Photo Credit: Mike Spieker / Speedway Shots
FARGO, N.D. (February 15, 2019) – There had been a lot of change surrounding 10-time World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car champion, Donny Schatz, entering his 23rd full-time season with the Greatest Show on Dirt. The most visible changes were a new co-primary partner and new colors on the Shaver powered J&J for the 2019 season. Behind the scenes, a new crew chief and two new crew members turning the wrenches perhaps was the biggest adjustment for Schatz as he sets out for his 11th career World of Outlaws title.
After four nights of racing at Volusia Speedway Park, one thing remains certain. Schatz can still wheel his Tony Stewart Racing No. 15. Schatz passed no less than 40 cars during A-feature action at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” earning two Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions hard charger awards and two World of Outlaws top five finishes.
The action began Wednesday, Feb. 6th with the All-Stars, where Schatz had to transfer into the main event by way of the B-main. A charge from seventh to second was enough to get the Fargo, N.D. driver a 22nd-place starting position in the feature. In an impressive drive, Schatz cruised through a stacked lineup to record a fourth-place finish.
In similar fashion on night two with the All-Stars, Schatz secured a 22nd-place starting position in the feature after a second-place run in the ‘B’. Again, Schatz sliced his way through the field to garner a ninth-place result at the checkers of the 30-lapper.
Qualifying improved as the World of Outlaws season kicked off on Friday, Feb. 8th. The driver of the Rush Truck Centers / Ford Performance machine finished fifth after starting in the 10th position. The following evening, Schatz timed in seventh quick out of the 31 competitors – his best qualifying effort of the week. After starting seventh on the grid for the main event, Schatz became a contender for the win in the late stages, but came home with a third-place finish and his first podium of the 2019 season. Sunday’s scheduled Sprint Car finale at the DIRTcar Nationals was canceled due to rain.
“We had a solid week at Volusia. We aren’t happy unless we are standing in victory lane at the end of the night, but I’m pleased with the effort of my Tony Stewart Racing team,” said Schatz. “We had good speed each night. We just missed it in qualifying and when there are that many strong cars in the field, you can’t set yourself back early in the night like that. It was a good start to our 2019 Outlaws season and I’m looking forward to building upon that next week in Texas.”
Next up, the World of Outlaws head to the Lone Star state for a pair of shows. The series will make its third-ever appearance to Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas on Friday, Feb. 22nd. Schatz is still looking for his first win at the three-eighths mile oval, but has a top five and a pair of top tens.
On Saturday, Feb. 23rd, LoneStar Speedway in Kilgore will host the Outlaws. Schatz is the defending race winner at the high-banked three-eighths mile with his win in 2017. Last year’s event was canceled due to rain.
Two races into the marathon that is the World of Outlaws season, Schatz sits tied for third in the point standings with Brad Sweet, 16 points behind Daryn Pittman.
Schatz continue his week at the DIRTcar Nationals by competing with the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series at Volusia Speedway Park in his Schatz Crossroads / Fastlane Car Wash No. 15 Rocket.
2019 Stats (World of Outlaws):
Top Fives: 2
Top Tens: 2
Previous Results at Cotton Bowl Speedway:
2018 – 9th on April 26th (started 4th)
2016 – 5th on February 26 (started 13th)
Previous Results at LoneStar Speedway:
2017 – 1st on March 3 (started on the pole; lead all 35 laps)
2010 – 14th on March 12 (started 6th)
2009 – 2nd on April 10 (started 6th); 6th on October 24 (started 6th)
2004 – 5th on March 12 (started 9th)
2003 – 2nd on October 24 (started on the pole; lead 29 laps)
Tony Stewart Racing:
2018 World of Outlaws Stats:
Top Fives: 52
Top Tens: 66