WOO/SPRINT: Donny Schatz Australian tour preview

WOO/SPRINT: Donny Schatz Australian tour preview

Post by pr.. » Thu, 21 Dec 2000 14:11:18

MINOT, ND (December 18) - Last year when Donny Schatz traveled to Australia,
there wasn't a hotter driver in the sprint car world. He defended that
sentiment by winning the first six races of the World Series Sprintcars
Championship series. In January, Schatz will return to Australia, but this
year he's not carrying the heavy monicur that he had a year ago. Even though
his 2000 World of Outlaws season wasn't what he was hoping for, he's still
confident things will go well "down under".

"Last year when I went to Australia, my expectations were to go out and
win," said the 23 year-old, Minot, ND native. " I raced with the premiere
series of Australia last year, and we were pretty ***. Our only
problems
came when we had mechanical failures. That's something that took the (WSS)
championship away from us.

"This year, I'm racing with a new team and am e***d to be bringing Shane
Anderson along from my Outlaw team (ParkerStores #15).  We're starting the
trip by racing in the Western Australia Speedweek races. Hopefully, we'll be
able to put on a good show, and then travel to the eastside and see if can
win the big races."

The "big races", which are the 27th anniversary Grand Annual Sprintcar
Challenge and the Gough & Gilmour Cat 50,000, will conclude his month-long
sojourn to Australia. The first two weekends in January will see Schatz
compete in the Car Craft Wild West Sprintcar Series at Kwinana Motorplex and
Bunbury Speedway.  This will be the third trip to Australia for Schatz and
he
can't wait to get back in a race car after finishing the World of Outlaws
season on November 1.

"We had a tough year and during the final month of the season, I was looking
forward to a break," said Schatz, who finished 11th in the final WoO
standings. "After about two weeks, I was already tired of building stuff and
getting things organized. I wish I was already in Australia, but when duty
calls in January I'll be pumped up and ready. Hopefully, we'll keep that
momentum all month long."

Racing in Australia is a role change for Schatz compared to his "regular
job". Yes, he still is behind the wheel of a sprint car, but the competition
is a lot different and he doesn't have a lot of the same worries that he
normally carries in his helmet bag.

"Whenever you race regularly with the level of competition like the World of
Outlaws, you're going to have an advantage no matter where you race,"
continued Schatz, who was the only driver to record multiple clean sweeps
in
WSS action last year.  "It took me some time to adjust, but once we started
winning races down there we found a comfort zone. For the most part racing
is
racing, but I do know the Australian fans really get into sprint car racing
and that certainly makes it fun."

"When I'm racing at home its more like a job. We have a family owned team
and there is a lot more stress involved. When I go to Australia, I don't own
any of the equipment and I just go there to drive. My main goal is to stay
sharp during the winter. Having some fun is a part of it as well. The
Australian people are really hospitable, and we have a good time over
there."

The five-week racing vacation will provide Schatz a chance to keep his
racing
instincts sharp, but as far as helping his confidence or giving him an
advantage for the 2001 Pennzoil World of Outlaws season, the "Minot Missile"
claims there's not much carry over.

"You don't really bring anything back," said Schatz, who will begin his
fifth full season with the WoO in February.  "The big key is keeping at the
World of Outlaws pace on the track even though you're not racing against the
Kinser's and Swindell's every night. For me and probably every other
American
driver that has raced in Australia, the most rewarding aspect of the trip is
the experience of it all. It's the stories that you can tell your family and
friends forever."

Even though Schatz was *** early on last year in Australia, he failed
to
win the biggest races. That's all the motivation he'll need as he leads the
USA competitors into the "Classic", which will qualify him to compete in the
Kele & Associates "Australian-American Challenge Cup" at next summer's Amoco
Knoxville Nationals.

"I didn't do real well  at the Classic last year," said Schatz, who had a
DNF after suffering motor trouble.  "Premier Speedway is a pretty awesome
place and reminds me a lot of Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, CA. It's a
tough place to race, but we won our first race there last year. The track is
usually pretty heavy, and the temperatures aren't really warm, but I'm
looking forward to having more success there this year."

2001 Donny Schatz Australian Tour  
Date    Event                           Track
1/5     Car Craft Wild West Sprintcar Series        Kwinana Motorplex
1/6     Car Craft Wild West Sprintcar Series        Bunbury Regional Speedway
1/12    Car Craft Wild West Sprintcar Series        Kwinana Motorplex
1/13    Car Craft Wild West Sprintcar Series        Bunbury Regional Speedway
1/19    Sprintcar Stampede                          Speedway City (Adelade)
1/20    Sprintcar Stampede                          Speedway City (Adelade)
1/26    Kings Challenge                             Borderline Raceway
1/27    Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic              Premier Speedway
1/28    Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic              Premier Speedway
2/2     Gough & Gilmour Cat 50,000                  Parramatta City Raceway
2/3     Gough & Gilmour Cat 50,000                  Parramatta City Raceway

1999-2000 Donny Schatz Australian Tour Statistics

World Series Sprintcar Championship
o Finished Second to Brooke Tatnell in final points
o won the first six feature events and seven overall (also won a preliminary
feature at Parramatta on 1/7/00)
o led the most "A" Feature laps (203)
o earned the most fast-time Awards (5)
o won three Goodyear Eagle Dashes (second most overall)

Won King's Sprint Car Challenge at Mount Gambier's Borderline Speedway (1/28/00)

---
motorsport.com -- your source for motorsport news on the Internet