INDIANAPOLIS – After beginning May on the famous high banks of Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway, traveling through enemy territory for their first assault on the Pennsylvania Posse and completing the annual Memorial Day weekend double in Charlotte and Indiana, Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz will close the month with their 11th and 12th nights of action this weekend. Friday’s race at Attica (Ohio) Raceway Park and Saturday’s stop at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Michigan are nights 32 and 33 of the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series intense 92-race 2014 campaign.
Schatz leads the Outlaws into action behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J as both the series’ most recent winner and the most recent winner in Outlaw competition at Attica. The five-time WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion led the final 13 laps in Monday night’s 35-lap A-Feature at Lawrenceburg (Indiana) Speedway to earn his fourth triumph of 2014 and 151st WoO A-Feature of his career. The past two scheduled stops at Attica have been lost to Mother Nature, but in May 2011 Schatz conquered the competition and the 1/3-mile, dirt oval in northwest Ohio. The victory was his second at the track and third consecutive race at Attica where he led the A-Feature. He won the 2008 race and was in control of the 2009 race for the first 31 laps before being collected by a lapped car.
Kinser continues the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour” with his final start about both facilities as a championship contender with “The Greatest Show on Dirt.” The 20-time WoO champion returns in the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim looking to qualify for his 12th WoO A-Feature at Attica. The Bloomington, Indiana racer won the first time he competed at the track in 1989, scoring the non-sanctioned Brad Doty Classic. He returned the following season and won the Outlaws debut at the track in May 1990. Kinser made it two straight WoO victories at the track by winning again in August 1991. He finished sixth in his most recent start at Attica in May 2011.
Saturday’s stop in central Michigan will be the 14th appearance by the Outlaws at I-96 Speedway. Twelve of those races have been contested on the half-mile, dirt oval, only the 2012 race took place when the facility was a 3/8-mile dirt oval. Kinser leads all drivers with four A-Feature victories at the track. After finishing second in the first two WoO races in 1995 and 1996, he came out on top in June 1997. The Outlaws didn’t race at the track between 1998 and 2003. When they returned, Kinser resumed his winning ways taking A-Feature triumphs in September 2004, June 2005 and July 2008. Last June, he finished 10th. Schatz is still chasing his first victory at I-96. He was second to Kinser in 2008 and last June, the Fargo, N.D. racer led the first 22 laps before encountering a problem with the turn two cushion and finishing second.
With 31 WoO races complete, the championship standings continues to be tight at the top. Four drivers are within 61 points. Consistency has kept Schatz in the thick of the title fight as he pursues his sixth WoO championship. Reigning champion Daryn Pittman has 4,393 points and leads Joey Saldana by four points. Schatz, who is just 10 markers back with 4,383 points, has four wins, is tied with Saldana with 20 top-fives and has a series-best 28 top-10s. Kinser continues to rank seventh overall with 4,048 points and has posted one victory, his 577th career WoO A-Feature triumph, seven top-fives and 20 top-10s.
Friday at Attica Raceway Park, the pit gates will open at 3:30 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m. For more details, contact Attica Raceway Park at (419) 680-5606. The official Web site of Attica Raceway Park is www.atticaracewaypark.com.
Saturday at I-96 Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. EDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. For more details and ticket information, contact I-96 Speedway at (616) 642-0555. The official Web site of I-96 Speedway is www.i96speedway.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:
The month of May has been busy both on and off the track for you. What are your goals for the weekend?
“We’ve certainly been all over the map. It’s been really fun to do some of the things away from the track as part of this final year. The fans have been great. It’s been really rewarding to see to so many people come out and talk about how much they enjoy racing. As far as on the track goes, it just seems like lately we’ve been on the bad side of luck. Last weekend, we were leading heat races both at Charlotte and Lawrenceburg and blew rear tires. That took us out of two dash starts. We were able to bounce back and race our way forward in the features, but you hate giving away starting positions like that. The Bad Boy Buggies guys (Scott Gerkin, Gary DuBois and Mark Angerett, Jr.) have worked so hard to keep us in the mix. We’ve had a couple days back at the shop and are looking forward to getting to the track this weekend. Maybe we can turn our luck around and start a little closer to the front.”
The weekend offers to distinctly different tracks. You’ve always said that’s one of your favorite aspects of racing with the WoO. What are the biggest challenges you see with Attica and I-96?
“You know going to Attica there will be a lot of cars and the track typically slicks off starting with qualifying. You have to be in the top-16 in qualifying and make the heat invert to have a chance. It’s a driver’s track for sure and they have a really good group of guys that race there every Friday night. We’ll have our hands full for sure. The good thing is that we’ve better qualifying better lately and that’s a big key. As far as I-96 goes, it’s one of those half-miles where you can really get the car going with some speed. There won’t be as many cars, but you still have to be fast every time you hit the track. We’ve had some good nights up there in Michigan in the past and it’d be a nice boost to be competing for a win Saturday.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J:
Last weekend, you earned a pair of top-two finishes in WoO competition. How important was it for your STP team to earn Monday’s victory at Lawrenceburg?
“We’ve always said that winning races was goal number one. We’ve set our standards pretty high and it was a needed win. The STP guys (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Eric Prutzman) keep plugging away, and honestly, we were disappointed not to win Friday at Charlotte. Since winning at Devil’s Bowl back in mid-April, we’ve been working to find a good package and last weekend the car felt better than it had in quite some time. Winning puts a little extra pep in everyone’s step. Now it’s on to the next one. I know everyone is pretty motivated to get another one.”
The calendar keeps getting closer to summer, a time in years past when your results have included a number of wins. Do you feel like you and your team can continue that trend in upcoming months?
“We’re closer to where we need to be. The heat of the summer is when you can really make your season. We’re heading to some tracks that traditionally end up slick and that’s something we feel like plays in our favor. This series is really tough and winning Outlaw races gets tougher every year. I know we’re excited about the upcoming races starting with Attica and I-96 this weekend. We’ve had some success at Attica and hope to continue that Friday, but we’re still trying to get a win at I-96. We made a good run at last year, but came up one spot short.”
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