart-Haas Racing drivers Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick for a Ford event that included a tour of the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.

Stewart’s crew in Ocala included his dad, his girlfriend and his dog.

Although he started his heat race from the pole, he faded to sixth, failed to qualify for the A Main and then slammed his helmet on a table in his hauler. He eventually managed to race his way into the main event by finishing second in the B Main. He was a non-factor in the finale, won by which Tony Stewart Racing teammate Donny Schatz.

For the last two years, it was unclear when, or if, Stewart would get back in a sprint car after Ward’s death. Stewart, who broke his right leg in a 2013 sprint car crash, was emotionally devastated and the incident was made worse by the accusation that he had intentionally targeted Ward, who had climbed out onto the track to confront the NASCAR veteran. A grand jury declined to indict Stewart.

Ward’s mother, Pamela, told the AP on Thursday that the family could not comment on Stewart until the civil suit they’ve filed is over. She said a date for the trial, which will be held this year in Utica, New York, has not yet been set. The Wards are seeking unspecified damages.

Ward also said she was unaware Stewart was returning to sprint car racing.

An important update:  Stewart withdrew from Saturday night’s finale, which resulted in the release of this statement from his public relations representative:

“Tony Stewart has scratched for the evening (Saturday night) and is reconsidering his schedule with the All Star Circuit of Champions due to his ownership of the series. Requirements of owning and managing the series supersede his own driving ambitions. We apologize for the change in tonight’s schedule and appreciate everyone’s understanding.”

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