Tony Stewart Racing Teams Begin Stretch Run Toward WoO Championship
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 31, 2012) – The numbers are all still in play in the 2012 World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series championship fight. In just 64 days a champion will be crowned, and it’s looking like a two-team race with each having a pair of viable candidates. Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser both have plenty of experience winning WoO championships and know success this weekend in northwest Washington and western Oregon would certainly enhance their title chances.
The TSR teammates head to Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash., for races Friday and Saturday night. Kinser, who drove the TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/ Chevrolet Maxim to a $20,000 Skagit victory two years ago, and Schatz, pilot of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J, are coming off a pair of top-five finishes. The only problem with those finishes is the duo they’re chasing in the standings – Big Game Treestands teammates Craig Dollansky and Sammy Swindell – have won the last three races.
Dollansky leads the Outlaw standings through 55 of 74 scheduled races with 7,291 points. Schatz and Swindell are tied for second with 7,252, 39 back. Kinser is fourth with 7,208 points, 83 out of first heading into the weekend. It’s almost 2,900 miles from Skagit to The Dirt Track @ Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the 2012 champion will hoist the hardware but, with 20 nights of racing left, anything can happen.
The Outlaws first raced at Skagit during their inaugural season back in 1978. Kinser was in the field that night and has made 19 starts at the 1/3-mile track. The 20-time WoO champion earned his first Skagit triumph in August 1995, when he picked up a preliminary victory. Schatz has raced at the track nestled in the deep woods of northwestern Washington on 13 occasions. He earned his first podium finish in 2002, when he finished third and scored his only victory at the track during a preliminary program in August 2006. He finished fourth in last year’s finale at Skagit.
Following the Skagit doubleheader, Schatz and Kinser will venture south down Interstate 5 to Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Ore., for a Labor Day night race Monday. It will be the Outlaws’ debut at the quarter-mile dirt oval, which would be good news for Schatz. The four-time WoO champion won the Outlaws’ most recent debut event when he led every lap of the feature July 29 at Cornwall (Ontario) Speedway.
Oregon also is a special place for Schatz as it was in the “Beaver State” where he claimed his first-ever WoO A-Feature triumph. During his second season running with the Outlaws back in 1998, Schatz was involved in a three-car battle for the lead at Riverside Speedway in Cottage Grove with Kinser and Swindell. It was pretty elite pair for the 20-year-old to be competing with and ultimately defeating for the win. The memorable night was the first of many triumphs during what has become a terrific career for the North Dakota native.
Friday and Saturday at Skagit Speedway, the grandstands open at 5 p.m. PDT. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. More details are available by visitingwww.SkagitSpeedway.com.
For Monday’s WoO debut at Willamette Speedway, the grandstands open at 4 p.m. PDT. Racing is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. More details are available by visiting www.TrophyMotorsports.com.
Race fans unable to attend these races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Sprint Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go towww.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J:
If not for a flat-tire last Friday at Castrol Speedway, your streak of top-fives would be intact since winning at Cornwall on July 29. What’s helped you maintain that consistency of late?
“It’s been a total team effort. The STP guys have really worked hard to give me a good car to drive every night. We feel like we’ve got two really good cars right now. We’ve been much better qualifying and that’s given us better starting spots. For most of the year, we had to charge from the middle of the pack up to the top-five. Now, we’re starting up there and that’s helped our results tremendously. This is winning time. We know, if we are going to have any shot at this championship, we have to finish in the top-five every night from here on out. Our goal starts with winning every race but, if we can’t do that, we have to be in contention to win.”
On Monday night, you’ll make your debut at another track. Is it fun going to new tracks?
“Yeah, it’s great going to new places. We have to keep racing in new markets and reaching more fans. The key is going to new places and going back each year so the event can build from year to year. You can’t go to a new place one year and then wait two or three years to go back. You give fans a good show and then come back the next year. Hopefully, they’ll come back and bring a few more people with them.
“As far as racing goes, I enjoy that part, too. You kind of take a look at the track and compare it to someplace else and start from there. We’ve had some fun going to new places this year, including Cornwall, where we won. I’d like to get another win in Oregon, that’s for sure. Not only did I win my first Outlaw race in Oregon, we won again in Cottage Grove back in 2008, when the points battle was really heating up. Wins in Oregon always seem to be pretty special. I’m pretty sure one Monday night would feel pretty good, too.”