Summer Nationals Next Challenge for Surging Outlaw Points Leader
INDIANAPOLIS (July 20, 2016) – Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz and his Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance team continue to raise the standard of excellence in the grueling World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman® Sprint Car Series. Following their victory last Saturday night in the 33rd annual Kings Royal at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio to kick off Sprint car racing’s “Month of Money,” the seven-time and reigning WoO champion and his TSR crew are looking to add another big payday in this weekend’s Champion Oil Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
Schatz is in the midst of one of his patented runs during the heat of summer, scoring 13 podium finishes in his previous 15 WoO races. Those numbers include six victories, and the driver of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance J&J is on a streak of eight consecutive top-two finishes followingTuesday night’s runner up effort in the 25th annual Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania.
The Fargo, North Dakota resident will return to action Friday in the opener of the two-night Summer Nationals program. Friday will include qualifying, heat races, a dash, and will conclude with a 25-lap A-Feature. Saturday is another complete night of action culminating with a 30-lap A-Feature that not only serves as the Summer Nationals finale, but also a chance to compete for the rights to the Morgan Cup. The Morgan Cup, a challenge between the World of Outlaws and Pennsylvania Posse, was originally scheduled for May but had to be moved to the Summer Nationals when the program was washed out. The addition increases Saturday’s winners share from $20,000 to $25,000.
During his 20 years of competing with the World of Outlaws, Schatz has posted some very good results at Williams Grove Speedway. His most recent victory at the historic facility came in May 2015, when he passed Greg Hodnett late in the race to earn his 15th career A-Feature victory at the track. He also has four preliminary-night victories to give him a total of 19 wins at the track. His next victory at the half-mile, dirt oval will tie him with his childhood idol Doug Wolfgang. Seven of Schatz’s 19 triumphs have come during the Summer Nationals. He has finished second in the previous two Summer Nationals finales and raced from sixth to third in the Spring Nationals opener.
As Schatz continues to trend upward, his grasp on the competition in the WoO championship standings tightens. He has built a 226-point advantage over David Gravel through 52 events and is the series leader in wins with 15, podium finishes with 26, top-fives with 37, and top-10s with 49.
For both nights at Williams Grove, the pit gates open at 3 p.m. EDT. The grandstands will open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit williamsgrove.comor call 717-697-5000.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s races at Williams Grove Speedway can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Live video coverage is available for all both nights on a pay-per-view basis or fans can listen free as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Craftsman Sprint Car Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to DIRTVision.com for more information.
The TSR Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance team can be followed on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/TonyStewart_
|Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance J&J:|
This team has surged its way into July and last weekend came out victorious in the prestigious Kings Royal. Does it take any pressure off knowing that you already have scored a win in one of the biggest races of the season?
“We have incredibly high expectations and we won’t be satisfied with just one victory. I’ve learned over the course of my career how hard it is to win races like the Kings Royal. You appreciate everything it takes once you are able to get one. Last year, we had an incredible season but we didn’t win the Kings Royal. We wanted it badly. All of these races are hard to win, but I’m surrounded by a terrific group of guys who are extremely driven. And they aren’t going to stop working hard. There was a tremendous sense of accomplishment Saturday but, as soon as we left the track, we turned our focus on the next race. We had a great shot at getting another victory Tuesday night in Lernerville but came up just a little bit short. That will drive us this weekend. You only get so many opportunities to win big races.”
Consistency throughout the night has been a major factor in your results over the last 15 races. What has enabled you to be strong from early in the night through the feature events?
“We put in a lot of work early in the year trying all kinds of things to get us better. We had some struggles but things have come together for us. Early in the year, our qualifying results weren’t where we needed and that put us behind some. Now we are having more success in qualifying and that’s giving us better opportunities to win heat races and make the dashes. The extra track time has allowed us to try more things and fine-tune things even more. We’re gaining on it but still have a lot of work to do.”
Last week’s challenge was three nights at Eldora, culminating with the extremely difficult Kings Royal format. This week, it’s taking on one of the toughest regional contingents of competitors you face all season at a track that can be difficult to get ahold of. What’s the strategy heading to Williams Grove?
“The strategy is just like any other night. Saturday, we knew they had a big invert in the heats, but our goal was to still go out and put up the best lap we could in qualifying. We ended up fourth and were able to charge up through our heat race. At Williams Grove, we know we have to qualify well and then find a way to make the dash. There are a lot of good cars that race at Williams Grove every week. We like the challenge of taking on the best in the business. We came up a little short in May and the same has been true in the past two Summer Nationals. This weekend, our goal is to come out on top and leave Pennslyvania with the big trophy on Saturday night.”