INDIANAPOLIS– It’s been a historic start to the 2015 World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series campaign for Tony Stewart-Curb Agajanian Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz and his Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team. And this weekend, the six-time and reigning WoO champion looks to continue his incredible season in the 32nd annual Kings Royal at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
With 20 wins in the first 44 WoO races including a pair at Eldora earlier this year, Schatz opens Sprint car racing’s ‘Month of Money’ with high expectations. The driver of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J has finished second and third in the two most recent 40-lap Kings Royal main events and is seeking his first victory in the historic $50,000-to-win race since 2009.
Momentum is a huge part of any sport and Sprint car racing is no different. In the last 23 races, Schatz has won 14 times and finished second six during a run started that with his sweep of the Outlaws May stop at the famed half-mile, dirt oval. His victory on May 8 was his first victory at Eldora since his 2009 Kings Royal triumph, and the Fargo, North Dakota driver increased his career WoO wins at Eldora to seven after leading all 30 laps on May 9.
In the previous 31 Kings Royal races, 17 different drivers have captured the $50,000 first prize and been crowned King on the famous stage. The post-race ritual is one of the most unique in motorsports and only six drivers have been part of that ceremony on multiple occasions. Twenty-time WoO champion and fellow TSR and Bad Boy Buggies driver Steve Kinser won the first Kings Royal in 1984 and has won it a total of seven times. Sammy Swindell and Jac Haudenschild are three-time winners, while Doug Wolfgang, Joey Saldana and Schatz have won the prestigious race twice.
The 1996 Kings Royal was the race where Schatz splashed onto the national scene as an 18-year-old WISSOTA champion. In his first appearance in the Kings Royal, Schatz made the 24-car field and finished eighth in the race that was televised live nationally. He’s made every Kings Royal A-Main field since then and has earned nine top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. The Fargo, North Dakota driver is looking to qualify for his 20th consecutive ‘Royal Rumble’ and become the fourth driver with at least three wins in the race.
Wins this season have come at rapid pace for Schatz. His 20 wins are already the third most in any of his previous 19 seasons on tour with the Outlaws. And this weekend, he has the opportunity to add to that total with Eldora’s Knight Before the Kings Royal race and Kings Royal main events.
The quest for a seventh WoO championship continues with Friday’s event being a full points show. Saturday’s Kings Royal will award each team participating 75 points toward the championship. Schatz carries a 290-point advantage over Shane Stewart into the ‘Month of Money’ and leads the series in wins (20), top-fives (34), top-10s (41), laps led (383), and KSE Hard Charger Awards (six).
Both Friday and Saturday at Eldora Speedway, the pit and grandstand gates will open at 12 noon ET. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. More details are available by calling Eldora Speedway at (937) 338-3815, or by visiting www.eldoraspeedway.com.
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:
You and your Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team have had a great first half of the season. What’s the key to making it one of the best you’ve ever had?
“The results we’ve had so far are a direct result of the hard work everyone involved at Tony Stewart Racing. It starts at the top with Tony. He has given us an incredible opportunity to go out and do our jobs. We have great marketing partners in Bad Boy Buggies and Chevrolet Performance. The people in Indy do a great job making sure we have all we need to compete. The work my crew – Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman – puts in is incredible. The preparation last winter and everything they do on a daily basis is why we’ve been able to put up some good numbers through the first part of the year. We are all extremely competitive people and continue to raise the bar and expectations. To have a successful season, we need to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Working hard and putting ourselves in the best position to win. These big races coming up are really important. You only get one chance at them and they are the races that help make a good season a great one.”
Sprint car racing’s ‘Month of Money’ is part of the year that can really go a long way in making a team’s season successful. Does anything change in your game plan as you approach these next four weeks?
“It all goes back to preparation. This team has been together for quite a few years and understands how important this time of the year is. We have a plan and it really isn’t much different than what we’ve done all season. You do the best you can to have everything in order so when you show up at the track you can focus on the track and getting better as the night goes on. There is some added excitement around it all. Racing for those prestigious trophies and how everything builds up starting with the Kings Royal all the way through the Nationals. The bottom line is that they are all races and we love the challenge of trying to go out and win them.”
Speaking of the Kings Royal, what makes it different than any other race of the season?
“The King Royal has been a really big deal for a long time. It’s at Eldora. There’s so much tradition. Knowing the guys before you that have won there. It’s being crowned. Getting up on that stage at the end of the night and holding up that check. It’s a race everyone wants to win. The format is different than we run most nights. The place is jammed with people. The fans are so into the race. There is so much energy around it. As a driver and team, you have to get yourself in position to have a chance. Get qualified and then through your heat race. Once you’ve done that it comes down to 40 laps. It’s an honor to be part of such a special race. We’re really looking forward to it.”
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
- Jonathan Paluga
Director of Marketing & Sales
Armor All & STP Brands