Donny Schatz, TSR Working to Turn Consistent Good Runs Into Wins During Summer Stretch

With a third of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series’ 2019 season complete, 10-time Series champion Donny Schatz has already set himself up for another championship run.

Three wins. Nine podiums. Fifteen top-five and 21 top-10 finishes – the most of all drivers. And currently sits atop the points standings by 48 points over Brad Sweet.

To most drivers, that would be an A-plus start to the season. But to Schatz, “it’s a straight C.”

“We would’ve liked to have more wins, but when you can’t win races you’ve got to do the next best thing, that’s get the best finish you can,” said Schatz, who had nine wins at this point last year. “We’ve had a lot more respectable finishes than years prior, we just don’t have the wins to go along with it. That’s just part of racing.”

There’s no discouragement, though. Schatz said, he and is Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing team are focused on winning more and they’re heading into the part of the season when they typically do just that.




Starting off the summer stretch of the races, the Series on Tuesday, June 4, heads to Fairbury Speedway, then treks north to Schatz’s home state of North Dakota for the Northern Tour at River Cities Speedway on Friday, June 7, and caps the week off at Granite City Speedway on Saturday, June 8.

Schatz has been one of the most successful drivers at River Cities Speedway and Granite City Speedway. He’s won nine of the last 12 races at the North Dakota track and he’s won two of the three times the Series has raced at Granite City Speedway.

But for Fairbury Speedway, he said he’ll have to pick up the pace a little bit from last year. In the Series’ first visit to the quarter-mile Illinois track, Schatz finished eight, while Sheldon Haudenschild claimed the victory. Schatz called the track, “racy,” though and knows it can put on a good show, having seen videos of stellar Late Model races there.

And while he’s been dominate at River Cities Speedway in the past, Schatz acknowledged that doesn’t guarantee him another win this year.

“We’ve had a lot of success there, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to do us any good going there this time,” he said. “We’ll do our best to get ourselves qualified well and try to fight for the win. It’s one of them places you know when you go, get a good baseline, you can run around the place really well and you can race from the back if you have to.”

He wouldn’t call racing in his home state a “home-field advantage” either. With the World of Outlaws racing at several different tracks week to week, he said there never really is a home-field advantage.

Although, with the track being an hour down the road from his house, he said that probably plays into the psychological factor.

He credits the work of his team for his success at the speedway. This year, though, he’ll be working with a new crew chief.

His Crew Chief Ricky Warner went to work for Ford this year, to help develop Ford’s 410 Sprint Car engine. Filling his position is the team’s longtime Car Chief Steve Swenson – the backbone of the team, according to Schatz.

“We’ve both been at Tony Stewart Racing the same amount of time,” Schatz said. “He’s doing a great job. We communicate well. We’ve been around each other long enough to know what our expectations are. He settles for nothing less than the best. So, if I’ve got an ass chewing coming, I’m going to get it. And likewise. There’s a lot of history, a lot of comradery there.”

Coming into the 2019 season, Schatz said there were some new things he and Swenson wanted to try. So far, they’ve worked. A few tracks they weren’t good at before, Schatz said, they’ve run better at this year.

“You learn from your mistakes,” Schatz said. “That’s all you can do.”

Shocks have been one of the biggest changes he’s focused on this year. The team has never been loyal to one particular shock company, Schatz said, but he wanted to make sure Penske shocks were on all four corners of the car this year.

“To me, they’ve got the best product and they’ve had to work overtime and we’ve had to work overtime to get the feel I want, but they’ve got it,” Schatz said. “And that’s shown the last couple of weeks. We’re happy about that. That means we can only build from here. Hopefully it starts turning into wins.”

He and his team recently made history by winning the World of Outlaws’ first ever race at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway for the inaugural Music City Outlaw Nationals. After the win, his C grade for the season didn’t change. There are still many races to go. Still many chances to turn consistent top-five finishes into consistent wins.

“The important part with this is it’s our livelihood, it’s our love, but also you’ve got to have fun at it,” Schatz said. “And we’re having a lot of fun. Some days when you don’t have the result you want, the fun factor is what you look at. You try to turn that fun into wins.”

NEW & NOTES

Before the race at Fairbury Speedway, in Fairbury, Ill., Steidinger Foods is giving fans the chance to meet NASCAR-star Kyle Larson, who recently won at Lawrenceburg Speedway and is $1 million wealthier after winning the Cup Series’ All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. On race day at the speedway, Larson will be signing autographs in the north-side concession lot at 4:30 p.m.
THIS WEEK AT A GLANCE

WHEN & WHERE
Tuesday, June 4, at Fairbury Speedway in Fairbury, Ill. for the FVP Platinum Battery Showdown
-Grandstand gates are scheduled to open at 4 p.m. with Hot Laps at 6:30 p.m. and Racing at about 7:30 p.m.

Friday, June 7, at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D. for the Northern Tour
-Grandstand gates are scheduled to open at 4 p.m. with Hot Laps at 6:30 p.m. and Racing at about 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 8, at Granite City Speedway in Sauk Rapids, Minn.
-Grandstand gates are scheduled to open at 4 p.m. with Hot Laps at 6:30 p.m. and Racing at about 7:30 p.m.

ABOUT THE TRACK
Fairbury Speedway is a semi-banked, 1/4-mile track.
Online – FairburySpeedway.com
Phone – (309) 838-9304

River Cities Speedway is a high-banked, 3/10-mile track. The track record is 9.269 sec. set by Jason Meyers on Aug. 21, 2009.
Online – RiverCitiesSpeedway.com
Phone – (701) 780-0999

Granite City Speedway is a semi-banked, 3/8-mile track. The track record is 10.720 sec. set by Sammy Swindell on June 17, 2015.
Online – GCSpeedway.com
Phone – (715) 497-8916

TICKETS
Tickets can be purchased by going to WorldofOutlaws.com/tix or by calling 844-DIRT-TIX.

1/4-MILE, 3/10-MILE and 3/8-MILE WINNERS THIS YEAR
There have been three races on a 1/4-mile track, so far, this year. Carson Macedo won at Silver Dollar Speedway on March 15. Donny Schatz won at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on May 31 and Shane Stewart won at the speedway on June 1.

There have been no races on a 3/10-mile track, so far, this season.

There have been six races on a 3/8-mille track, so far, this year. Logan Schuchart won at the Stockton Dirt Track on March 16. David Gravel won at Keller Auto Speedway on March 29. Brad Sweet won at USA Raceway on April 5. Lance Dewease won at Lincoln Speedway on May 15. And Kyle Larson won at Lawrenceburg Speedway on May 27.