Seeking a New York Sweep
INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 9, 2015) – The numbers say it’s official, but the only certainty for Tony Stewart-Curb Agajanian Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz is that there are still six opportunities remaining in the 2015 World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series season. Mathematically, Schatz, the driver of the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J, has clinched his seventh WoO championship on the strength of the monster season he and his TSR team are having that has included 30 victories in the season’s first 70 races. But the six-time and reigning WoO champion admits that there is still plenty to accomplish before the season celebration can commence.
This weekend, Schatz leads the Outlaw brigade back to Central New York for its annual race at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in Elbridge, New York. The October stop has become a Saturday staple during Super DIRT Week festivities the last six years and Schatz has enjoyed the Outlaws being added to the card. For the first 12 of his 19 seasons with “The Greatest Show on Dirt,” Schatz ventured to the sprawling 5/8-mile dirt oval early in the summer and picked up wins in 2004 and 2006. Since the event has been moved to later in the year, Schatz has finished in the top-two four times, including wins the last two Octobers.
Winning races the last three seasons has become a regular occurrence for Schatz, who recently won his 79th WoO A-Feature since the start of the 2013 season and 203rd of his WoO career, and both of those Rolling Wheels triumphs set a new career high win number for the Fargo, North Dakota racer. His flag-to-flag victory in the 25-lap contest in October 2013 was his 22nd of the year, and last year’s run from fifth to first was his 25th victory of the season. He’ll be looking to make it three straight Saturday and push to his career-best win total in a single season to 31.
With two of his 30 wins this season coming in New York, he’ll look to remain undefeated in the Empire State Saturday night. The Fargo, North Dakota racer was victorious May 17 at Weedsport Speedway and July 26 at Lebanon Valley Speedway. The Lebanon Valley victory was his 10th career WoO A-Feature win in New York.
Not only is Schatz looking to continue his New York winning streak, he’ll also be trying to resume a remarkable streak of 173 consecutive WoO A-Feature races without a DNF (did not finish). His Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance crew of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman have worked extremely hard over the past three seasons to keep Schatz in every race. The third-leading winner of all-time in WoO history has done an amazing job of taking every checkered flag since September 6, 2013.
Consistency has been key for Schatz in leading the series with 30 wins, 16 second-place finishes, 57 top-fives and 65 top-10s. The No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J has led a series-high 588 laps and built a lead of 479 points.
Schatz is also looking to generate awareness for breast cancer for the third consecutive year while visiting Rolling Wheels. In 2013 and 2014, Schatz wore a special pink helmet and gloves and, this year, the TSR No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance J&J will carry pink stripes on the black-and-white machine as part of TSR’s appreciation for Chevrolet’s continued support of TSR’s winged Sprint car racing teams. Anyone interested in donating to Chevrolet’s 2015 pink initiative is encouraged to visit www.cancer.org/chevroletmsabc and follow the interactive steps to contribute. The team is encouraging fans to join the cause and spread awareness through social media with images of the car and Schatz using the hashtag #IDriveFor.
Schatz is coming off a second-place finish Sunday night in the 53rd annual National Open at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Schatz made a late push to track down eventual winner Stevie Smith. The finish was his third consecutive runner-up finish at Williams Grove. In July, Schatz finished second to Smith in the Summer Nationals finale one night before his victory at Lebanon Valley Speedway.
Saturday at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, the pit gate opens at 4 p.m. EDT and the grandstands open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6. More details are available by calling Rolling Wheels Raceway Park at (315) 834-6606, or by visiting www.rollingwheelsracewaypark.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:
The 2015 season has been a memorable one for so many reasons. Last Sunday, you were able to clinch the championship mathematically. How long will it take for everything to sink in?
“We’re still all really focused on the six races we have left. You know in the back of your mind that as long as you make it to each race that you will have the ultimate prize of a championship when we get to Charlotte. I’m sure once we get a little closer to the World Finals it will start sinking in. We talked about finishing strong. The last couple of years we’ve been able to win a lot of races in October and November and that’s something we want to do again this year. You only get so many opportunities. We’ve got three weekends left before Charlotte and we want to not only learn something each weekend, but the goal is to win races. Tony Stewart has surrounded me with an incredible group of people — from our sponsors Bad Boy Buggies and Chevrolet Performance to the guys who work with me every night at the track. It’s a pleasure to be part of this team and we’re going to do everything we can these next few weeks to have some more fun.”
The World of Outlaws schedule takes you all across the country and to a variety of different places. You’ve raced at Rolling Wheels since your rookie season. What makes it unique?
“It’s always been a fun place for me. Early in my career, we had a run through the East and coming to Rolling Wheels was something we all looked forward to. The fans come out and pack the place and the track was so big and gets pretty slick. I’ve had some great runs there through the years. We’ve done some odd-ball stuff there and figured out ways to make it work. The last couple of years we’ve really had a good package there. Any time you can go to a track and be able to move around, you are going to have some fun. My guys are ready to get up there and see what we can do.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine