BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND – Almost two months after completing his 20th season of racing with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, Sprint car star Donny Schatz has landed in Australia and is ready for his 20th run Down Under.
Schatz begins his six-race tour at Audseck Patios Archerfield Speedway in Brisbane, Queensland, Monday with the Boxing Day USA Round 1 event. His race schedule also includes USA Round 2 and 3 on December 30 and January 1. The eight-time WoO champion will be take on the traveling stars of the Speedway Australia World Series Sprintcars Wednesday, January 4, Friday, January 6 and in the Australian Open finale Saturday, July 7.
“We’re really excited to be here and looking forward to another great time,” said Schatz. “Being able to spend the holiday with my friends John and Kathy Kelly and their family has become a tradition. Coming over here for 20 years has allowed me to build some great relationships and racing on Boxing Day and the New Years holiday is a great way to end one year and begin another.”
The reigning WoO champion will drive one of his familiar black and yellow No. 15 J&J machines that he drove during his 25-WoO win campaign in 2016. For the second consecutive year, Lannie Nichols has traveled to Australia to assist Schatz with his machine. The tandem will be looking to begin a new winning streak on Monday. Schatz reeled off 14 consecutive wins at Archerfield, including the first three during last year’s tour, before finishing fourth in the Construction Solutions Piston Cup feature event last January 6. In typical Schatz fashion, he rebounded by winning the next outing, the 20-lap Australian Open preliminary feature, two nights later with a run from seventh and making a late pass of Brooke Tatnell. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to make it two in a row the following night in the 50-lap Australian Open finale. He raced from seventh to third following winner Kerry Madsen and Tatnell to the stripe.
“We want to win some races and get that Australian Open back,” said Schatz, a seven-time Australian Open winner. “We had a good weekend last year in the Open event, but had some trouble early Saturday night in the heats and weren’t able to advance enough positions. Kerry and Brooke set a really good pace and they weren’t going let me get away with getting around them two nights in a row. I’m really looking forward to another great six nights of racing this year. We’re going to have some fun, try to win some races and hopefully finish the trip off on a high note getting that Open trophy back.”
The final three races are World Series Sprinters events and Schatz will be looking to continue to build on his legacy in Australia. He ranks fourth all-time in WSS wins with 23, tying him with Robbie Farr, and has the chance to move into third if he can win two events this year.
Race fans can follow his results by visiting donnyschatz.com or facebook.com/DonnySchatz following the races updates after each night. Live audio is available for the first three races at www.sprintcarworld.com.au and live video of the World Series Sprintcars events is available on pay per view.
DONNY SCHATZ – 2016-17 AUSTRALIAN TOUR
Dec. 26 Sprintcars – USA Round 1
Dec. 30 Sprintcars – USA Round 2
Jan. 1 Sprintcars – USA Round 3
Jan. 4 World Series Sprintcars
Jan. 6 World Series Sprintcars (Australian Open Night 1)
Jan. 7 World Series Sprintcars (Australia Open Finale)