INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 23, 2015) – The challenges on the journey to a World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series championship can be overwhelming. It’s been proven over last four decades that any team with aspirations of standing on top after a rugged nine-plus-month season must possess the ability to overcome adversity, remain focused on the big picture and always push for improvement. Experience and talent are also key components to conquering the rigors of the Outlaw trail and the Tony Stewart-Curb Agajanian Racing (TSR) team has proven to be loaded in both categories.
TSR’s Donny Schatz and his Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team are entering the final stretch of the 2015 campaign in prime position to capture the WoO championship for the second consecutive season. With 10 events left on the schedule, Schatz has a stranglehold on the competition with a 452-point lead in the standings. It’s come on the strength of remarkable consistency and unmatched performance that includes the six-time and reigning WoO champion earning 29 WoO A-Feature victories to date, tying for the fourth-best single-season win total in WoO history.
Two of those victories came at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, site of this weekend’s 4-Crown Nationals, where Friday Schatz will resume his quest for win number 30. The following night, the Outlaws travel to Central Michigan for their second-ever appearance at Berlin Raceway in Marne, where Schatz led the final 29 laps of the 30-lap A-Feature last September.
The TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J Schatz will pilot starting Friday at Eldora will have a slightly different look. The usual bright orange on the black-and-white machine will be replaced for the next month with pink, the official color for breast cancer awareness and the fight against cancer. TSR and its partners are hoping that seeing the splash of pink on the TSR No. 15 will encourage women everywhere to get checked. Schatz will also wear a special firesuit and pink gloves in support of breast cancer awareness as he continues chasing history this season.
The #ThinkPink paint scheme is an effort to generate awareness as part of TSR’s appreciation for Chevrolet’s continued support of TSR’s winged Sprint car racing teams. Anyone interested in donating to Chevrolet’s 2015 pink initiative, is encouraged to visitwww.cancer.org/chevroletmsabc and follow the interactive steps to contribute. This marks the third consecutive season TSR and its drivers are racing for awareness through special pink programs. The team is encouraging fans to join the cause and spread awareness through social media with images of the car and Schatz using the hashtag #ThinkPink.
One of the goals entering the 2015 season for TSR was to improve results at tracks where the team hasn’t had the success it was seeking. Eldora Speedway was on top of the list. Rick Warner, Steve Swenson, and Eric Prutzman went to work on a strategy to not only compete for victories at Eldora, but to win races at the high-banked, half-mile dirt oval. In May, Schatz raced to victory in the season’s first appearance at “The Big E” to end a five-year winless streak at the track. He came back the following night and led from start to finish to sweep the weekend before returning in July looking to capture one of Sprint car racing’s crown jewels – The Kings Royal. Schatz raced from eighth to second in Friday’s Knight Before the Kings Royal A-Feature before leading 30 laps of the 40-lap Kings Royal finale. Schatz came up four laps short of winning his third Kings Royal and, along with the team, is looking forward to an opportunity to return to the top spot at Eldora Friday.
Schatz is coming off a second-place finish last Saturday at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minnesota. It was the 44th time Schatz has finished first or second this season. The Fargo, North Dakota racer has led the championship standings since the 11th race of the season and tops the series in top-fives with 54, top-10s with 62 and laps led with 587.
Friday at Eldora Speedway, the pit and grandstand gates will open at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30. More details are available by calling Eldora Speedway at (937) 338-3815, or by visiting www.eldoraspeedway.com.
Saturday at Berlin Raceway, the pit and grandstand gates will open at 4 p.m. EDT. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 5:30. More details are available by calling Berlin Raceway at (616) 677-5000, or by visiting www.berlinraceway.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 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J:
The 2015 season has been remarkable for you and your team. Was this the type of year you guys were aiming for?
“I’ve said all season that we don’t really pay attention to the numbers, but there have been a lot of them to hear about this season. After the past two seasons of winning more than 20 races, we set some pretty high expectations and one of our goals was certainly to win a lot of races. We are fortunate someone like Tony Stewart put this organization together and built a team that is capable of incredible results. After last year, there were some places where we wanted to get better and at the same time continue being successful at others. It was a good two months for my crew back in the shop last December and January. We were able to show some progress right from the start. Having a good swing through California early in the year was important. We did that. Winning at Eldora was important. We did that in May. Winning at places like Williams Grove, Charlotte, and Knoxville were priorities, as well. That happened in May and June. It’s been a great season so far. When I was kid in North Dakota watching Steve (Kinser), Sammy (Swindell) and Doug (Wolfgang) race in Fargo, all I could dream about was becoming an Outlaw. Once I got there, the next dream was about winning an Outlaw race. I’ve been extremely blessed that my family was behind me and got me out on the road with the Outlaws and ultimately opened the door to join Tony Stewart Racing. Winning that 200th WoO feature a few weeks ago is something I’ll never forget. It was something the TSR guys were pushing to get to this year and their hard work is what made it happen.”
The World of Outlaws doesn’t have a Chase or Countdown to the Championship playoff like some other series. With the lead you have in the standings, you are in a great position to earn another championship. Will you and your team approach the final 10 races any differently than you have the first 67?
“We will still approach every race with the goal of being the best car at the end of the night. This team has done an incredible job all season and we’ve built a really good lead in the standings as a result of that. One of the things we’ve always tried to do is just worry about ourselves. We have 10 races left and we want to be challenging for wins in all of them. We have the opportunity to go back to a couple places – Eldora and Williams Grove – where we won in the spring but came up short in the summer. I’ve never won the 4-Crown and I’d like to do that this week. And, next weekend is the National Open and it’s the biggest race in Pennsylvania. We had a lot of fun racing at Berlin last year and we can’t wait to get back there Saturday. There is still a lot of work to be done.”