|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.
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/
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/
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!