The mantra has been the same for Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz and the TSR Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance team in World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series competition the past decade.
Win races and everything else will take care of itself.
|The results over the past five seasons have been difficult to argue as Schatz has posted 124 wins since the start of the 2013 season and will look to continue that trend this weekend with a pair of late-season races at Midwestern dirt tracks. The eight-time and reigning WoO champion enters Friday’s FVP Platinum Battery Shootout at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas with 19 WoO A-Feature triumphs on the season following Saturday night’s victory in the Nittany Showdown at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway.
If he can pick up his second career victory at the Lakeside Speedway half-mile, dirt oval, the pilot of the TSR No. 15 Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J will become the only driver in the 40-year history of the Outlaws to capture 20 or more WoO A-Feature wins in five consecutive seasons. If the results are anything other than a victory Friday, Schatz will look to reach that milestone at Salina (Okla.) Highbanks Speedway Saturday night and make the 3/8-mile, dirt oval in Northeast Oklahoma the 82nd different facility where he’s scored a WoO A-Feature during his 21 seasons with “The Greatest Show on Dirt.”
One other milestone that is attainable this weekend for the Fargo, North Dakota resident is scoring his 250th career WoO A-Feature win. Schatz trails only Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell in all-time WoO A-Feature wins and last Saturday’s victory was his 248th.
The season has been another banner year for Schatz, who is in the midst of his 10th season driving for TSR. He and the TSR team of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti opened the campaign by winning three of the first five Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions races in Florida and continued their hot start by collecting six of the first eight Outlaw checkered flags. In July, Schatz became first driver in the 34-year history of the Kings Royal to win the $50,000 first prize in consecutive seasons, and he earned his 10th Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals victory just four weeks later. The team is in position to earn its fourth consecutive WoO championship with six races remaining.
When he returns to action Friday, Schatz will be looking to add a second Kansas victory to his 2017 win log. In early May, Schatz led from flag to flag at 81 Speedway, just outside of Wichita, to complete a weekend sweep. He first circled Lakeside during the 2001 season and finished 10th. It was during his 10th start there in July 2015 when he broke through and first won at the track. Ironically, he started 10th that night. Last October, he raced from 12th to sixth in the 30-lap A-Feature.
One of the 19 wins for Schatz this season came at a track where he hadn’t won before. In March, he won at LoneStar Speedway in Kilgore, Texas in a clean sweep. He was the fastest qualifier, won his heat race, won the Craftsman Club Dash and led all 35 laps of the A-Feature. Schatz would like to add another first career win Saturday at Salina. He has five previous starts at the 3/8-mile, high-banked dirt oval with his best result coming in his first appearance. In 2011, Schatz stormed from 18th to second and almost caught eventual race-winner Craig Dollansky on the final lap. Last October, Schatz finished fifth in the 30-lap race.
Schatz and his TSR team have completed 78 WoO races to date this season and top the series with their 19 wins, as well as their 62 top-five and 70 top-10 finishes. They have earned 10,824 points and hold a 162-point advantage over Brad Sweet and his Kasey Kahne Racing team with three weekends of racing remaining.
For both Friday’s race at Lakeside and Saturday’s race at Salina, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDTand the grandstands open at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. More details regarding the Lakeside race are available by calling at (913) 299-9206, or by visiting lakesidespeedway.net, and more information about the race at Salina is available by calling at 815-344-2023, or by visiting salinahighbanksspeedw
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 both Saturday night’s and Sunday night’s races and free audio coverage is available for all three nights as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Craftsman Sprint Car Series races on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network.
Fans are encouraged to follow the progress of Schatz, TSR and the No. 15 Textron Off Road/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.textronoffroad.com, www.arcticcat.com and www.donnyschatzmotorsports.com
Tony Stewart Racing: Facebook at www.Facebook.com/
Textron Off Road: Facebook atwww.facebook.com/
Arctic Cat: Facebook at www.facebook.com/arcticcat.
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:|
The weekend offers an opportunity to reach a pair of milestones. Do you feel like you are in a good position to race for victories at both Lakeside and Salina?
“Heading into this weekend, we’ve been really consistent and that momentum is really the key to competing with the World of Outlaws series. We’ve had a solid string of top-five, top-three finishes and a win in this last stretch. I said last week at Port Royal that getting wins late in the season was big. We just try to take it one night at a time and look at the next race as the most important one. We struggled at Lakeside for a long time before I got my first win there a couple of years ago. We use to race there in the summer, so running later in the year makes for a bit of a different approach. The weather this late in the season plays a factor. I’m looking forward to another opportunity and always think it’s a cool atmosphere when we share a market with NASCAR. I know a lot of their fans come out and support us, too. And, as far as Salina goes, I’ve never gotten a win there. It would be pretty cool to get my first win at Salina this weekend, not only for me but for our team and Textron Off Road, Arctic Cat, Curb and Ford Performance.”
With only six races remaining in the schedule, does the approach change at all for you or your team? And does the fact that you have a solid lead in the championship standings factor into that for these final races?
“We’ve attacked the championship the same way for the last 10 years and we’ve not changed our approach. The way we’ve done things has worked out pretty well the majority of the time. It helps to be running really well right now, to be making gains with the racecar. With only six races to go, we’re in a better spot of advantage rather than a disadvantage. With that being said, six races still offer a lot of time for mistakes to be made and for bad luck to occur. Hopefully, everything will come together and we’ll be able to celebrate a championship with Textron Off Road, Arctic Cat, Curb and Ford Performance.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!