Tony Stewart Racing Teammates Eye Memorial Day Weekend Double
INDIANAPOLIS – It’s only appropriate that on Memorial Day weekend, the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series is set to do battle at dirt tracks in North Carolina and Indiana. Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz continue one of the most grueling racing schedules in all of motorsports this weekend with Friday’s Circle K/NOS Energy Drink Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Monday’s Memorial Day spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway’s.
With a slate of major motorsports events all across the landscape including the IndyCar Series’ Indianapolis 500, NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 and Formula 1’s Grand Prix of Monaco, the WoO STP Sprint Car Series stars will bookend the weekend with stops 29 and 30 of their 92-race 2014 WoO campaign.
Friday’s annual May stop at The Dirt Track is part of the weekend festivities at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s the 30th night of WoO competition on the 4/10-mile clay oval, which opened in May 2000. Schatz, driver of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J, leads all drivers with seven career WoO A-Feature wins. The five-time WoO champion won his seventh A-Feature during the opening night of last year’s World Finals. He finished third in the season finale to increase his career number of top-10s there to 24. Kinser, pilot of the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim, is making his final run at his 21st WoO STP Sprint Car Series championship in this season tabbed the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour.” Each of the first 20 starts at The Dirt Track by “The King of the Outlaws” resulted in top-10 finishes. The Bloomington, Indiana racer was a winner at the facility in October 2001, and he also won the 2007 World Finals finale after leading all 30 laps. He finished fifth in last year’s season finale.
The weekend concludes with Monday’s race at Lawrenceburg, where Schatz has been victorious in two of the last three WoO stops at the 3/8-mile high-banked dirt oval located in southeast Indiana. He raced to victory in 2009 and finished his night in victory lane again last May. Kinser won the Outlaws’ first race at Lawrenceburg back in May 1979. He finished fourth in 2012 and 17th last season.
Through 28 WoO races this season, Schatz continues to hold third in the championship standings. He has 4,076 points and trails leader Daryn Pittman by 38 markers. He has three wins, 18 top-fives and a series-best 26 top-10s. The Fargo, North Dakota driver has earned 12 consecutive top-10s. Kinser remains seventh overall with 3,774 points and is 340 points out of first.
Friday at The Dirt Track, the pit gates will open at 1 p.m. EDT and the grandstands open at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:20 p.m. For tickets and more information, contact the track by calling (800) 455-FANS, or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
Monday at Lawrenceburg, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are set for 6 p.m. For more details and ticket information, contact the track at (812) 539-4700 or visit www.lawrenceburgspeedway.com.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend’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.
Steve Kinser, Driver of the No. 11 TSR/Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim:
After five races in seven nights, your Bad Boy Buggies team returns to Charlotte for the annual Outlaw Showdown. What does coming to Charlotte mean to you?
“We always enjoy racing in Charlotte. It’s one of the premier tracks in the country and a place where you want to win. The fans in that area are some of the best around. As a kid from Indiana, Memorial Day weekend was always special with the Indianapolis 500 and it’s no different for people down there with the Coca-Cola 600. It’s a huge weekend in racing and, if you can get a win or two during the weekend, it feels pretty special. We’re excited about the opportunity Friday. We’ve been running all over the place and had some good nights and some we’d like to forget. Hopefully, Friday is one of the good ones.”
The schedule shifts back to your home state of Indiana for Monday’s Memorial Day race at Lawrenceburg. Two weeks ago, you finished second at Tri-State Speedway near Evansville and you have another race at Kokomo Speedway coming up in a couple of weeks. Is there more pressure to do well when you are racing close to home, like you will be Monday?
“I wouldn’t say there is more pressure. You have more familiar faces in the pits and might hear a few more cheers. We want to do well every time we race. Being closer to home might just mean that we’ve been to the tracks a few more times than the other guys. Lawrenceburg is a little different. It used to be little quarter-mile bullring, and now they’ve added some banking and made it a little bigger. We haven’t been as good as we’d like with the new configuration, but maybe we can have something for them Monday. I know a win would go a long way in helping these Bad Boy Buggies guys. They’ve been working so hard. We hurt two cars in the last few races and they just keep digging harder and harder. It’d be nice to get them something to feel good about close to home.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J:
Friday’s race in Charlotte will be your first since last year’s World Finals. You finished first and third in those two races but came up short in the 2013 season championship. No driver has won more at The Dirt Track than you. Does that give you an advantage over the competition?
“It doesn’t give us any kind of advantage. Every night racing at a dirt track is different. We went to Charlotte last fall looking to win two races, hoping that was good enough to win us the championship. It turns out finishing first and third wasn’t enough, but we feel like we have a good package to start with at Charlotte. I’ve won a couple of May shows (2007 and 2010), but we haven’t been as good in May as we have in November. Hopefully, we can change that Friday. The STP team continues to try to find ways to get us faster. We’re just not exactly where we want to be. I’ve always said that winning races was the key. We’ve won three this year but haven’t been in contention as much as we’ve liked. We’ll keep searching until we can get back to competing for wins regularly.”
After Charlotte you’re heading to Minnesota to drive a Dirt Late Model two nights before Monday’s WoO race at Lawrenceburg. Does racing the Dirt Late Model help you with your Sprint car?
“They are quite a bit different. I race the Dirt Late Model for fun. I started running it last year and had some fun. I haven’t raced it since January, so I’m looking forward to getting back in the car. It’s just a way for me to have a lot of fun trying to learn how to drive something else. I’m going to be learning for quite a while, so there’s probably something in there that will help. I think last year we won a couple of races and then won the Outlaw race at Lawrenceburg the next night. That would be fun to do again.”
About Armored AutoGroup
Armored AutoGroup Inc., headquartered in Danbury, Conn., is primarily comprised of the Armor All®, STP® and Tuff Stuff® brands. The current Armor All product line of protectants, wipes, tire and wheel care products, glass cleaners, leather care products and car washes are designed to clean, shine and protect interior and exterior automobile surfaces. The STP product line of fuel and oil additives, functional fluids and automotive appearance products have a broad customer base ranging from professional racers to car enthusiasts and "Do-it-Yourselfers". Tuff Stuff cleaning products are formulated to tackle the toughest jobs.
Armored AutoGroup has a diversified geographic footprint with direct operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and the U.K. and distributor relationships in approximately 50 countries. For more information, please visit www.armorall.com and www.stp.com.
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 4x4 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, 4WD 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 4WD, diesel-powered utility vehicle with a total capacity of 1,600 pounds. In 2010, the Bad Boy Buggies brand and product line were acquired by E-Z-GO, a business unit of Textron Inc.
For more information, please visit www.badboybuggies.com.
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine