INDIANAPOLIS – With summer officially here, the mercury in thermometers all across the country will continue to rise. In World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series competition, the arrival of summer traditionally has signaled the time when Tony Stewart-Curb Agajanian Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz begins to heat up, but this year the driver of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J and his TSR team have already reached a boiling pace and are in the midst of a five-race winning streak heading to three races this week.
Schatz has 16 wins after running the table last week in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and is looking to continue his blistering trail with stops in Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin this week. The six-time and reigning WoO champion leads the Outlaws into action Wednesday at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Michigan before Friday’s race at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. The week is capped off with Saturday’s stop at Beaver Dam (Wis.) Raceway.
Wednesday’s NAPA Auto Parts Rumble at I-96 was originally scheduled for May 30, but Mother Nature washed out the event and it was rescheduled during a stretch of 12 races in 22 days. Schatz returns to I-96 as the defending event winner after overtaking Brad Sweet on lap 20 of the 35-lap A-Feature to collect his first win at the reconfigured 3/8-mile, dirt oval. The win pushed Schatz into the points lead on the final day of May, a position he would not relinquish the rest of the season. The victory was one of a career-best 26 wins last year and first in 12 career races at I-96.
Schatz also broke through for the first time at 34 Raceway last season. His victory on June 27, 2014 was historic as it pushed him into third all-time on the WoO win list with 154 triumphs. Schatz started 10th and made one of his patented runs though the pack, grabbing the lead on lap 25 of the 35-lap race. The victory, which enabled him to eclipse Mark Kinser’s 153 career WoO A-Feature wins, was his first at 34 Raceway, a track the Outlaws have competed at four times – 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2014.
Beaver Dam Raceway has been a regular stop on the Outlaws tour during Schatz’ first 18 seasons. His lone victory at 1/3-mile, dirt oval came in July 2002 when he led all 40 laps of the A-Feature. The race victory came just three days after he won at his hometown track, Red River Valley Speedway in Fargo, North Dakota, and was his first winning streak as an Outlaw. Last season, Schatz started fifth and finished third in the A-Feature.
The Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team has been posting remarkable numbers through 37 of the 88 races scheduled for the 2015 WoO campaign. Schatz continues building his lead in the championship standings and has pushed it to 196 markers over Shane Stewart. He leads the series in wins with 16, top-fives with 27, top-10s with 34, laps led with 312, and KSE Hard Charger Awards with five. The team has also completed 139 consecutive WoO A-Features, dating back to September 2013.
Wednesday for the NAPA Auto Parts Rumble at I-96 Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. EDT and the grandstands at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit i96speedway.com or call 616-642-0555.
Friday at 34 Raceway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT and the grandstands at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit 34raceway.com or call 319-752-3434.
For Saturday’s Jim Boyd “JB” Memorial presented by Karavan Trailers at Beaver Dam Raceway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT and the grandstands at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit wismotorsports.net or call 920-887-1600.
Race fans unable to attend this week’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Sprint Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J:
With more than one third of the season already in the books, do you feel like this is your best season ever with the World of Outlaws?
“Obviously, we still have to finish it out to make it the best season. Last year, we had the most wins in a single season that we’ve ever had. We are a long way from that and we have a lot of the season left to go. But it has been pretty unbelievable, really. The three guys on the Bad Boys Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team – Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman – are pretty incredible. We have worked together a long time, and those guys are very competitive, and they will settle for nothing less than a win. There are some nights that they want more. They want to be better than they are. Those guys are working on the right areas to make things better, and that’s probably the key – having those three guys doing their job to the max.”
When you are performing at this kind of pace, do you want to keep racing as often as you can?
“Racing is what we do. There are a lot of things we want to continue to improve on, so the more we can race, the more opportunities we have to get better. In the past, this has been a time when things started really clicking. We’ve had good starts before, but these guys just keep striving for more. Last week, we raced three times and I feel like we learned quite a bit each night. This week is another one of those opportunities. We’ve had some success at all three places and the goal is for that to continue. We had good performances at both I-96 and 34 Raceway last year and we’re hoping to do that again. We’ve had some really good nights at Beaver Dam throughout my career and it’s been a long time (2002) since we’ve been able to come out on top there. That’s the challenge we have. Taking advantage of every opportunity is the mentality we’re working with right now.”
About Bad Boy Buggies®
Bad Boy Buggies® is a leader in off-road utility vehicles for hunting and outdoor lifestyles. Bad Boy Buggies pioneered the category of electrically powered four-wheel-drive vehicles, ideal for hunting and outdoor recreation due to their silent, odorless operation and environmentally friendly, emissions-free drivetrains.
Today, the Bad Boy Buggies product line ranges from four-wheel-drive electric hunting machines such as the Recoil®, a fully electric, four-wheel-drive vehicle with an innovative, highly efficient 72-volt AC electric drivetrain, to the Work Series of diesel- and gas-powered utility vehicles, including the Bad Boy Buggies XD, a versatile four-wheel-drive, diesel-powered utility vehicle with a total capacity of 1,600 pounds.
About Chevrolet Performance®
Driven by more than 100 years of motorsports heritage, Chevrolet Performance fuels the passions of automotive enthusiasts through high-performance vehicles, parts and racing. Performance cars include Camaro SS, SS 1LE, ZL1, Z/28 and the COPO Camaro. Chevrolet Performance parts include crate engines, transmissions, controllers and street-level components. Chevrolet competes in NASCAR, NHRA, IMSA, IndyCar and a variety of circle track racing series.
More information can be found at: www.chevrolet.com/performance
– TSC –
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine