INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 4, 2015) – Following a season where he established a career high for World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series A-Feature wins and earned a sixth series championship, the question to start the 2015 WoO campaign was whether or not Donny Schatz could continue reaching new heights in his 19th season of competition with “The Greatest Show on Dirt.”
It didn’t take 60 races for most observers to reach a conclusion. With 26 A-Feature victories this season, Schatz, driver of the Tony Stewart-Curb Agajanian Racing (TSR) No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J, is one win from eclipsing last year’s total and capturing his 200th career WoO A-Feature triumph.
The Fargo, North Dakota resident is preparing to accomplish both this weekend as he leads the Outlaws to the state of Washington. The Labor Day weekend slate includes three nights of racing. First is the Monster Meltdown Friday and Saturday at Skagit Speedway in Alger followed by Monday’s Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel Outlaw Invasion at Grays Harbor Raceway Park in Elma. Schatz returns to is the defending race winner at both dirt oval and will be looking to continue a five-race winning streak in the state of Washington.
The streak began with his triumph in the 2013 Monster Meltdown finale when he took the lead from Kerry Madsen and led the final 19 laps to earn his first WoO A-Feature victory at Skagit. Two nights later he outdueled Daryn Pittman for the victory at Grays Harbor. Last year, Schatz continued the streak by leading all 25 laps of the Skagit opener and then completed the Skagit sweep by overtaking Brad Sweet and Joey Saldana 12 laps into the 35-lap race. The streak reached five on Labor Day evening at Grays Harbor where Schatz raced past his TSR teammate Steve Kinser on lap 10 and lead the final 20 laps.
Schatz and his Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team have had a remarkable 2015 campaign. Not only have they won 26 races, including the prestigious Knoxville Nationals in mid-August, but they have finished inside the top three in 25 consecutive races where full WoO points were awarded. Another incredible streak that underscores the quality work of the TSR crew made up of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman is the 163 consecutive A-Feature finishes without a DNF (Did Not Finish). The TSR 15 has completed every lap of every race since the opening night of the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California in September 2013.
If previous results provide any indication of the future outcomes, chances are good Schatz will not only score his 27th win of the season this weekend, but also earn win number 200. He is looking join WoO legends Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell as the only drivers in WoO history to reach the 200-win milestone. Ironically, it was in the northwest where Schatz won his first WoO A-Feature On that memorable night in Cottage Grove, Oregon back in August 1998, the 21-year-old was in the perfect position to watch another epic Kinser and Swindell battle. For most of the race, Schatz ran third and stayed close until the chance to grab the lead presented itself. When it came, Schatz took advantage and became a World of Outlaws winner for the first time. He returns to Cottage Grove Wednesday as the series continues its annual fall run down the west coast.
Last weekend, Schatz used veteran savvy during the opening night of the Oil City Cup at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta to collect his 199th career WoO triumph. The following night he showcased his talents by racing from the back of the field to finish second in the Oil City Cup finale.
There are 21 races remaining in the chase to the 2015 WoO championship and Schatz carries a 420-point lead over Shane Stewart into the weekend. He tops the series in a number of categories including wins with 26, 48 top-fives, 56 top-10s and 534 laps led.
For both races at Skagit Speedway, the pit gates open at 3:30 p.m. PDT and grandstands open at 5 p.m. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit skagitspeedway.com or call 360-724-3567.
Monday at Grays Harbor Raceway Park, the pit gates will open at 5 p.m. PDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit graysharborraceway.com or call 360-482-4374.
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:
You are in the midst of one of your best seasons ever with the World of Outlaws. Everyone is talking about the numbers you are putting up in wins, podium finishes and consecutive finishes. How often do you think about the stats you are building this season?
“I know I’ve said it many times before that we try not to get too caught in the numbers. The only won that really matters is the next one. So I guess getting that next win has a few other things attached to it. It still comes back to being surrounded by good people and that’s what Tony Stewart has provided me. Partnering with Bad Boy Buggies and Chevrolet Performance allows to us to race all across the United States and into Canada. I’ve got three incredible guys that bust their tales every day so that we can be in position to win. Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman have been doing a great job all season and we are all focused on getting that next win. When I was a kid, the only thing I wanted to do was become a World of Outlaws driver. Just being part of that four abreast…that’s all I wanted. Once I did get that opportunity, I wanted to win a race. We’ve been fortunate to win quite a few over the years and every night we go out and try to get that next one. I’m sure some day when I’m done racing I can go back and look at what we accomplished. Right now, all we can do is focus on the next one.”
This weekend you and the Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team make your only appearance in the northwest. What are some of your best memories racing in that area?
“I always remember feeling like the run through Washington was one of my favorite times of the year. You are a couple weeks removed from the Knoxville Nationals and the World of Outlaws season is kind of on a downhill slope. The end of the year is in sight. We really enjoy that part of the country and have met some really great people from there. I have family out there that we get to spend some time with. We race with some guys that we don’t get too very often at places there are certainly unique. We’ve had a good little run going at both Skagit and Elma that past couple of years so that’s a plus too. I’ll always remember that first win in Cottage Grove, so there are some special memories from the northwest. It’s a great time of the year. I’m really excited about the weekend. The guys have been doing a great job and I know we’re all looking forward to a busy weekend of racing.”