FARGO, North Dakota – Sept. 14, 2016 – For the third consecutive season reigning World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz will join the best Dirt Late Model drivers and teams in the business Thursday night at the famed Knoxville Raceway. The Fargo, North Dakota racer will compete in the opening night of the 13th annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores behind the wheel of his No. 15 Fastlane Car Wash/Fargo Petro Stopping Center/Schatz Crossroads/K3 Farms Rocket.

“We’re excited to have another opportunity to race at Knoxville and hopefully continue to improve,” said Schatz, a nine-time champion of the Sprint car Knoxville Nationals. “Any time you can race with the best, it’s a great learning experience. Every year we try to get a little better and that’s the goal Thursday night as well. The last couple of years we have had the chance to compete in the first night of the Knoxville Nationals and I love racing at Knoxville. Even though I haven’t made many laps around there in a late model, I’ve really enjoyed being part of the event.”

Schatz will join a star-studded list of drivers in night one of the three-night program, which includes qualifying, heat races and feature events. Drivers will earn points and will be ranked from highest to lowest following the action. On Friday, drivers will return and compete in another complete show and then will be ranked by the their highest point total for Saturday’s finale.

In each of his first two appearances in the Knoxville Late Model Nationals, Schatz has only been able to compete in the Thursday night program. In 2014, he qualified 12th in his group and finished 8th in his heat. The Fargo, North Dakota driver advanced through the C-Main and raced from 22nd to 16th in the B. Last year, he qualified 14th and finished seventh in his heat. Schatz again worked his way into the B-Main by transferring through the C-Main. He started last in the B and was able to drive up to 15th.

“The guys and teams that will be at Knoxville are really good,” said Schatz. “We had the chance to race with a lot of the guys down in Florida and we learned a lot. We’ve raced this summer pretty close to home when we’ve had some off nights in the Sprint car and have continued to learn. We know it’s going to be really tough down there and we’re just hoping things go as well as possible. We haven’t made it out of the B-Main the past couple of years, so making the show Thursday would be a really big accomplishment.”

Schatz most recently competed in his Dirt Late Model at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota, pulling double duty also driving the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) No. 15 Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance J&J. He won the WoO sprint car race and finished second the NLRA Late Model feature race. One week earlier, Schatz raced to victory in the 20-lap NLRA main event at River Cities. That victory culminated three consecutive nights of Late Model competition. In July, Schatz raced from 23rd to 12th in the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series main event at Hamilton Co. Speedway in Webster City, Iowa.

The seven-time and reigning WoO champion be busy this week competing on Wednesday night in the TSR machine at El Paso County Speedway in Calhan, Colorado. The weekend schedule includes races Friday at Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer, Iowa, and Saturday at U.S. 36 Raceway in Osborn, Missouri.