INDIANAPOLIS – The numbers associated with Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) teammates Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz in the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series record books are quite staggering. The tandem has combined to earn 25 championships and almost 750 career WoO A-Feature victories. This weekend, the TSR drivers will be vying for more as they lead the rest of the Outlaws to Fremont (Ohio) Speedway for the final Midwest race of the 2014 campaign being billed as the World of Outlaws “Salute to the King Tour.”
With the big numbers both drivers have put up, it’s surprising they have combined for only one WoO win at the 3/8-mile, dirt oval located in northern Ohio. That one win did come last September for Schatz, who comes in on an incredible roll this weekend, having won five of the previous eight WoO A-Features behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J. Kinser, the “King of the Outlaws,” will make his final start close to home as a fulltime Outlaw in the familiar TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim.
Schatz is the midst of the best season of his 18-year WoO career. The Fargo, North Dakota driver won last Saturday’s 25-lap WoO A-Feature at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, New York to give him 25 on the season. That’s two more than last year’s total of 23 wins, which was a career-best. The five-time WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion is on his way to a sixth title and carries a 289-point lead into Saturday’s Joe Steltar Memorial. As the defending event winner at Fremont, Schatz is one of only five WoO winners at the track, which has hosted six events since the series’ inaugural appearance in 1990. With his thrilling win from the sixth starting spot in last year’s 40-lap A-Feature, he joined previous Fremont winners Doug Wolfgang (1990), Frankie Kerr (1991, 1992), Stevie Smith (1993) and Jason Meyers (2011).
Kinser would certainly like to join that list and make Fremont the 143rd different track where he’s claimed a WoO A-Feature victory. The 20-time WoO champion has four races remaining in his final season chasing the entire WoO schedule. He would certainly like to close the campaign in similar fashion to how it began. Kinser won the third race of the season in Florida and had the fans on their feet as he raced to his 577th career A-Feature triumph. The Bloomington, Indiana native has won 56 of those races in the Buckeye State and could move Ohio into a tie for second with California for his wins in a single state, trailing only Pennsylvania with 65 career victories.
Schatz and Kinser will have a tough local contingent at Fremont to deal with. Earlier this season, Ohio drivers swept the podium at nearby Attica Raceway Park. Last September, Schatz outdueled a pair of Fremont regulars to score his 21st victory of the season. By reaching the 20-win mark for the second consecutive season, he became the first driver since Kinser to post back-to-back 20 win seasons. Consistency has been the key for Schatz this season, as well, and with his victory last Saturday, he’s finished inside the top-10 in 31 consecutive races.
After 85 nights of action in the 2014 WoO STP Sprint Car Series campaign and with only four nights of racing remaining, Schatz has a stranglehold on the championship standings and his 25 wins, 60 top-fives and 77 top-10s lead all drivers. Kinser ranks eighth in the championship standings with 10,394 points and his run last Saturday gave him 40 top-10s this season.
For Saturday’s race at Fremont Speedway, the gates will open at 4 p.m. EDT. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. More details are available by visiting www.fremontohspeedway.com .
Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s events 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 STP Sprint Car 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 live results from the track.
Steve Kinser, Driver of the No. 11 TSR/Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim:
This weekend marks your final Midwest race of the season and the last one of the ‘Salute to the King Tour.’ Have you thought much about that and what Saturday means?
“I haven’t thought too much about it. We’ve had so many great events and sendoffs this year. It’s truly been humbling with all the fans coming out to every race and talking with them. Spending time with people who tell me that who aren’t even Kinser fans, but they appreciate all that I’ve done. It’s the time of the year when you know the season is winding down, and I’m sure it’ll keep hitting me as we get close to Charlotte. I’ve have had so many great nights in Ohio. We’ve won a lot of races, met some incredible people and it’s going to be a fun night.”
Expectations are for a large field of cars. Is that one of the biggest challenges when you go to a place where there are so many cars competing?
“You still have to be good enough to get the A-Feature. No matter if there are 25 cars, 35 cars or 45 cars. You have to get qualified and transfer through your heat. Fremont is a different place where the local guys may have a little advantage because of track time, but that’s what we do as Outlaws. We come in and try to beat everyone there. The Bad Boy Buggies guys (Scott Gerkin, Gary DuBois, Mark Angerett Jr.) and everyone at the shop this week have been focused on getting me a good car that rolls out of the trailer ready to go. We’ve been more consistent of late but just haven’t been close enough to the front. We’re hoping things go our way Saturday and we’ve got a good shot at it.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J:
The numbers you and the STP team are putting up this season are pretty incredible. Have you had time to comprehend what you guys are in the midst of?
“No one starts racing thinking about records or numbers. You just hope to be competitive and one day have a chance to win. We’ve worked really hard all year and it’s a testament to the STP crew (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson, Eric Prutzman) and everyone in the organization that’s behind us. We started the year with the goal of winning the most races and an eye on getting that championship. Winning 23 races last year was something we weren’t sure we would be able to match, but we just tried to do our thing and win as many as we could. It’s been so much fun driving this car all year. It just keeps getting better and better. We’ve only got four more chances to win this year and we’re going to do all we can to keep winning. Maybe in December we’ll look back and kind of put in perspective, but right now we’ve still got work to do.”
You have won races all over the map this year on tracks of varying size, shape and speed. What’s the biggest challenge you’ll face this weekend in Fremont?
“I’m excited to get there. It’s one of those places where we haven’t raced much, but one that really seems to come down to car control and being able to maneuver traffic. They’ll have a lot of cars, so one of the challenges is getting a good qualifying lap. Track conditions sometimes make that difficult, but it’s the same for everyone. Once you get timing out of the way, then it’s just about racing and that’s when the fun starts. They have some good drivers who race there every week and even some guys regionally who have that place figured out. We’re always up for a challenge and I know me and my guys can’t wait to get there and see what we can do.”
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.
- Jonathan Paluga
Director of Marketing & Sales
Armor All & STP Brands