INDIANAPOLIS – For the last 20 years, one constant with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series has been the rise from rookie racer to decorated champion by Donny Schatz. After closing his 20th campaign with a victory in the season finale and capturing his eighth WoO championship, the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing driver begins his third decade of competition with “The Greatest Show on Dirt” looking to resume his historic run in grassroots racing’s most competitive series.
Schatz and his TSR team, with new partners Arctic Cat and Ford Performance on board, lead the Outlaws into the series’ 40th campaign – a 93-race ride starting with this weekend’s 46th annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida.
This year’s DIRTcar Nationals marks the 13th consecutive season the Outlaws have opened their schedule with events that are part of Florida Speedweeks, and Schatz has been a major player the previous 12 years. After leading the opening-night A-Feature in 2005, Schatz has earned at least one top-two finish in 10 of the previous 11 season openers. He started WoO title defenses in 2007, 2009 and 2010 by racing to victory in the season opener and, in the last three consecutive DIRTcar Nationals events, he has raced to victory in the second race each year, giving him eight career WoO wins at the half-mile, dirt oval, the most by any driver.
Those victories are part of an eye-popping 105 triumphs the Fargo, North Dakota racer has earned since the beginning of the 2013 season en route to three consecutive WoO titles. With 25 triumphs last year, Schatz became the only driver in Outlaws history to win 20 or more WoO A-Features in four consecutive seasons. He returns to Florida with his crew of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti intact and poised to continue the team’s run into the history books.
The only change for 2017 is the look of the TSR No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J. A black with bright green and white car adorning brand marks of Arctic Cat and Ford Performance will carry Schatz in pursuit of a ninth WoO championship in this, his 10th season of driving for three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. Since joining TSR in 2008, Schatz has won six WoO championships and finished second in the championship standings three times to go along with seven Knoxville Nationals victories and a pair of runner-up finishes in the sport’s signature event. The team has won every major Sprint car race at least once during his tenure, including last year’s 33rd annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway. The combination continues to set the standard in short-track racing.
A pair of Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) events Wednesday and Thursday night precede the Friday-, Saturday- and Sunday-night WoO races at Volusia this week. Schatz and his TSR crew spent last weekend competing in the ASCoC-sanctioned Bubba Army Winter Nationals at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida, where he raced to victory in the first two nights of action before finishing second in Saturday’s finale. The wins pushed his career total in All-Star victories to 15, with 12 of those being scored in the Sunshine State. Half of his Florida All-Star triumphs have come at Volusia, including a run from last to first in the 2009 opener and his charge from 10th to first in the second night of action last February.
For all five races at Volusia Speedway Park, the pit gates open at 1 p.m. EST and the grandstands open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Tickets for the race weekend can be purchased by calling Volusia Speedway Park at (386) 985-4402. For more information on the event, visitwww.DIRTcarNationals.com.
Race fans unable to attend the DIRTcar Nationals can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Live video coverage is available 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. Visit to DIRTVision.com for more information.
Fans are encouraged to follow the progress of Schatz, TSR and the No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J throughout the campaign on the web and social media. More information can be found at www.TonyStewartRacing.com, www.arcticcat.com, and www.donnyschatzmotorsports.com.
Tony Stewart Racing: Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TonyStewartRacing or on Twitter and Instagram @TonyStewart_Rcg.
Donny Schatz: Facebook at www.facebook.com/DonnySchatz or on Twitter and Instagram @DonnySchatz.
Arctic Cat: Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArcticCat or on Twitter and Instagram @ArcticCat_atv @ArcticCat_Snow
The TSR Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance team can be followed on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/TonyStewart_Rcg, liked on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TonyStewartRacing, and followed on Instgram @TonyStewart_Rcg.
- Krista K. Massey
Former Group Vice President, Director of Sponsorships and Event Marketing
SunTrust Banks, Inc.