CONCORD, N.C. — Riding a wave of momentum, Donny Schatz thoroughly reasserted himself in 2015 as the driver to beat on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.
Heading into this week’s Bad Boy Buggies World Finals with a record-breaking season, Schatz and his Tony Stewart Curb-Agajanian have turned this week in Charlotte into a celebration of his seventh World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship.
The season kicked off in the bright Florida sunshine in February at Volusia Speedway Park’s DIRTcar Nationals. Two new faces joined the series from the start – Shane Stewart, returning full time for the first time in a decade and Jason Johnson, the reigning American Sprint Car Series champion.
Though two teams dominated that weekend – Schatz’s No. 15 team and Kasey Kahne Racing with Mike Curb – a true preview of what was to come came on night two as Donny Schatz scored a dominating win.
As the series headed west the number of different winners to kick-off the year stretched from three to five to seven. Brian Brown, Stewart, Terry McCarl and Tim Kaeding all got turns in the winner’s circle. As Rico Abreu took the checkered flag at Thunderbowl Raceway in March he became the eighth different driver to stand in victory since the season kicked off. It was the first time since 1995 a season had started with that many different winners.
The streak was soon to end. Schatz and Stewart battled for the win at the Stockton Dirt Track the next weekend – Schatz came out on top. He was first repeat winner of the year. Abreu followed Schatz up the next night, scoring his second win of the season.
As the Outlaws worked their way through California an unusual thing happened, Schatz was winning at tracks that had historically been his match – Silver Dollar Speedway, Placerville Speedway and Calistoga Speedway.
Picking up second wins during that stretch were Stewart, Pittman and Brad Sweet.
By the time the series began the trek back east, the battle shaping up was between the reigning series champ and the newcomer – Schatz and Stewart. Where one was first, the other was very often in a close second.
After sweeping Eldora in the spring, Schatz hit double digits at Weedsport Speedway on May 17.
While Schatz was dominating through the spring and summer, he was not the only driver to stand in victory lane. Christopher Bell took the Spring Classic win at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. Greg Hodnett won one for the Pennsylvania Posse at Lincoln Speedway while Dale Blaney took one for the All-Stars at Attica Raceway Park. Danny Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion, won at I-80 Speedway.
Joey Saldana picked up his first victory of the year at Kokomo Speedway.
June was the month of Schatz though as he went five in a row and scored six of 10 races that month. The momentum continued into July on as he scored his 20th victory of the season at Cedar Lake.
As the ‘Month of Money’ kicked off at the Kings Royal in mid-July, Stewart was primed. He picked up the win at the Knight Before the Kings Royal and headed into Saturday night with one goal in sight. Rain and thunderstorms delayed the event into the wee-hours of Sunday morning, but Stewart and his Larson Marks Racing crew were ready. When the checkered flag fell, Stewart stood in victory lane as King Shane the 32nd.
“This is an awesome, awesome weekend,” Stewart said in victory lane. “I don’t even know what to say, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”
At Summer Nationals, the Posse continued their 2015 momentum. Danny Dietrich won on night one after powering past Schatz and Stevie Smith won night two, bringing the coveted Morgan Cup to Pennsylvania for the first time in the history of the trophy. Smith went on to win the National Open title at Williams Grove Speedway later in the season.
Stewart was not done with the big wins in 2015, as he rolled back into Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. When the dust settled on the two-day event, Stewart proved himself the strongest man winning the Ironman 55.
When the series returned to Knoxville Raceway for the Knoxville Nationals everyone was gunning for the No. 15. But Schatz made it look easy as he parked his car in victory lane for the ninth time in his career.
“The minute I took that checkered flag I was teary-eyed,” Schatz said. “To see the race team, to see the excitement in their eyes, the manufacturers, all the people we get to work with, that makes this so much more special than me just getting the biggest check and the biggest trophy and the most prestigious race of the year. It’s the people that get to go along with you… when you can get them all in one spot and enjoy something like that it makes it worth living.”
