MINOT, N.D. – (Sept. 18) Last May when Donny Schatz was asked to participate in Tony Stewart’s annual charity race, the Feed the Children Prelude to the Dream, he knew it was going to be something he would always remember. On Tuesday in his hometown of Minot, N.D.,  he closed the book on the experience when he returned to help members from Feed the Children and Community Action Partnership – Minot Region distribute food and non-perishable items to those in need.

“It’s just an honor to be able to help people in my hometown,” said Schatz. “This is where it all started for me. I grew up here and being able to do something like this is pretty rewarding. Tony Stewart is involved in a number of great charities. He gives back in so many ways. It was exciting to race in the Prelude to the Dream, and I’m just as happy that I could be part of this.”

Schatz, the four-time World of Outlaws (WoO) champion, competed in the June 4 dirt late model event at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, and finished an impressive fourth in the race that included Stewart, five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Indycar racer Tony Kanaan, NHRA stars Ron Capps and Cruz Pedregon and several other very accomplished drivers. It was his first time behind wheel of a dirt late model, a race car quite different than his traditional Outlaw Winged Sprint Car.

“It was a heck of a lot fun to be racing with some of the greats in all of motorsports,” admitted Schatz, who drives the No. 15 STP backed machine for Tony Stewart Racing with the Outlaws. “I didn’t have any idea of what I was getting myself into, but Darrell Lanigan and his crew gave me a great car. We had a little trouble trying to avoid a crash in front of me and the car got smashed up a bit, but we hung in there and got a top five. I had a blast.”

By finishing fourth in the event, Schatz was able to chose a destination where supplies for 400 families, including a box of non-perishable food, a box of personal supplies and a case of bottled water would be delivered. There was an easy choice for Schatz, and it was his hometown of Minot, which has battled back from massive flooding during the summer of 2011. Feed The Children teamed with Community Action Partnership – Minot Region in targeting families to benefit from the program and arranged Tuesday’s distribution.

“Days like these are ones you remember,” continued Schatz. “We saw a lot of happy people today and that’s what it’s all about. The people getting the food where happy and everyone involved from Feed the Children and the Community Action Partnership were happy. Definitely a win, win situation. I like being in those situations.”

Schatz is hoping to find another positive situation this weekend when he returns to Eldora Speedway for Friday’s 4-Crown Nationals, one of only 10 remaining 2012 events. Schatz enters the week as the points leader in his quest and he’s looking to continue his recent late-season surge that has included 20 top-10 finishes in his last 22 starts and five straight finishes of either first or second. The Fargo, N.D. has six career wins at the famed, half-mile dirt oval with his most recent being the 2009 Kings Royal.

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