INDIANAPOLIS (April 7, 2016) – One of the most exciting aspects of any form of motorsports is seeing a driver maneuver a racecar not only around the track but also finding a way to climb through the field and contend for victories. Donny Schatz, driver of the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) No. 15 Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance J&J, has made advancing positions during this season’s World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series campaign a thing of beauty.
The seven-time and reigning WoO champion is coming off his deepest run to victory in almost three seasons, racing from 14th to first in last Saturday’s Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California, and heads back to picturesque Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway for two nights of action Saturday and Sunday to continue the series’ annual 11-race run through the Golden State.
Schatz has showcased his ability to pass cars during the three most recent WoO events, advancing 12, 12 and 13 positions, respectively, and has earned the KSE Hard Charger Award at Placerville (Calif.) Speedway, Ocean Speedway in Watsonville and at Silver Dollar. He has finished higher than he started in 12 consecutive races and passed a total of 106 cars to date through 13 events in the 2016 campaign.
The Fargo, North Dakota racer returns to the historic half-mile, dirt oval nestled in the heart of Wine Country as the Outlaws’ most recent winner after scoring last spring’s Wine Country Outlaw Showdown 25-lap finale. He led the final 13 laps of the race to capture the win. It was his fourth victory in California last spring and part of his career-best 31 A-Feature triumphs Schatz scored in 2015.
Schatz will be looking to qualify for his 19th and 20th career A-Features at Calistoga this weekend. He earned his first victory at the facility by taking the 2004 Harvest Classic after a spirited duel with Steve Kinser. In September 2012, he led all 25 laps of the A-Feature to score his second Calistoga triumph. Last spring, Schatz finished fourth in the opening-night A-Feature before picking up his third win at the track in the finale.
The TSR Bad Boy/Chevrolet Performance team made up of Schatz and crewmen Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti is looking to continue its recent surge in California. Despite a rough start to the California swing at Thunderbowl Raceway, the team has won three of the last five races.
With 13 of the 92 scheduled races complete for 2016, Schatz leads the series with five victories and has earned eight top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. He ranks fourth in the driver standings with 1,869 points and trails leader Brad Sweet by 88 markers.
Saturday at Calistoga, 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 p.m. For Sunday’s program, the pit gates opening at 1 p.m., grandstands open at 3 p.m. with qualifying set for 5 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit www.WorldofOutlaws.com/Tickets, or call 877-395-8606.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can watch both nights of action through pay-per-view or listen free 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 California Swing is demanding in a lot of ways. Last weekend, you were able to race your way to victory despite starting in the seventh row. How much did experience play a factor in your being in position to win the Mini Gold Cup?
“Experience matters a lot. I used to hear my dad say all the time, ‘In order to finish first, one must first finish.’ It’s true in a lot of ways. Racing in California on the bullrings is different than racing anywhere else in the country. The tracks are typically pretty wet and you’ve got to be able to move around. Sometimes you have to be aggressive. The key is knowing when to go. Friday night at Watsonville, it took a little longer for the track to come in and we got going good there at the end and were able to pass some guys. At Chico, we got going decent early and worked our way into contention. The leaders (D.J. Netto and Kerry Madsen) got close there on a restart and we were able to avoid the outcome of that and took advantage of being in the right place at the right time late in the race. We’ve been on the other end of it a lot of times, too, so you just have to take advantage of things when you can.”
All but one of the tracks during the 11-race California tour are short tracks. This weekend, you get to race on a big half-mile. Is there a different strategy you utilize at Calistoga?
“We are excited to get back to Calistoga. We like the small tracks, and really enjoy the bigger tracks. It’s been since Las Vegas since we’ve been on a bigger track. My guys do a great job of doing their homework and being prepared. They keep the motor program in order so that we are ready to have something in the car that will run a little different than what we race on the short tracks. You get to carry a lot more speed at Calistoga and I like that. We’ve had some good runs there in the past and I’m excited to get back to a big track and have some fun.”