INDIANAPOLIS (June 19, 2015) – Even with a schedule the crisscrosses the United States and into Canada twice from February to November, Tony Stewart-Curb Agajanian Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz only gets a couple of opportunities each year to compete with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series in his home state of North Dakota.
This weekend is the first of two chances for the six-time and reigning WoO champion to get behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J on home soil. The Fargo, North Dakota resident comes home on a tear winning three consecutive races and looking to make it four in a row Friday at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks. The Duel in the Dakotas weekend culminates with Saturday’s inaugural visit to the Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, South Dakota.
Seeing the Outlaws come to North Dakota was the highlight of the summer for Schatz as a youth growing up in Minot. He made the trek every July to Fargo for the Outlaws annual stop at Red River Valley Speedway to see his heroes Doug Wolfgang, Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell. It’s Schatz that has fans flocking to dirt tracks across the country this season as he and his Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team – Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman – continue setting an incredible pace.
The team won Wednesday’s WoO 30-lap A-Feature at Granite City Speedway in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota to give them 14 victories in the first 35 races of 2015. The triumph followed wins Saturday at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway and Sunday at Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota. The win at Knoxville came on a lightning-fast surface after Mother Nature delayed the program three hours and then caused the race to be cut short by 10 laps because of dense fog. Sunday’s triumph was the result of patience and persistence at Huset’s, a track where Schatz raced regularly back in 1994 and 1995. The victory Wednesday displayed determination as Schatz found a way to get from fourth to first in the closing laps to win a WoO A-Feature at his 73rd different track.
River Cities Speedway is often mentioned as one of the best venues for “The Greatest Show on Dirt.” Schatz has been a factor in just about every WoO A-Feature contested at the high-banked, 1/3-mile dirt oval since their first race at the facility in 2007. He is a four-four time winner (2008, 2009, 2013 and 2014) and been a part of some of the most dramatic finishes as well. In 2008, he charged from 11th to win. In 2011, he and Steve Kinser exchanged the lead with Kinser nine time in the final eight laps. In 2013, he led all 40 laps of the WoO A-Feature and then raced his Dirt Late Model to victory right afterwards. Last season, he took the lead from Cody Darrah with two laps remaining to win his 153rd career WoO A-Feature, which tied him with Mark Kinser for third all-time in WoO wins. In August, he charged from ninth to second.
Schatz will look to add the Dakota State Fair Speedway to the growing list of tracks where he’s earned a WoO victory. He has already won WoO debuts at Placerville and Granite City this season and competed at the half-mile track two weeks ago in his Dirt Late Model.
The historic start of the 2015 WoO campaign for Schatz has him on top of the championship standings by 186 markers over Shane Stewart. He leads the series in wins (14), top-fives (25), top-10s (32), laps led (252) and KSE Hard Charger Awards (five).
Friday at River Cities Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT and the grandstands at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit rivercitiesspeedway.com or call 218-773-3001.
Saturday at Dakota State Fair Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT and the grandstands at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit dakotapromotions.com or call 605-352-4848.
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 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J:
With a schedule that consists of races all across the map, do the ones close to home like this weekend’s stop in Grand Forks feel any different?
“When you’ve been doing this as long as I have you get into a routine and your mindset is pretty focused, but being closer to home does have a different feel. I’ve been able to meet a lot of fans and make friends with a lot of people and when we get to race close to home you get to see so many familiar faces. We always look forward to this time of the year. It’s usually when things are pretty busy and we are racing quite a bit. Racing in North Dakota, South Dakota and even into Minnesota is always special. I started racing at a lot of those tracks and its fun going back and seeing some of the people you met years ago. We’re having a lot of fun this season and we’re just looking forward to enjoying every night at the track. They do a great job up at Grand Forks and the show is usually one of the best we have all year.”
You come in on a tear winning three straight races. Do you pay attention to winning streaks, win totals or where you in the standings at this point of the season?
“We’re honestly so focused on doing our best each night that we’ve kind of adopted the philosophy of just dealing with the race you are at. We can’t worry about how many wins in a row or how many we’ve won total. There is always another to go chase. You want to be in the best position you can in the standings, but I always felt like if you win races, the points will shake out where they need to be. We have an incredible team. Tony Stewart gives us a great opportunity to be out here doing what we love to do and working with Bad Boy Buggies and Chevrolet Performance is a privilege. The guys (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman) do a great job and I’m just the lucky one that gets to drive it. We’re looking forward to the challenges of this weekend at both River Cities and in Huron.”