FARGO, ND (July 9) - As the World of Outlaws season nears its midway point, Donny Schatz and his ParkerStore team find themselves just where they hoped to be at this stage of the season.
Schatz leads the World of Outlaws points standings, his seven "A" feature wins leads the series, and he has also led the most feature laps to date (205). Following another busy weekend of action with races in Lawrenceburg (IN) on Friday and Pevely (MO) on Saturday, Schatz and his team are set to embark on the part of the schedule that can really define their season.
"We've started well and accomplished some of the goals we had, but we're hungry for a whole lot more," said Schatz, who races the No. 15 ParkerStore J&J with Shaver power. "This next month is the time when it takes an entire team working together to be where you want to be. The guys have been working hard all year and now its time for us to crank it up a notch higher. It's not just the money that's out there, but its a chance to keep building on what we started."
Beginning with Wednesday's 18th annual Brad Doty Classic, Schatz will be in action eight nights during a 12-day stretch. The 23rd annual King's Royal presented by Crown Royal will take place at Eldora Speedway on Saturday night with $50,000 up for grabs. Next week, the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup XV will pay $30,000 to win at Lernerville Speedway on Tuesday before the three-night Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Three weeks later, the Knoxville Nationals take center stage as drivers shoot the claim the most coveted race in sprint car racing.
CLIMBING THE RANKINGS
On Saturday night, the ParkerStore team returned to I-55 Raceway near St. Louis where they dominated the feature event on April 1st. Schatz qualified fourth in the field of 38 and raced from sixth to win the fourth heat race. He finished seventh in the dash event and started the 40-lap feature event in the fourth row.
Schatz made his move to the front early working his way into third by the fifth circuit and then proceeded to challenge runner-up Joey Saldana for next seven laps before taking the spot. Next it was after Brooke Tatnell who led from the start. Schatz took the lead with a bold move around Tatnell as the track began taking rubber. Lapped traffic enabled Tatnell to return to the lead three laps later, but Schatz wasn't going to settle for second and tried every possible line around the high-banked oval. On lap 29, Schatz recaptured the lead and held the spot for the next three laps. The amount of rubber on the track made steering the car difficult for Schatz and it continued to get worse, which allowed Tatnell to regain the lead. Schatz fought the handling issue for the final eight laps and was able to hold on to finish fourth.