returned to Australia this January on a mission. There was
unfinished business from his last trip, which began by him winning six races
in a row in Austalia's 1999-2000 World Series Sprintcar(WSS) tour and ended
with Schatz missing out on winning the "big" races last January. The World of
Outlaws star changed his plan of attack for this year's "Survivor-like"
Australia tour racing only in January instead of competing in the two-month
Schatz wanted his edge to be sharp when this year's Grand Annual Sprint Car
Classic pushed off. His plan paid off because the "Minot Missile" was
*** in the two-day "Classic" at Premier Speedway in Warrambool,
Victoria, Australia, leading 23 laps of the 25-lap preliminary feature on
Saturday night before overtaking fellow American Danny Smith, a six-time
Classic champion, on lap 13 for lead on his way to victory lane in Sunday's
40-lap Championship Feature.
"It wasn't my best drive but I've won the Classic," an elated Donny Schatz
said following the victory. "That's all that matters. I've won the Australian
Classic. We came down here to win races and I can't thank everyone that
helped us get here enough. My dad flew over for the week and I'm thrilled he
was here to see us win."
A blistered right rear tire in Saturday's preliminary feature cost the Minot,
ND native the weekend sweep and also a shot at the pole position for the
Sunday's Classic Feature. On Sunday, Schatz finished third in his heat race,
earning the third starting position in the field.
Smith took the early lead ahead of Skip Jackson, and it didn't take Schatz
long to reel in Jackson and take second. The next ten laps saw Schatz close
in on Smith, and on the 13th circuit, Schatz put Luch Monte's #15 inside of
Smith's #11 machine passed him for the lead. From there it was all Schatz as
he maneuvered his way through lapped traffic to claim the win.
"Danny had a good run going early and I knew we were going to be good as the
race went on," said Schatz. "It feels pretty good to get this one, and we'll
savor this for a long time."
The victory was Schatz's third in eight nights of racing in Australia. He'll
conclude his "2001 Down Under Tour" at Parramatta City Raceway for the
$50,000-to-win Gough & Gilmour Cat event this weekend.
motorsport.com -- your source for motorsport news on the Internet