Tony Stewart Racing Teams Take Their Talents North of the Border
INDIANAPOLIS (July 25, 2012) – There are few boundaries when it comes to the excitement the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series offers on any given night. For the sixth consecutive season, the Outlaws will travel into Canada and stage international events to close a busy July. Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz have been very successful north of the border the last few seasons and both hope that continues during the four-race run through Quebec and Ontario.
The action begins Friday when the Outlaws make their debut at Autodrome Granby (Quebec), a half-mile dirt oval located near Montreal. Saturday, the series will make its third appearance at Autodromme Drummond in Drummondville, Quebec. The barnstorming Canadian tour continues Sunday at another new facility for the Outlaws when they venture to Cornwall (Ontario) Motor Speedway. The “North of the Border” tour will conclude Tuesday at Ohsweken (Ontario) Speedway.
Schatz, pilot of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J, has enjoyed racing in Canada with the Outlaws during the past six seasons. His consistency at Ohsweken has been incredible. He finished second in his first three starts before coming in third in the opener in 2010. The following night, he led all 30 laps to win his first A-Feature at Ohsweken. Last season, he started 20th and charged up to sixth while Tony Stewart raced to his first career WoO A-Feature triumph.
If the first 43 races this season are any indication, this four-race run through eastern Canada should only make the championship standings even tighter. Kinser has led the standings since his victory at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa., in May, but has been tied by Schatz for the lead, held slight advantages over Sammy Swindell, and now Craig Dollansky. Kinser enters Canada with an 11-point advantage over Dollansky with Schatz 23 points back. The remarkable thing is that neither Kinser nor Schatz have topped the charts in qualifying this season, yet Swindell and Dollansky have earned top qualifying honors, and valuable points, eight and seven times, respectively.
With 43 of the 72 scheduled nights of racing completed, Schatz has remained within striking distance despite his struggles qualifying. The four-time WoO champion has earned 5,610 points, won three A-Features, picked up 15 top-fives, and scored a series-best 33 top-10s.
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J:
The four-race run through Canada starts at a track where you’ve never been and ends at a track where you’ve been extremely successful. What is your game plan heading into this four-race tour?
“We just have to get better early in the night. Autodrome Granby is a place that I’ve never been to, but they say it’s a half-mile and we’ve been able to race pretty well on tracks of that size this year. Hopefully, we’ll be able to qualify in the top-10 and have a better shot at being in the dash. We’ve proven that we can race from the back of the pack. I’d sure like to be starting up front all four nights. As far as the two places where we have raced (Drummond and Ohsweken), I feel pretty good about our chances. Two years ago, we led the first part of the race (at Drummond) and were in a pretty good battle with Steve (Kinser) until we had an ignition problem. Ohsweken seems to be one of those places we’re always pretty good. We finished second there the first three races there and finally won one there a couple of years ago. Last year, it was just qualifying that took us out of having a chance to win. We started deep in the heat and just about got to second and then, in the main event, we raced from 20th to sixth.”
The Canadian tour closes the month of July and everybody knows what is coming in August. How important is it to gain some consistency as you close out July?
“There isn’t some switch we turn when the calendar changes to August. I’d say this weekend is really important if we’re going to be serious contenders for anything the rest of the year. We have four races and likely we’ll be battling just the guys who follow the tour. If we can’t qualify better and race for wins, I’m not sure how anyone could consider us title contenders. This is a chance for us to improve some things and, at the same time, get better every time we hit the track.”