INDIANAPOLIS (March 16, 2016) – The good news for seven-time and reigning World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz is that the California swing rolls on this weekend with two nights of racing at the Stockton Dirt Track. After an uncharacteristic beginning to the 11-race tour last weekend, the driver of the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing’s (TSR) No. 15 Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance J&J resumes action with two races at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, where Schatz has earned three podium finishes in four career starts. Schatz returns to the 3/8-mile dirt oval as one of four different winners at the track and the current track record holder. Schatz set the record by circling the track in 12.566 seconds during last spring’s opening night of the FVP Western Spring Shootout then the Fargo, North Dakota racer led 14 of the final 15 laps to book end the night with his first victory at the track. The win, which was a of the photo finish variety as Schatz edged Shane Stewart, was his second of 31 triumphs last season and first of four during last year’s spring California tour.
This weekend Schatz is looking to earn his third triumph of the 2016 campaign. He is one of five drivers to capture wins in the first nine races of the season and one of two drivers to have won multiple events. Schatz raced to victory in the second race of the season at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida, and then again at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He is former winner at both tracks which bodes well for his chances to become the first repeat winner at Stockton.
The 2016 Western Spring Shootout marks the fourth consecutive spring stop in Stockton for “The Greatest Show on Dirt.” Schatz put on a show in front of a standing-room only crowd in March 2013 when the Outlaws made their debut at the track charging from 13th to third in the 30-lap A-Feature. In 2014, he raced from eighth into the lead, but finished a close second to Kerry Madsen as the two raced side-by-side coming to the checkered flag. After taking the victory in last year’s opener, Schatz raced from 13th to ninth in the finale of the doubleheader.
With nine of the 92 scheduled races complete, Schatz has earned two victories, five top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He ranks fifth in the championship standings with 1,146 points and trails leader Brad Sweet by 112 markers.
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.
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance J&J:
The World of Outlaws races at Stockton have been extremely competitive during the first three seasons. In each of the last two years you have been part of close finishes. What makes the racing so competitive at the track?
“We’ve certainly have had some really good races there in the short amount of time that we’ve been going there. That’s what you want. It is about the racing and any time you can put on a races that come down to the final lap that keeps the fans coming back for more. It’s a track that is good and wide and usually you can race both around the top and the bottom to the middle. We’ve been able to drive forward and be there at the end of the night and that’s what we are looking to do this weekend. Qualifying will certainly play a big role in how things shake out again so that’s a big focus heading into the weekend. My guys – Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti – are extremely competitive and continue to keep working to find ways for us to improve.”
Last spring, your victory at Stockton was the start of four wins in nine starts on California soil during the spring. You continue to say that winning races is the expectation. What would a victory in Friday’s opener do for the team as you continue the rigorous run through the Golden State?
“It’s a big deal. I say it all the time… seems like every week…but the only race that matters is the next one. Fortunately, we have a lot of races ahead of us and Friday is what we are focused on right now. This is my 20th season racing with the World of Outlaws and I’m surrounded by guys with a ton of experience. There isn’t much we haven’t been faced with in the past and know the importance of keeping an eye on what’s ahead. Dirt track racing changes every night and honestly, things change as the night goes on. Getting a win Friday would be a great way to get us heading in the direction we want to be going. We’re adjusting to some new things right now, but the bottom line is that we still have to work harder than everyone else and continue finding ways to have the best car at the end of the night. It’s all of our jobs to work together to ensure that happens.”
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