INDIANAPOLIS (April 13, 2016) – The nomadic nine-month journey to claim a World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series championship is filled with a number of challenging chapters. For the 20th season, Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz is embarking on the quest of crisscrossing the United States, and the driver of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance J&J is looking to close one of the more challenging parts of the early season on a high note.
Schatz’s next-to-last stop during the Outlaws’ annual spring tour of California takes him to Bakersfield Speedway Friday for the first time since 2005, and the 11-race Golden State tour concludes with the series’ annual stop in Southern California at Perris Auto Speedway Saturday night. The Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance team made up of Schatz and crewmen Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti knows that making its way through the dirt track battles on dirt ovals ranging in size from quarter-miles to 3/8-miles to half-miles, where oftentimes the surfaces get faster as the night goes on, test even the strongest of teams. With only two races remaining, the team has already matched its win total of four during last year’s early California tour that ultimately led to a career-best 31 WoO A-Feature wins for Schatz and a seventh WoO title by season’s end.
Through 15 races last season, Schatz had five victories, the fastest he had reached the five-win mark in his 19-year WoO career at the time. Less than two weeks ago, Schatz raced from 14th to win the Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico to give him five wins in 2016 in 14 WoO A-Features. The win was his 209th career WoO victory and he’s won those at 75 different tracks throughout his remarkable career.
The Fargo, North Dakota racer is hoping to add another couple of tracks to the list weekend. He’s competed only once at the high-banked, 1/3-mile dirt oval in Bakersfield. On that February night in 2005, Schatz raced from 20th to finish eighth, the same outcome as his run at Placerville Speedway on March 23 this season, which resulted in him earning the first of three consecutive KSE Hard Charger Awards. Perris Auto Speedway was a regular tour stop during the first eight Outlaw seasons for Schatz. He has competed in 16 previous WoO races at the semibanked, half-mile dirt oval. Last April, he equaled his career-best finish at the track by racing the Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance machine to a third-place finish.
The SoCal Showdown Saturday at Perris closes the California tour and will be followed by Monday’s NAPA Wildcat Shootout at USA Raceway in Tucson, Arizona. Schatz is one of six different drivers to win the Outlaws’ first six races at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval. Schatz put on an epic performance in the fall of 2006, just days after the passing of WoO series founder Ted Johnson. Schatz was the fastest qualifier, won his heat, finished second in the dash and won the A-Feature, then gave an emotional speech about Johnson in victory lane. In each of the previous three seasons, the Outlaws have competed at the track early in the campaign and Schatz has also made a lot of laps at the track each of the last three Januarys in his Dirt Late Model.
Last weekend’s Wine Country Showdown at picturesque Calistoga Speedway was washed out by rain. Schatz enters this weekend as the winner of three of the previous five races and currently ranks fourth in the championship standings with 1,869 points, 88 behind leader Brad Sweet. The five wins for Schatz is most on tour and he also has picked up eight top-five finishes and 12 top-10s.
For Friday’s race at Bakersfield, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. PDT while the grandstands open at 4 p.m. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit www.bakersfieldspeedway.com or call 661-393-3373.
Saturday at Perris Auto Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. while the grandstands open at 5 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For tickets and more information, visitperrisautospeedway.com or call 951-940-0134.
Monday at USA Raceway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. while the grandstands open at 5 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For tickets and more information, call 844-DIRT-TIX.
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:
Last season, you and the Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance team made having a better run through California a priority. How has this year’s tour compared?
“We got off to a little bit rougher start with how things went in Tulare but, all in all, we are getting things figured out. We really wanted to race last weekend in Calistoga. We haven’t been on a big track in a while and we were looking forward to trying some things. I’ve said all along that this team has an incredible desire to win and get better. If you aren’t trying new things, you’ll end up behind at some point. We are adjusting to the new race format and working on getting our qualifying program better. We’re happy with how we are racing at the end of the night and know that we are heading in the right direction. We still have to fine-tune some things as we go, but our goal this year is to improve on last year and we still have a chance to do that in California.”
The last time you raced at Bakersfield you hadn’t won your first championship and you first raced at Perris during your rookie season almost 20 years ago. You’ve accomplished a lot since both of those events. This weekend provides an opportunity to get a win at both and add to your growing list of tracks where you’ve been victorious.
“We like winning and, like I said earlier, the guys on this Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance team will do whatever it takes. It’s been so long since we’ve been to Bakersfield, I’m not sure I remember a whole lot about that place, but that’s where experience comes into play. Me and my guys will come up with a plan and attack it from the beginning of the night and see if we can be there at the end. We’ve had to do that a lot over the years. As far as Perris goes, we’ve gotten better there during the last few years. We’ve been close and maybe this is the year we’ll finish the night in first. Our newest crew member (Brad Mariscotti) is from California and he’s had a lot of success there in the past, so we’re hoping that he can help us get over the hump on Saturday and give us a some good momentum heading to Tucson Monday.”