INDIANAPOLIS (July 3, 2014) – With the calendar turning to July, the focus for most Americans turns toward fireworks, time in the sun and enjoying some old-fashioned entertainment of one form or another. For the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series, the first week of July means it’s the time for the annual stop in the Old West for two nights of action in Dodge City, Kansas. It’s a weekend Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) teammates Donny Schatz looks forward to each July, especially after last year’s opening night victory at Dodge City Raceway Park in the annual Boothill Showdown.
The forecast is calling for the temperatures to be in the low 90s and that’s just fine with Schatz, who happens to be hottest driver on the WoO tour. The driver of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J and five-time WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion has won three of the last six races, including last Friday at 34 Raceway in Burlington, Iowa and Sunday at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wisconsin. He finished second Wednesday night at Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota, which followed a busy three-race weekend in Iowa and Wisconsin. Schatz sandwiched a third-place finish Saturday at Beaver Dam (Wis.) Raceway between his weekend victories. Those triumphs allowed him to move into sole possession of third place in all-time WoO wins with 155. The 36-year-old North Dakota native trails only Kinser’s 577 and Sammy Swindell’s 293 career WoO A-Feature wins.
Schatz would like to continue building momentum this weekend competing in a pair of programs on the 3/8-mile, dirt oval at Dodge City. Last July, he won the opening-night feature by a nose over Jason Sides and looked to be on his way to the Boothill Showdown sweep Saturday, leading the first 21 laps of the 30-lap A-Feature before a hole in his right-rear tire forced him to relinquish the lead. His STP crew replaced the tire and he charged back to finish ninth. His victory in the opener gave him two career WoO A-Feature wins at the track with his first coming in 2008.
With 43 of the 92 scheduled WoO race nights in 2014 complete, Schatz is on top of the point standings by 93 markers. Last year entering Dodge City, he trailed Daryn Pittman by 141 points and ultimately came up 14 points short in his bid for a sixth title in 2013 despite winning a career-best 23 WoO A-Features. He’s built his lead this season through consistency as well as his series-leading stats of eight wins, 29 top-fives and 38 top-10s.
Both nights at Dodge City Raceway Park, the grandstands open at 5 p.m. CDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. For more details, contact the track at (620) 225-3277, or visit www.dodgecityraceway.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:
Two more wins last weekend and a third – you and the STP team to hitting your stride. Do you feel like you’re where you want to be?
“I’d say we’re doing OK but still have a lot of room for improvement. The biggest thing is this STP team keeps pushing for more. We’re at a spot where we can make fine adjustments and they are making a difference. We’re still testing some things to see how far we can go with them, but winning is still priority number one. That’s been our mantra for quite some time and it’s worked. I know we’re all excited to get to the track every night and that’s a big part of why we’re getting closer and closer to where we want to be.”
Last year at Dodge City was quite a weekend. You won the opening night by very small margin and had the lead the second night before cutting a tire. Will you go back there with the same gameplan this weekend that you did last year?
“We had a good car at Dodge City last year. In the Friday race, everyone was running around the bottom in the rubber and there isn’t much you can do. I just followed Jason Sides for most of the race and he kept getting tighter and tighter coming out of turn four. On the last lap, I had nothing to lose and we were able to get the win. We came back the next night and the guys gave me a great car and we were doing what we need to do, but ran over something that cut my tire. Those things happen. We didn’t give up, we got back out there and got back as far as we could. Adversity builds character as they say and we just kept on rolling from there. We’ve got some extensive notes and you have to run your motors a little different in Dodge City because of the air, but we won’t get too far away from our basic package to get things started. We’re looking forward to the opportunity.”