FARGO, N.D. (August 14, 2019) – The 59th annual NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals is in the books. Although Donny Schatz and the Tony Stewart Racing No. 15 team didn’t achieve the result they were shooting for – an 11th Knoxville Nationals title – the team still put on an impressive performance as they battled adversity all week long. “It’s pretty clear that on paper, it’s the worst Nationals I’ve had in over 15 years,” stated Schatz. “It is what it is. We had problems in our heat race on our qualifying night and didn’t transfer through when we had the engine issue. That set the table for everything. It’s hard to dig out of that hole. We’ve done it before (in 2013) but we were obviously in a lot better position with things then and the track was different. Everything was about as perfect as could be.
“The guys did a great job of overcoming all of the hurdles and issues we encountered. Coming into Saturday, I felt like we still had a chance to compete and win.”
After starting fourth in the B-Main on Saturday night and transferring with a second-place finish, Schatz rolled off in the 18th position for the 50-lap championship main event. On lap six, Schatz encountered another setback that forced him to restart at the tail of the field.
“We had something come through the side of the car and hung the throttle. That put us back into the work area and to the back of the field,” he said. “From there, it’s tough sailing to try to work through that many cars. That was the story of the week.”
After restarting 24th with 44 laps to go, Schatz began his trek forward. The race went green to checkered from that point forward, other than the scheduled fuel stop on lap 25. Schatz crossed Doug Clark’s twin checkers in the ninth position to record his 18th career Knoxville Nationals A-main top 10.
“Hats off to Jason Johnson’s race team and Jaxx, Bobbi and David Gravel. They did a great job and got themselves another Nationals win,” said Schatz.
The focus for Schatz now shifts back to the World of Outlaws schedule and points race. The Outlaws will visit two of Schatz’s home tracks this weekend. The Greatest Show on Dirt heads to River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D. on Friday, August 16th. Schatz leads all World of Outlaws drivers with 11 career wins at the three-tenths mile bullring. The 10-time World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion swept both races at the speedway in 2018.
On Saturday, August 17th, the series will head to Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D. Schatz picked up a thrilling win there last year to claim his third overall Outlaws win at the speedway and first since 2006.
Schatz currently sits second in the point standings, two markers behind Brad Sweet.
Schatz will also be competing with the NLRA Late Models on Friday and Saturday.
Schatz and the entire Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing team would like to thank Toco Warranty, Ford Performance, Curb Records, Sage Fruit, Absolute Automation & Security and J&J Auto Racing for their continued support.
2019 Stats (World of Outlaws):
Top Fives: 31
Top Tens: 42