World of Outlaws Star hoping to defend title in Australia
GRANVILLE, NSW - While most of his contemporary's are busy preparing for the
upcoming 2002 Pennzoil World of Outlaws series, Donny Schatz is busy racing
sprint cars in Australia.
Schatz will drive the Monte Motorsports #15 Chantec / Wattleup Tractors /
Western Ag J&J in the Parts Plus 50,000 this weekend at Parramatta City
Raceway near Sydney, where he hopes to pocket $50,000 by winning Saturday's
35-lap sprint car race for the second year in a row.
"Last year, we had a pretty good year and winning the $50,000 down here was a
big part of it," said Schatz, who won 21 races during the 2001 calendar year.
"This year, we came here to win the World Series title, but also to win as
many races as we can. They've changed the format a little bit to be more like
the Outlaws, which should only help our chances. If we can finish in the top
four on Friday, we'll be in the Dash on Saturday."
Schatz, who finished a career-best fifth in the 2001 Pennzoil World of
Outlaws series, has been racing in Australia's premiere sprint car series,
World Series Sprintcars, since mid-November. He currently is in second place
behind Max Dumesny and has won four feature events in 13 starts. In the Parts
Plus 50,000, Schatz will have to beat all of the other World Series
contenders, but will also encounter a familiar foe: the King of the Outlaws,
Steve Kinser. Kinser will be among a handful of Americans, who came over to
chase the big payday on Australian clay.
"I think some of the guys over here will be a little more intimated by Steve
and some of the Americans, but for me it's just like my regular job to race
against them," said Schatz. "The racing is a little different over here, but
it's still all about getting your car right and not making any mistakes."
Schatz won last year's $50,000 race just one week after winning The Standard
Warrnambool Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic. It was a remarkable week of
action for the then 23 year-old, who calls Minot, ND home. In last year's
event, Mother Nature threatened to steal the show as rain was in the area
most of the weekend. Schatz finished third in the preliminary feature and led
the final 25 laps of the 35-lap race to earn the victory.
"Last year, we got everything going really well. We weren't racing in the
World Series, and I was only over here for about five weeks. This year, we're
right in the middle of the World Series and have had some bad luck lately.
The good thing is that we've been fast a lot of nights and have been able to
win some races. The Parts Plus 50,000 race will give us a chance to go for
the big money and not have to worry about points."
Following this weekend's event, Schatz will continue the WSS schedule with
five more races to chase down Dumesny for the title. He will conclude his
Australian tour by competing in Australia's premiere sprint car race: The
Standard Warrnambool Grand Annual Classic on January 26-27. By competing in
the Classic, Schatz will qualify to race in the $10,000-to-win Kele World
Challenge at the Knoxville Nationals, a race he won last year after starting
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