Tony Stewart Racing Teammates
Look To Conquer Rolling Wheels Raceway
INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 3, 2012) – As a driver leading the race, the only thing better than seeing the flagman give the “five-to-go” signal is seeing the checkered flag. Saturday’s World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series race at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, N.Y., represents the five-races-to-go signal for Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz, who is closing in on his fifth WoO title.
The driver of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J will lead rest of the Outlaws to Rolling Wheels for the second time in 2012. For the fourth consecutive October, the Outlaws’ late-season event in New York has become part of the annual NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week festivities. Schatz, who carries a 158-point lead with five races remaining, heads to the central New York 5/8-mile dirt oval on a roll following last Saturday’s historic triumph in the 50th annual Morgan Hughes National Open at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. The Fargo, N.D., racer became the only driver to win the prestigious event five times, snapping a tie with his TSR teammate Steve Kinser.
Defeating Kinser anywhere has been a goal for Schatz throughout his 16-year WoO career. Schatz will always remember June 2, 2004, not because it was Kinser’s 50th birthday, but because it was the night of his first victory at Rolling Wheels. Schatz passed Kinser for the lead late in the race and earned the victory and denied Kinser a victory on his milestone birthday. Two years later, Schatz scored his second victory at the track he recalls being nicknamed “Spinning Wheels.” His victory in May 2006 began a stretch of five consecutive podium finishes, including a pair of second-place runs in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, he took the lead from Tim Shaffer only to have Shaffer reclaim the spot following a late restart. In 2010, he was the fastest qualifier in the 31-car field and raced from sixth to second in the main event. Last year, Schatz and Kinser tangled on the opening lap and never returned to action.
Both TSR teams competed at the track this past May. Kinser finished fifth and Schatz was eighth.
With 69 nights of racing complete, Schatz is closing in on his fifth championship. He is at or near the top of every statistical category and has 11 wins, one behind leader Sammy Swindell’s 12. His 36 top-fives and 57 top-10s are both series bests. He has led 296 laps this season, second to Swindell’s 314. He is tied with Kerry Madsen for most pole positions earned at seven, and he leads with seven KSE Hard Charger Awards for the year. The STP team is the midst of an incredible run to close the campaign. Since July 29, they’ve had 26 races, winning eight, finishing second six times with 23 top-five.
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J:
Last weekend’s National Open victory continued your incredible run since late July. How big of a win was that for you and the team?
“I’m still not sure it’s quite sunk in that I’ve won the National Open five times. I can still remember (WoO founder) Ted (Johnson) taking me for a ride on the track in his golf cart in front of Beer Hill so I could understand just what it meant to be an Outlaw racing at Williams Grove. They were booing us then and, thankfully, I have been able to hear some more boos there. I never dreamed my name would be up there with Steve Kinser, Sammy Swindell and Doug Wolfgang. We got four of them and had a really hard time getting that fifth one. To see the look on the faces of my crew, they were really happy. I’ve got two guys (Rick Warner and Eric Prutzman) who are both from that area and that race is the one they grew wanting to win. Any time you can win a race like that, it’s a huge shot in the arm. I know this team has been motivated to win all year and with the roll we’re on now, no one wants it to end. We know the year is almost over. We only have five more races to go.”
This weekend’s race at Rolling Wheels gives you a chance at redemption for last year’s opening-lap crash. What are your thoughts heading into the race?
“I’m looking forward to it. Any time you are winning races, you can’t wait to get to the next one. Last year, our night at Rolling Wheels was really frustrating as we had just come from Williams Grove and didn’t fare as well as we’d hoped in the National Open. Jason Meyers was on a three-race winning streak and we were trying to catch him in the points race. Nothing seemed to be going our way. We were starting sixth and went into turns three and four to start the race and ended up spinning out in front of the field. Steve (Kinser) hit us at full speed, and the contact pretty much junked both cars. That pretty much sealed up the championship for Meyers, so it wasn’t the best of nights. Actually, we’ve been pretty good there in the past and just came up short in 2009 and 2010, so we’ve got some motivation to get to victory lane Saturday. I’m just looking forward to getting to the track. We are having so much fun racing together right now. ”