INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 24, 2016) – Following an eventual first weekend of the 2016 World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman® Sprint Car Series campaign, Donny Schatz and Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) are poised to return to action this weekend with a doubleheader in Texas.
Schatz, who for the third consecutive season triumphed in the second WoO A-Feature of 2016, will lead the way behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance J&J as the Outlaws’ make their debut Friday at Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas before returning to Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas for the first time since 2011.
The 38-year-old opened his 20th season with “The Greatest Show on Dirt” with a thrilling charge from 17th into contention for the lead on Feb. 12 in the 30-lap DIRTcar Nationals A-Feature. Despite suffering mechanical woes nine laps from the finish, Schatz and his Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance team bounced back in a big way the following night, racing to victory in the season’s second 30-lap A-Feature. He closed out the DIRTcar Nationals by advancing forward four positions on the locked-down surface that resulted in lap times faster than were posted all weekend.
Friday’s inaugural ATX Rentals Outlaw Shootout at Cotton Bowl Speedway, a quarter-mile semi-banked dirt oval, is the first of four races in 2016 at new facilities. Schatz is no stranger to scoring wins in the Outlaws’ first visit. Last season, he captured WoO inaugural wins at Granite City Speedway in Sauk Valley, Minnesota and Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, South Dakota. He also took wins at Placerville (Calif.) Speedway and Weedsport (N.Y) Speedway in his first-ever appearance.
Schatz is a five-time WoO A-Feature winner in Texas. The Fargo, North Dakota racer first triumphed in Texas during his third season with the Outlaws. Schatz raced his family owned No. 15 from eighth to first at Battleground Speedway in Highland, Texas back in March 1999. He scored his first of two wins at Royal Purple Raceway in March 2005 and came back two years later to make it consecutive wins on the quarter-mile dirt oval. He picked up his 150th career WoO A-Feature triumph and first at Devils Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, site of the Outlaws’ first-ever race back in 1978, in April 2014 and came out on top at Devil’s Bowl Speedway again last April.
Through three of 91 races, Schatz has a victory and a pair of top-10s. He currently ranks seventh in the standings and trails leader Brad Sweet by 49 points.
For Friday’s first-ever appearance by the Outlaws at Cotton Bowl Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CST with the grandstands opening at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For more details, contact the speedway at (512) 748-4218 or visit the track’s official Web site at www.cottonbowlspeedway.com.
Saturday at Royal Purple Raceway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CST and the grandstands at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For more details, contact the track by calling (281) 383-7223 or visit the track’s official Web site at www.houstonraceway.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 Craftsman Sprint Car 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 Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance J&J:
It was an eventful first week of action to start your 20th season with the World of Outlaws. You mentioned the goal was to come out on top all five nights. You won twice and posted two additional top-eight finishes. How can you build on those results?
“The biggest goal for all of us at Tony Stewart Racing is continuing to improve. We were working every day down there for the big picture. Trying several different combinations. Constantly looking to make ourselves better. We wanted to have a chance to win every race down there and we did have a shot in the first four, so that was positive. My team left Florida and went back to work at the shop to get us better for this upcoming swing through Texas, Las Vegas and into California. The Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance team is driven to continue finding ways for us to improve. We’ve had some time to work with the new tire and adjust to the new race format, as well. I’m excited to get back in my Sprint car and see some of the results of everyone’s efforts.”
You’ve made some special memories in Texas during your first 19 years with the World of Outlaws. How important is it for you and the series to compete regularly in the state?
“It’s a really big deal for us to be racing in Texas. It’s where (WoO founder) Ted Johnson began his dream of bringing the best Sprint car drivers to tracks all across the country. He had a vision and Texas was a big part of that. We’ve been fortunate to win a few races in the Houston area, which is a tremendous market not only for fans, but corporate partners, as well. Winning at Devils Bowl was something I always wanted to do and to be able to win the Ted Johnson Memorial race last year was an important early season win that ended up being the best season of my career. The goal is to add a few more chapters this weekend as we race at Cotton Bowl for the first time and get back to Royal Purple Raceway for the first time in a few years, as well.”