ROSSBURG, OH - Donny Schatz has claimed all season that winning his first
race of the year was going to be the toughest. Since winning at his home
track in West Fargo, ND, two Saturday's ago, Schatz and his ParkerStore team
have been coming on strong. The second biggest thing for Schatz to
accomplish may be finally winning a feature race at Eldora Speedway and
Saturday's 19th annual King's Royal would be the perfect time according to
"It'd be nice to win both nights, but I'm not greedy," said Schatz, who is
searching for his first career Pennzoil World of Outlaws win at the "Big E".
"Honestly, I want the King's Royal. You get the big crown, the robe and get
to stand up there on stage and then comes the big check for 50 grand. That's
what has us all keyed up. I'd be awful e***d to add my name to the list of
"We're heading into this weekend with some confidence, but we've really
struggled at Eldora this year. Actually, we haven't had the results that we
want there the past two years. We're going to cross our fingers and hope that
we can get around the track well and things work out for the best."
Since the ParkerStore team brought out a new J&J sprinter on June 26 at State
Fair Speedway, the team has been consistently running in the top five. In
those 12 races, Schatz has two wins, six top five's and nine top tens.
Included in that run are an 11th at I-55 Raceway last Saturday, where they
blew a right rear tire, and the only two other finishes outside the top ten
were due to motor problems at Knoxville Raceway.
Schatz's recent win at Red River Valley Speedway in Fargo, a place where he
learned the trade of racing sprint cars yet struggled annually with the WoO,
has given the 24 year-old added confidence heading into the first "Big Money"
race of the season.
"I know I haven't been able to finish up front in the King's Royal, but I had
the same problem with Fargo until this year," continued Schatz, who ranks
sixth in the WoO standings. "Crazy stuff would always happen there and it
seems like the same things happen at Eldora. I mean just about every year it
rains during one of the big races and we end up racing all night. Rain
certainly doesn't make racing at Eldora fun and fun is what racing is
supposed to be all about. I know we overcame a lot to finally win at Fargo,
and I hope we get the chance to be in contention on Saturday night."
Rain may have hindered the chances of the ParkerStores team last year. After
qualifying third, Schatz couldn't transfer through the tough heat races which
invert six cars and take only the top three. He finished fourth and had to
start 12th in the 40-lap race. He tied his best career King's Royal finish of
8th, which he also accomplished in 1996 when he made his debut at the super
fast half-mile as a 18 year-old.
Last year was his first time at the King's Royal with Kenny Woodruff as his
crew chief. Woodruff, who has three King's Royal wins as a tuner (1989- Bobby
Davis Jr., Dave Blaney 1993 & 1995), has had his share of wins in big money
races at Eldora including winning three consecutive Historical Big One's with
three different drivers, and Schatz would like nothing more than to become
the fifth driver to win a big money race for Woodruff at Eldora.
"My chances are a lot better having KW on my team," said Schatz of Woodruff,
who is assisted by Shane Anderson. "The odds are stacked in his corner at the
big races, but I haven't been that good in them in the past. I know when we
go out to race, he wants to win more than anybody in the place and I've been
trying to match his passion for victory. His cars have been awful fast, and
I'd love to get him up on the big stage with me."
The Speed Channel will tape both nights of action and will air the opener on
August 15th and the King's Royal on September 5th both at 11 PM (et). Schatz
has already done well when the Speed Channel cameras are rolling as he
finished third at Fargo in the July 5th program that will air tonight at 11
PM (et) and won the July 6th race that will air on July 25th at 11 PM (et).
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