INDIANAPOLIS (June 18, 2014) – The road to a championship is filled with many obstacles. The team that navigates through the most challenging hurdles best usually comes out on top. Five-time World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz returns to his home state of North Dakota this weekend leading the championship standings as a result of maximizing his opportunities to succeed and minimizing the nights where things haven’t gone his way. Eighteen years of competition with “The Greatest Show on Dirt” has engrained that mental toughness in Schatz, a trait with which his Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) teammate Steve Kinser, a veteran in his 35th full season of WoO competition, set the standard.
Schatz is looking forward to making the first of two 2014 stops at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The high-banked, quarter-mile dirt oval will host the Outlaws for the 14th time Friday before the series makes its second appearance Saturday at I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.
The race at River Cities is the first of three this season in North Dakota. Schatz, who grew up in Minot and resides in Fargo, thrilled his home-state fans last August in Grand Forks by not only winning the WoO STP Sprint Car Series A-Feature, but he also captured the Northern Late Model Association (NLRA) feature victory with a final-lap pass. “The Double” was a first for Schatz, who ranks fourth all-time in WoO A-Feature victories with 152. He and Craig Dollansky are the only three-time WoO A-Feature winners at the track. Schatz has three wins and 11 top-four finishes and twice finished seventh. The driver of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J finished third in the Outlaws’ debut at the track in June 2007 before scoring consecutive wins in 2008 and 2009. He finished second following an epic duel with Kinser in August 2011, when the two exchanged the lead nine times during the final eight laps. That race still ranks as one of the best 40-lap A-Features in series history. Last August, he first claimed the NLRA 20-lap main event passing Joey Pederson on the final lap, then led all 40 laps of the WoO A-Feature. That win was his 15th of season and he would end 2013 with a career-best 23.
The series’ second stop in Fergus Falls Saturday continues the Outlaws’ weekend slate. Last June, the series made its debut and Schatz drove from ninth to seventh.
Through 37 of the 92 scheduled nights of action, Schatz is on top of the WoO championship standings. He has 5,234 points and leads Daryn Pittman by six markers. His 2014 stats include five wins, a series-leading 24 top-fives, and he has posted 32 top-10s.
Both of this weekend’s WoO STP Sprint Car Series races are being put on by the SLS Promotions group. More information and ticket details are available by contacting SLS Promotions at (815) 344-2023 or by visiting www.SLSPromotions.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 STP Sprint Car 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:
Last August, you won both the World of Outlaws A-Feature and the NLRA feature at River Cities. What can you do to top that on Friday?
“I don’t know. That was one of those incredible nights where it all came together. The STP guys gave me a great car and we got the lead on the start and never looked back. I was pretty pumped up after winning the Late Model race. It was just a night where hard work paid off. Grand Forks is a fun track and racing up there offers me the unique chance to run both cars. The Sprint car is my job. The Late Model is just for fun. We got to do both in June and came up short in both, so we just came back and tried to be a little better. That’s the plan for Friday. We’re having a pretty good season in the World of Outlaws. We need to get better and, honestly, River Cities has been a really good track for us to judge where we are. Last August, we were getting on a roll and that was indicative of how raced that night. I’ve run the Late Model a few times this season, so we’ll see where are Friday. I’m really looking forward to the challenge of trying to top what we did last year.
In the last eight to 10 years, the Outlaws have raced quite a bit in your home area. How much fun is it for you to race close to home?
“There are some incredible racing fans in this area. North Dakota and western Minnesota have a lot of people who grew up coming to Fargo every July to see the World of Outlaws. I know, as a kid, that was the highlight of my summer, to see Doug Wolfgang, Sammy Swindell and Steve Kinser race. Things have changed over the years and I wish we still had three days of racing there at Red River Valley Speedway. River Cities has done a great job. We get to compete in Minot in August and, for the second year in a row, we’ll be racing in Fergus Falls. They have a really nice facility there and we’re hoping to finish a little higher than we did last year. The track was fast and I don’t think we had much lapped traffic. I’m lucky to get to race all over the world, but there’s nothing like racing close to home. These fans have been great to me over the years and we’re hoping to keep making them proud for a long time to come.”