|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/
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/
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.
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.
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.
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.com, www.arcticcat.com, andwww.donnyschatzmotorsports.com
Tony Stewart Racing: Facebook at www.Facebook.com/
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/
|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