|INDIANAPOLIS (June 2, 2016) – “No matter how many times you’ve been down the road, things aren’t going to be the same, especially when it comes to dirt track racing.”
Those were words Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz quipped 10 years ago as he was learning how to become a World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman® Sprint Car Series champion. And he admits they still ring true today while in the midst of his 20th season of competing with “The Greatest Show on Dirt.”
The seven-time and reining WoO champion, along with his veteran TSR crew of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti, continue the 2016 WoO campaign with a weekend doubleheader in Ohio and Michigan to kick off a busy June that includes 12 nights of racing at 11 facilities in 11 different states.
First up for Schatz will be Friday night’s Kistler Engines Smackdown at Fremont (Ohio) Speedway, followed up by the Outlaws’ annual stop in Western Michigan at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa for the “Rumble in Michigan.”
The driver of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance J&J leads the series with seven 2016 victories and 29 top-10s, including 16 consecutive top-10 finishes, through the first 31 races. Schatz entered last week’s action with two wins and a podium finish before coming home 10th at New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway, fifth in the Circle K/NOS Energy Drink Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway last Friday night and sixth Monday at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway.
Returning to Fremont is a welcome one for Schatz, who is the most recent winner at the 1/3-mile, semi-banked, dirt oval. The Fargo, North Dakota racer drove from sixth to first in September 2013 to pick up his first career win at the track and, one year later, he raced to victory in the Last Chance Showdown to transfer into the 24-car field before charging from the 11th starting position to record his second consecutive Fremont victory and 26th of the 2014 WoO season.
Several tracks have been regular stops during Schatz’s 20 years of WoO competition, including I-96 Speedway. He first made laps at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval during his rookie season in 1997 and Saturday’srace marks the 10th consecutive season he and the Outlaws will do battle at the track. Schatz added I-96 to the list of tracks where he’s earned a WoO A-Feature triumph on May 31, 2014, when he overtook Brad Sweet and led the final 15 laps of the 35-lap race. Last June, Schatz was looking to make it two consecutive wins at the track and six wins in a row on the season. He took the lead from 20-time WoO champion Steve Kinser on lap 16 and held the top spot until lap 29, when Sweet slid his way in front of Schatz coming out of turn two. Schatz chased him down over the final laps but couldn’t get back around him and finished second.
Schatz has amassed 4,254 points and ranks second in the championship standings, 37 markers behind Sweet. In addition to leading the series in wins and top-10s, he tops the series with seven KSE Hard Charger Awards, has earned 19 top-five finishes and has led 79 laps on the season.
For Friday’s race at Fremont, the pit gates open at 3 p.m. EDT and grandstands open at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit fremontohspeedway.com or call419-333-0478.
Saturday at I-96 Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. EDT and the grandstands at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit i96speedway.com or call616-642-0555.
Race fans unable to attend this week’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. 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 cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go towww.DIRTVision.com for more information.