FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA – Reigning World of Outlaws (WoO) champion Donny Schatz landed back home this afternoon following his annual trek to Australia. It was another successful run down under for the driver of the No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J, winning five of his seven starts, and now his focus turns from Sprint cars in Australia to Dirt Late Models in Arizona with a few hours at home in North Dakota sandwiched in between.
“I’m excited to be back home, even if it’s only for a few hours,” admitted Schatz. “I missed my dogs big time. I’m hoping they let me get on a plane to Arizona tomorrow. We enjoyed our time in Australia. John and Kathy Kelly are tremendous hosts and we had another productive trip. My family was able to relax and enjoy some of the fun things Australia has to offer and I was able to take Lannie Nichols, a long-time friend, over there for the first time. I know he had a great time and working with him will be something I’ll always remember.”
Schatz raced to victory in his first four starts at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway in Brisbane, Queensland. He charged from 14th to fourth on Jan. 4 before winning last Friday night’s World Series Sprintcars event in thrilling fashion driving from seventh to win. He closed his tour Saturday with a third-place finish in the 50-lap Australian Open.
The focus now turns to the 10th annual Wild West Shootout at USA Raceway in Tucson, Arizona. Schatz will make his third consecutive appearance in the event competing Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday behind the wheel of his No. 15 Petro of Fargo/Fastlane Car Wash/Schatz Crossroads Rocket.
Following this week’s action in Arizona, Schatz will then shift his attention back to sprint cars with the 2016 World of Outlaws season opener only 25 days away. Schatz and his Tony Stewart Racing team will begin their title defense at the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida.
SCHATZ HONORED AT EMPA BANQUET
While Schatz was closing his Australian tour Saturday, he was recognized by the Eastern Motorsports Press Association in Pennsylvania for the second consecutive year earning the Al Holbert Memorial National Driver of the Year award during the EMPA convention. The below statement from Schatz was read during the ceremony.
It’s an honor to be recognized by the Eastern Motorsports Press Association and earn this year’s Al Holbert Memorial National Driver of the Year. I wish I could be here tonight to receive this award in person, but as many of you know I’m finishing up my annual trip to Australia completing a seven-race slate at Archerfield Speedway in Brisbane near the Gold Coast.
I’m humbled just being mentioned in the same breath with incredible talents like Erica Enders-Stevens, Jonathan Davenport, Scott Dixon and Joey Logano. They all had incredible seasons and I feel fortunate that we were able to accomplish what we did this year. It was a golden season for me in so many ways. A seventh Outlaw championship. A ninth Knoxville Nationals victory and a career-best 31 wins. I couldn’t have won this award without being surrounded by remarkable people starting with Tony Stewart, who continues to provide myself and my crew – Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman- the opportunity to do what we love to do. My crew is second to none and they work extremely hard to put us in position to win each and every night. It also takes marketing partners like Bad Boy Buggies and Chevrolet Performance believing in us in order for us to compete for World of Outlaws championships.
I sincerely appreciate all the coverage you in the media provide the World of Outlaws. It was my dream as a kid to be part of the series and has been my passion since joining the tour in 1997. You guys do an great job of bringing one of the most competitive series in motorsports into words for all across the globe and get them excited about coming races and keeping our sport in the minds of so many people.
Continued success to all of you and I hope everyone in attendance is having a great time. We’re hoping for a great 2016 season and look forward to seeing all of you at a dirt track catching taking in a World of Outlaws race somewhere this year.