Donny Schatz kicks off 24th World of Outlaws season in Florida on Friday.
By Mike Spieker
FARGO, N.D. – New year, new mindset. That’s the outlook for 10-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car champion Donny Schatz as he begins his 24th season on the Outlaws tour on Friday night at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida.
In a historically close points race last season, Schatz came up four points shy (equating to two finishing positions) of claiming his 11th series title. Since then, Schatz has turned the page.
“It’s 2020, it’s a new year and a fresh start and we are ready to get going. You don’t know it at the time, but sometimes when you look back on the previous season, you realize you maybe weren’t invested 100 percent as you should be. First, you have to realize it, then acknowledge it and correct it. I’ve done that and I’m ready to get this season underway. ”
Last season, Schatz led the Outlaws in top fives, was tied for the most top tens and ranked third in the number of wins. For most drivers, that would be a career-best season, but for Schatz, it was considered an off-year.
“We’ve had some years where we’ve won 30-plus races and we’d like to get back to that,” said Schatz, who captured 11 victories in 2019. “I didn’t do the job to my ability a lot of times last year, which put us in a position where the championship came down to the final night of the season and we didn’t come out on top. We want to rectify that. We want to build on our success of the past and be better at the tracks at which we aren’t as good. Everybody on this team has worked hard to do that and now it’s time. We’re ready.”
After spending the last 24 years on the Outlaws tour and the last 27 years in sprint car racing, Schatz says his competitive fire still burns going into each night of racing.
“Racing is what I love to do. It does become a repetitive thing year after year, but it’s a thing I always look forward to as the new season approaches. The guys you get to race with, the people you get to be around, the things you see change over the years – most of them for the better, that’s what you look forward to each year. It’s also the competition. We want to win championships, but the competition is what keeps us motivated and excited,” said Schatz.
Volusia Speedway Park: ‘A beast of its own.’
The World of Outlaws has opened its season at Volusia Speedway Park each year since 2005. The track’s slogan ‘the world’s fastest half-mile’ is no joke. Speeds of 140mph on average around the high-banked D-shaped speedway are seen on a regular basis, making it one of the fastest tracks the Outlaws visit each year.
“Volusia is a big track. I can honestly say there are things you have to do to the car at Volusia that would make no bearing on any other track in the country. You can come to Florida and be dynamite fast and you can leave here and be terrible, or it can work the other way around. It’s an awesome track that way and it’s a beast of its own.”
Schatz has 12 career victories at Volusia, most recently a pair of wins in 2018.
Photo Credit: DB3 Imaging