INDIANAPOLIS (April 30, 2014) – Donny Schatz has been really close to winning at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, the past couple of seasons. This weekend the five-time World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series champion will take two more cracks at the high-banked, dirt oval with a WoO doubleheader set for Friday and Saturday.
Schatz heads to Ohio looking to end a winless streak at “The Big E” that dates back to his 2009 Kings Royal triumph. The five-time WoO champion is tied with Brad Sweet and Daryn Pittman for most wins in 2014 with three and, just two weeks ago, he drove the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J to his 150th career WoO A-Feature win at historic Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas.
Eldora Speedway was the track where Schatz first splashed onto the national scene. In the 1996 King’s Royal, Schatz was an 18-year-old racer competing at the track for the first time and he finished an impressive eighth in a race that was televised live across the nation. The next season, Schatz began his WoO career and has been a major player over the last decade. He first tasted victory at Eldora in August 2002, when he pocketed $100,000 by winning the Historical Big One, and then earned a preliminary WoO victory in April 2003. His first WoO A-Feature came in grand style as he dominated the 2007 Kings Royal. Later that season, he signed on to drive for TSR and has been extremely consistent since. In 26 starts since the 2008 campaign began, Schatz has won three times, earned 17 top-fives and 24 top-10s. Last season, the two-time King’s Royal champion raced from 24th to fourth on May 3, then finished third the following night. He held second for most of the 40-lap King’s Royal last July before finishing third.
Schatz comes to Eldora following a third-place finish last Saturday night at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo. The finish was his 12th top-five in the first 19 races of the 92 scheduled for 2014. He ranks fourth in the standings with 2,669 points and trails leader Joey Saldana by 19.
Friday and Saturday at Eldora, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. EDT and the grandstands will open at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For more details, call the track at (937) 338-3815 or visit www.EldoraSpeedway.com.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s 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 to www.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/Crimsafe J&J:
Despite not picking up a win at Eldora in the last few seasons, you have been in contention just about every time the World of Outlaws race there. Do you change your approach heading into this weekend’s race or stick to what you’ve been doing?
“We keep trying to get better every time we race there. We went a long time before winning there and then had a couple-year run where we won three or four and finished second three or four times. The STP guys keep putting a good car under me there. Last year, we had a shot at winning late in the race in May and in the King’s Royal did everything we could to beat Brad (Sweet). We are close. I know winning at Eldora is high on the priority list for 2014. We’ve got a plan and hope to get two good nights under our belts this weekend and be ready for the King’s Royal in July.”
Through most of your career, you’ve been able to have incredible results between the months of May and August. What’s the biggest factor in the spike in your results during the summer months?
“We’ve had a good program for when tracks slow down and just kept trying to perfect it. Typically, the weather gets warmer in May and the tracks will be a little slower. When that happens, it becomes more of a race on the track and allows for some passing. We like tracks where you can move around and drive forward versus the races where everyone jumps in line and can only wait for the guy in front of you to make a mistake. The tracks we go to during those times also have a lot do with that. Eldora has been very good the last few years, and going east to Williams Grove and New York has been good for us. I know we would have liked to win a little more during the first couple of months and, hopefully, some of the things we’ve been working on will help us do that from now on.”