INDIANAPOLIS (June 10, 2014) – Drivers rarely admit to having favorite tracks and Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz is no different. There are few venues on the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series tour that can match the mystique of Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway. The historic half-mile has become a virtual stomping ground for Schatz in the last decade. And this weekend, he returns to famed dirt oval Saturday after opening the weekend at Jackson (Minnesota) Speedway Friday.
Schatz has been making history of his own during the past decade, winning five WoO championships and experiencing unparalleled success at Knoxville. The Fargo, North Dakota racer leads the Outlaws into action as the championship standings leader aboard the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J. Schatz swept the Jackson-Knoxville weekend last June en route to his career-best 23 WoO A-Feature wins in 2013.
With his victory last June, Schatz became a two-time Jackson winner, after claiming his initial win in September 2006 as he was marching toward his first WoO championship. A month earlier, he won his first Knoxville Nationals crown and has shown flashes of brilliance in the event since winning seven Nationals in the last eight seasons. Last year, Schatz won the first two Outlaw stops at Knoxville before becoming first driver to win the Nationals A-Main after transferring through the B-Main. In the 50-lap finale, Schatz started 21st and led the final nine laps on his way to one of the most impressive drives in Nationals history.
With 35 of the 92 scheduled WoO race nights in 2014 complete, Schatz leads reigning WoO champion Daryn Pittman in the point standings by six markers. His five A-Features are second only to Pittman and has earned a series-best 23 top-fives and 31 top-10s.
For Friday’s event at Jackson Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. For more details, contact SLS Promotions at (815) 344-2023, or visit www.slspromotions.com.
Saturday at Knoxville, the grandstands will open at 6 p.m. CDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. For more details, contact Knoxville Raceway by calling (641) 842-5431, or visit www.knoxvilleraceway.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 June, you swept the Jackson-Knoxville weekend. What’s it going to take to duplicate that this weekend?
“It’s going to take everything we’ve got. The STP crew (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman) has been doing a great job the last few weeks, and we’ve gone from fighting for top-fives to being in the hunt for wins. Last Friday, we had a really good night at I-80. We gave it everything we had and finished second. We know it’s tough to win these races. Last year is over, so winning both of those races doesn’t mean anything this week. Both tracks are big and fast. And, it’s going to be important to follow the same formula. You have to start the night with a good car in order to qualify in position to make the dash. We’ve seemed to pick up our qualifying efforts lately, Lakeside withstanding, and that’s given us a good shot. If you can get in the dash, your chances of winning are much greater.”
Saturday marks your first time back to Knoxville since last year’s Nationals. Are there words to describe why you have become so good there during the last 10 seasons?
“It’s just been a combination of a lot of things over the years. We worked hard to get good at Knoxville and just kept plugging away. We had several close calls with running second in the Nationals and then got that first one and have kept trying to get better every time we go back. I think I said last year I wished it was closer to home because it feels like home. Everyone on our STP enjoys going there. It’s a first-class facility and we know we are going to have a chance to race. They do a great job with the track surface. Honestly, as a competitor, you want to have a chance no matter where you start. I know I’m looking forward to Saturday. It’s our only race there before the Nationals, so we’ll be trying some things, I’m sure. The bottom line is we are going there to win. That’s been our mindset for quite some time. It’s just become a way of thinking. Knoxville is a great place to win. We’re going to do everything we can Saturday to win there again.”