And then there were 10. After traveling all across the Continental United States and into three provinces of Canada since February, the 2013 World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series schedule only has 10 more A-Features to be contested this season. It can be considered the Outlaws’ own version of a “Chase to the Title” or “Countdown to the Championship.” No, the WoO point standings weren’t reset following Sunday’s race at Antioch (Calif.) Speedway, the 66th of the season.
Instead, Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz will look to cut into Daryn Pittman’s 66-point advantage this weekend with races Friday at Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer, Iowa, and Saturday at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn.
Schatz will continue his pursuit of a sixth WoO championship behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J.
The Outlaws have raced at Clay County seven times since 2007. Schatz has finished in the top-10 each time. The five-time and reigning WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion won the first two appearances in 2007 and 2008 and scored his third A-Feature triumph at the track last fall. The 2007, 2008 and 2012 victories came during championship seasons for Schatz. Earning his fourth victory at Clay County Friday won’t guarantee Schatz this year’s title, but it would enhance his chances. In 2010 and 2011, he finished third and his only finishes off the podium were sixth in 2009 and eighth in June 2012.
Saturday’s race at Deer Creek will close out the Outlaws’ final weekend of action in the Midwest. Schatz has been the model of consistency in his four races at Deer Creek, finishing second three times. When the Outlaws made their debut at the track in the fall of 2009, Schatz led 28 laps of the A-Feature but couldn’t lead the final two and secure the win. His performance last year may have been his finest as he raced from the 17th starting position all the way into the lead on the final lap, passing leader Craig Dollansky heading into turns one and two. Dollansky was able to get back by in the final corners to hold on for the win.
In the Outlaws’ most recent Midwest races, Schatz came out victory at Nodak Speedway in Minot, N.D. Kinser led most of the race but Schatz came out on top. That result culminated a superb week of action, which included TSR winning five consecutive races. TSR’s Steve Kinser won the Outlaws’ stop in Nebraska Aug. 13, just three days after Schatz made his historic run from 21st to first to earn his seventh Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals victory and three days before Schatz led all 40 laps at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D.
With 66 WoO A-Features in the books for 2013, Schatz leads the series with a career-best 19 A-Feature wins, 10 more than Tim Kaeding’s nine. The Fargo, N.D., racer is tied with Pittman for most top-10s with 53 and trails Pittman by one for most top-fives with 40.
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J:
The season is down to 10 races and your quest to win a championship is going to include having to overcome a 66-point deficit. What’s your game plan heading into the weekend?
“As far as we’re concerned, nothing has changed. We know if we go out every night and try to be the fastest qualifier, win our heat, the dash and the feature, then things will work out. We can’t control what happens with other guys or anyone else. It’s just a matter of putting up the kind of results we expect to. Honestly, we have 10 races to go and, by the time we get to Charlotte for the World Finals, we’ll only have two left. That’s really the only time we can start thinking about deficits, point leads, margins or what it’s going to take to win the title. Right now, we know there are still a lot of races left that we really want to win.
This weekend’s doubleheader offers races somewhat close to your home area. How much fun is it for you to race at these tracks?
“It’s amazing what being out on the Outlaws tour for 17 years will do for you. I feel fortunate to have made friends all over the country and actually all over the world thanks to racing in Australia the past dozen years or so. In the last month, we’ve raced in my home state of North Dakota, Edmonton, Washington, Oregon and California, and I spent time with friends that I’ve made through racing at all of them. Coming back to race at Clay County and Deer Creek is special, too. It’s close enough from home to where a lot of my family members can come to the races and an area where I’ve raced throughout my career. This is always the first weekend after the big run through California, and you know there aren’t many more races left. We’ve been really good at both tracks and have had some really good races. Any time you can move around on the track and have multiple lines to chose from, that makes the racing good. When the racing is good, the fans love the show and that’s what we’re hoping for. Last year, we won at Spencer and the next night came from deep in the field and nearly made it two straight. It was pretty exciting and, hopefully, we’ll be in position to win both nights this weekend.”