By Bill Klingbeil
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 11, 2014) – When Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz left the state of Iowa 31 days ago, he was riding high after winning his eighth Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals and determined to maintain his torrid pace in the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series. After competing in 13 races at 10 tracks in five different states and a Canadian province over the past month, the driver of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Crimsafe J&J returns to the Midwest this weekend on an incredible roll. Schatz and his TSR teammate Steve Kinser resume the grueling 92-race Outlaw campaign with their annual stops Friday at Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer, Iowa, and Saturday at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minnesota.
The 2014 season has been filled with many highlights for Schatz, who is chasing his sixth WoO championship. The Fargo, North Dakota racer leads the series in just about every statistical category. He has a 196-point lead in the championship standings with 15 races remaining and, with his Sept. 1 victory at Grays Harbor Raceway Park in Elma, Washington, he became the first driver since Kinser in 2003 and 2004 to win 20 races in consecutive seasons. Earlier in the summer, Schatz surpassed Mark Kinser for third all-time in WoO career wins, and his run of eight Knoxville Nationals wins in nine seasons is unmatched. Consistency has been key in building his lead in the championship standings and Schatz is the midst of a 23-race streak of consecutive top-10 finishes. During that span, he’s won 11 times, including a recent six-race winning streak, and he’s only finished outside of the podium in five of the those 23 races.
Putting up incredible numbers with the Outlaws was a Kinser trademark throughout his career. This year, the driver of the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim is racing his final full WoO campaign during the “Salute to the King Tour.” He scored his 577th career victory in the season’s third race and is looking to close with some solid finishes to cap his illustrious WoO career.
Friday’s stop in Spencer has traditionally been highly anticipated by Schatz. The race is traditionally the first following the annual Western Swing. For the eighth consecutive September, the Outlaws will take to 3/8-mile, clay oval during the Clay County Fair. Schatz returns not only as the winningest driver in the eight previous races, but also on a two-race winning streak. He won the first two races at the facility in 2007 and 2008 en route to championships, and won again in 2012 before claiming a title. Last September, he led all 30 laps to score his 20th victory of the 2013 season.
Kinser is looking forward to getting closer to home, as well, with this weekend’s doubleheader. His first goal is making Clay County Fair Speedway the 143rd facility where’s he won a WoO A-Feature. The Bloomington, Indiana native has competed in all eight previous races there with his best finish of second coming in 2010. He finished third in 2012. Deer Creek Speedway is already on his win list following a thrilling battle with Schatz at the 3/8-mile high-banked, dirt oval in 2011. “The King of the Outlaws” has four top-five finishes in five starts at Deer Creek, including fifth in 2009, third in 2010 and fourth last season.
Schatz has been extremely good at Deer Creek, as well. In five races, he has finished second three times and, in the other two races, he finished fourth in 2010 and sixth in 2013. When the Outlaws made their debut at the track, he led the first 28 laps before finishing second to Joey Saldana. In 2011, he started on the front row with Kinser and the two staged a dramatic battle, but Schatz couldn’t get the top spot. The 2012 race may have been his best race at the track. He had the capacity crowd on its feet as he charged from 17th into the lead on lap 34, but couldn’t fight off a final-corner slider by Craig Dollansky.
With 74 WoO A-Features in the books for 2014, Schatz leads the series with his 20 A-Feature wins, 53 top-five finishes and 67 top-10s, 12 KSE Hard Charger Awards and 19 heat-race wins. Kinser is solidly in eighth position in the standings with his one victory, 10 top-fives and 36 top-10s this season.
For Friday’s race at Clay County Fair Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. More details are available by visiting www.slspromotions.com.
Saturday at Deer Creek Speedway, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDT, with the grandstands opening at 3 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. More details are available by visiting www.DeerCreekSpeedway.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:
With the Western Swing in the rearview mirror, it’s back to the Midwest. You’ve had some good runs the past few years at both Clay County and Deer Creek. Are you excited to be returning to those tracks this weekend?
“We’re always looking forward to going back to places where we can race and have some fun. The run out West can be a bear sometimes. You are racing at some smaller tracks where things can happen. We had a couple of nights there in California where we found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the those followed a night at Chico where we did have a pretty good run and finished fourth. The trip across the country is hard, but you spread it out over three days and, by the time we get to Spencer Friday, everyone will be ready. Those two tracks have been really good places for us the past handful of years. We’ve got a good setup and, honestly, they are places where you move around make some spots up by having a good car. I know the Bad Boy Buggies guys (Scott Gerkin, Gary DuBois and Mark Angerett Jr.) are looking forward to a good weekend before we go home and run some shows in Indiana next week.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J:
It’s been an incredible 2014 campaign. You’ve won 20 races for the second consecutive year and positioned yourself well in the championship chase. What are your goals for the next 15 races?
“We’d like to win them all but we know that’s probably not possible. The only one we can win is the next one. We’re excited about heading back to Clay County. We’ve had some really good races there the last few years. The fans come out and really support that event and the STP team (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson, Eric Prutzman) gives me a great car there. It’s been a place where we’ve had a lot of success and hope that we can continue that Friday. The goal then turns to getting a win at Deer Creek. It’s one of the best places we race at and another place where we have great fan support. I know I have a lot of fun there but still haven’t been able to win one there, yet. We’re determined to try and do that. Wins are all that matter to us right now. We’re not counting down races. We’re counting opportunities. There are a lot of races left on the schedule and we still have quite a bit to accomplish.”
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.
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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 4×4 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.