INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 4, 2016) – For the past 20 seasons, Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz has been the ironman of the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman® Sprint Car Series, climbing from unproven rookie to one of the sports’ all-time greats. During this, his 20th season of competing with “The Greatest Show on Dirt,” the driver of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance J&J continues to raise the bar and heads into August, the season’s most important month, on a roll.
For the last seven summers, the Outlaws’ annual August trip to outskirts of steamy St. Louis has been a test of stamina and determination. Saturday night’s Ironman 55 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Missouri is the longest race of the season and the only major race left on the Outlaws schedule that Schatz has yet to conquer. The seven-time and reigning WoO champion has been the most consistent driver in the event, finishing second three times and, last August, he led a dozen laps in the race before finishing third.
Schatz and his TSR team of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson, and Brad Mariscotti return to action Friday following a victory and runner-up finish last week as the Outlaws competed in Ontario and Wisconsin. Those results increased his stranglehold on the WoO championship standings as he chases his eighth championship. The Fargo, North Dakota driver has built a 245-point advantage over David Gravel and his 16 wins this season is 11 more than the closest competitor. Through 56 races, Schatz has posted 23 podium finishes, 41 top-fives and a remarkable 53 top-10 finishes.
Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 has been a staple on the Outlaws schedule since he joined the tour back in 1997. He earned his first triumph at the high-banked, 3/8-mile track during his first WoO championship season in 2006. And he scored his second victory there in last year’s Ironman opening-night event after taking the top position on lap 24 and leading the final 12 laps en route to his 22nd victory of the season.
The Ironman continues Sprint car racing’s “Month of Money,” which began with Schatz racing to victory in the 33rd annual Kings Royal at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. He finished second in the 25th annual Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania. Wins in the Brad Doty Classic and in the Six Nations Showdown were also part of an impressive July. The sport’s richest month concludes next week with the 56th annual 5-Hour Energy Knoxville Nationals at historic Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway, where Schatz has won the last five Nationals and nine of the previous 10.
For both Friday and Saturday, the pit gates open at 1 p.m. CDT. The grandstands will open at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit federatedautopartsraceway.com or call 636-479-3219.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s Ironman 55 event can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can 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 DIRTVision.com for more information.
The TSR Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance team can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TonyStewart_Rcg, liked on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TonyStewartRacing, and followed on Instgram @TonyStewart_Rcg.
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance J&J:
The Ironman 55 is one of the last big races that you have yet to win. Does that give you any extra motivation this weekend?
“This team is built to win races and that’s what we’re focused on doing this weekend. Pevely is always one of those places where we’ve been decent. Last year, we had a good car both nights and were able to win the opener. In the Ironman race, we were good enough to get to the lead, but got beat on a restart. We’ve been really close to winning it, but that doesn’t give us any advantage this weekend. We’ll start fresh Friday night with qualifying and do everything we can to be in a position to win. That’s where we are focused right now. ”
For so many years, you and your team have excelled during the summer months. In your opinion, what are the biggest reasons for the success?
“My dad pushed me early in my career to be the best at everything I could. He wanted me to learn how to build a car. He wanted me to learn how to come through traffic. He wanted to me to be both physically and mentally strong. That was my foundation. A good team, good manufacturers and people who had a desire to always get better surrounded me. It’s been a long time coming, and we thrive on trying to be better. A lot of the races in the heat and summer are on tracks where you have to get on and off the gas. We’ve learned how to do that and manipulate the car to do what I need it to do. The biggest reason for the success is that this is a huge effort by everyone involved. I’ve said it many times after a win, that I’m just the lucky guy who gets to drive the car. We’re excited about where we are and we’re really looking forward to what’s ahead of us.”