The beat goes on for Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) along the challenging World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series barnstorming tour. In the midst of a modern day dynasty, TSR’s Donny Schatz carries a five-race winning streak into the weekend doubleheader at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California.
To say the pace Schatz is setting through six races has been torrid would be huge understatement. He’s parked the TSR No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J in victory lane in all but one Outlaw A-Feature. He credits his crew of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson, and Brad Mariscotti for continuing to raise the bar and always looking for ways to get better. With three consecutive WoO titles and 82 WoO A-Features wins the past three seasons, the expectations for the team continue to rise. Predicting a strong start wouldn’t have been a longshot, but no one saw the five out of six sizzling beginning coming. Their next challenge is conquering California.
Over the next three weeks, the eight-time and reigning champion will look to continue his winning ways beginning Friday night at the 1/3-mile dirt oval located in Central California, where the Outlaws have made an annual spring stop since 2007. It’s been 15 races at the action-packed bullring since Schatz last visited victory lane at the facility back in October 2007. That win was his 70th career WoO A-Feature triumph and came one day after Schatz and Tony Stewart unveiled his first TSR No. 15 during a press conference in Charlotte. He’s won 164 WoO A-Features since that night and the team wants to make that 165 Friday and continue improving their results at each stop on the Outlaw tour.
California has been a fertile ground of success for Schatz the past two seasons, where he’s won eight of his 14 career triumphs in the state. He would like to add to that win ratio this weekend, but racing in Tulare has been anything but predictable over the past few years. In 2015, he was involved in an early crash and drove his way back to finish eighth and he followed that up with a fourth-place run in the second program. Rain played havoc last March and only one night of competition was completed. Schatz went out early in qualifying and found himself buried in the field all night long.
The one thing that has been predictable through the first six WoO races this season has been the presence of Schatz. After a frustrating night in the season opener, the green and black Arctic Cat No. 15 has come out victorious in every race since. He became only the third driver in Outlaw history to win two WoO A-Features in the same day on February 19. That day he scored an afternoon victory and followed with a run from 17th-to-first in the nightcap to close out the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida. Two weeks later, he dominated the night at LoneStar Speedway in Kilgore, Texas, by pacing the field in qualifying, winning his heat, the dash and leading all 35 laps of the A-Feature. Last weekend, he swept both nights of the FVP Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Through six of 92 scheduled nights of racing, Schatz leads the championship standings by 74 points over Jason Johnson and Brad Sweet. He tops all other categories including wins (5), top-fives (5), top-10s (5), and laps led (81).
For both events this weekend at Thunderbowl Raceway, the pit gates will be open throughout the day while the grandstands open at 4 p.m. PDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit tularethunderbowl.com.
Race fans unable to attend the DIRTcar Nationals can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Live video coverage is available, on a pay-per-view basis or 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/
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/
|Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J:|
|With five wins to start the season, you are in some pretty select company. Only Steve Kinser and Doug Wolfgang have had similar starts to World of Outlaw seasons. How does that make you feel?
“Those guys were my heroes. So anytime you can be mentioned with them, it’s an incredible accomplishment. You can’t dwell on it though. I’m sure in their day it was all about the next race. That’s how we look at it. Sure winning five in a row is great, but the next race is the most important one. That’s the way we do business here at TSR. You enjoy the win until you pull out of the gate and then the attention goes to the next race. My whole team should be included when they mention the start to the season or any kind of streak. They are incredible. Tony has surrounded me with a tremendous team. We just continue to push each other. The work is never done.”
The next challenge for you and the team is the World of Outlaws annual run through California. Your success rate in California continues to improve, but its still one of the tougher regions to compete on the schedule. What makes winning in California so tough?
“The biggest thing is adapting to the California mentality when you are out there. The tracks typically make for exciting races because they are small. The racing surface typically stays wet and rough longer and you alwayys have to be ready for the next corner. It’s not like it’s a chess match where you have time to make things happen. You have to react to things in a split second. That’s where the experience of racing with the World of Outlaws comes into play. There isn’t much that comes my way that I haven’t been faced with before. You try to make the right decisions and learn from the ones that don’t go your way. We spent a few hours testing Monday working on some things and I am really looking forward to racing at Tulare. It’s been a long time since we’ve won there and that’s something we’d like to change soon.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!