INDIANAPOLIS (April 3, 2013) – The traveling odyssey from dirt track to dirt track continues this weekend for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series as the spring California tour marches on. For the fourth consecutive weekend, Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz will chase victory in the Golden State racing Friday at Antioch (Calif.) Speedway and Saturday at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway. Five different drivers have won the first five races of the California tour and Schatz is vying to join the list.
The race Friday will be the Outlaws’ third-ever event at the 3/8-mile, high-banked dirt oval in Antioch. The first two have been thrillers, with the outcome in doubt until the end each time. Last September, Schatz raced the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J into the lead during a late restart but came up just a few feet short of victory and finished second.
Saturday’s stop at scenic Calistoga Speedway will be the 25th race at the half-mile oval over the past 28 years. Schatz has won twice in the last seven races at Calistoga, including last September when he led all 25 laps en route to the victory. The win was his second in a five-race swing last fall that allowed him to seize control of the WoO championship standings. The Fargo, N.D., racer would go on to claim his fifth series title in the last seven seasons.
Schatz is looking to pick up some positive momentum during this weekend’s doubleheader. Schatz opened the nine-race California tour by leading the first 14 laps of the 35-lap A-Feature at Thunderbowl Raceway before a broken front axle ended his night. His charge from 13th to third at Stockton 99 Dirt Track has been the highlight of the tour so far. The California tour concludes next weekend with races at Kings Speedway in Hanford Friday and the SoCal Showdown Saturday at Perris Auto Speedway.
With 11 races of the 2013 WoO STP Sprint Car Series 85-race schedule complete, Schatz has a victory, three top-fives and seven top-10s and ranks fifth in the WoO championship standings. The five-time and reigning WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion has 1,424 points and is currently 154 markers behind leader Daryn Pittman.
Friday at Antioch, the grandstands open at 1 p.m. PDT. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For Saturday’s race at Calistoga, the grandstands open at 1 p.m. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. More information and ticket details for both events are available at WorldofOutlaws.com/tickets or by calling (877) 395-8606.
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J:
The California tour continues with another short track on Friday night. How does Antioch compare to some of the other California tracks?
“It’s a neat little track with some good banking in the corners and short straightaways. The surface is pretty similar where it’s pretty wet early in the night. We’ve been there twice and had two completely opposite results. The first year, we were one of the first cars to go out and qualify and the track kept getting better and better. That pretty much put us behind the eight ball for the rest of the night and we never really got going that great. Last year, we qualified in the perfect spot (seventh), won our heat, won the dash and had a shot to win on the last lap. Our goal is to have the same kind of night Friday. We haven’t had the results we’ve wanted so far on this tour, but we still have a chance to end it with some successful nights.”
The weekend concludes with a race at Calistoga Speedway and your first opportunity in almost a month on a bigger track. How different is racing on the bigger tracks?
“It’s still about getting your car to perform as best as possible. The bigger tracks just allow for you to use more speed. At the smaller tracks, you are in traffic pretty quickly and so much of the racing is on and off the throttle. On the bigger tracks, you can work on getting your car right and if the track surface slows down a little bit, you can actually set guys up to do some passing. We’ve had a really good package for the bigger tracks and Calistoga has been a favorite of mine. We’re all working hard to try and get the results we expect. If you look at how most of the races have gone here in California, it seems like it all goes back to how you qualify. If you can qualify inside the inversion, your chances of starting up front for the feature are pretty good. We had a really good run of qualifying last fall when we made our move in the championship standings. We qualified well, put ourselves in position to win and finished on the podium quite a few times. That’s the same formula for success right now. We need to qualify well at both the smaller tracks and the bigger ones. This weekend, we’ll have a chance to do both.”