The milestones were not yet done for Schatz as the series returned to the West Coast. At Grays Harbor Raceway, he drove to victory lane and scored his 200th career win. It was a mark just two other drivers before him – Sammy Swindell and Steve Kinser – had crossed.
“Unbelieveable,” Schatz said of his 200th win. “I’ve just been blessed being around great people my whole life. My family has supported me whole heartedly to this point and these guys I get to race with are awesome. Without their hard work, and all the guys who ever worked for me, there’s no way I would have ever got this far.”
Two weeks later Schatz scored his 30th victory of the season – it was the first time since 1991 that any driver had won 30 or more races.
Through 73 features, the series had 21 different winners including nine repeat winners. There were also two memorable first time victories – one for Stewart Friesen and one for Greg Wilson. Friesen’s battle at Ohsweken Speedway was one of the more memorable of the year. He became the first Canadian to win a World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series feature since Tim Gee and just the second ever. Wilson battled to a victory at Four Crown Nationals late in the season.
With 2015 coming to an end, Donny Schatz wrapped up his seventh World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship at the National Open. The moment becomes official when Schatz signs in at World Finals on Thursday. The intense drive, extraordinary skill and unparalleled luck of Donny Schatz and his No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance team have combined in what can only be described as a flawless season.
ABOUT THE TRACK
THE DIRT TRACK AT CHARLOTTE is a semi-banked, 4/10-mile oval. The track record of11.880 seconds was established by Jeff Shepardon Oct. 6, 2001. For more event information, visit http://www.worldofoutlawsworldfinals.com/.
PREVIOUS A-FEATURE WINNERS
2015 – Donny Schatz on May 22
2014 – Joey Saldana on May 23, Daryn Pittman on Nov. 7, Brian Brown Nov. 8
2013 – Paul McMahan on May 24, Donny Schatz on Nov. 8, Paul McMahan on Nov. 9
2012 – Joey Saldana on May 25, Sammy Swindell on Nov. 2, Dale Blaney on Nov. 3
2011 – Paul McMahan on May 28, Donny Schatz on Nov. 5, Donny Schatz on Nov. 6
2010 – Donny Schatz on May 29, Jason Meyers on Sept. 6, Jason Meyers on Sept. 6
2009 – Joey Saldana on May 22, Jason Meyers on Nov. 6, Joey Saldana on Nov. 7
2008 – Lance Dewease on May 23, Brooke Tatnell on Oct. 31, Donny Schatz on Nov. 1
2007 – Donny Schatz on May 25, Jason Meyers on Nov. 2, Steve Kinser on Nov. 3
2006 – Kevin Swindell on May 24
2003 – Blake Feese on May 24
2002 – Greg Hodnett on May 24, Greg Hodnett on May 25, Tyler Walker on Oct. 11, Daryn Pittman on Oct. 12
2001 – Danny Lasoski on May 26, Mark Kinser on May 26, Tim Shaffer on Oct. 5, Steve Kinser on Oct. 6
2000 – Sammy Swindell on May 25, Mark Kinser on May 26, Donny Schatz on Oct. 5, Mark Kinser on Oct. 6
The following World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series drivers maintain websites:
Jacob Allen – Shark1s1a.com
David Gravel – DavidGravel89.com
Jason Johnson – JasonJohnsonRacing.com
Kraig Kinser – KraigKinser.com
Kerry Madsen – KenericRacing.com
Paul McMahan – PaulMcMahanRacing.com
Daryn Pittman – DarynPittman.com
Joey Saldana – JoeySaldanaRacing.com
Donny Schatz – DonnySchatz.com
Logan Schuchart – Shark1s1a.com
Jason Sides – SidesMotorsports.com
Shane Stewart – ShaneStewart.com
Brad Sweet – Bradsweetracing.com
For more driver information, visit: WoOsprint.com
SEASON WINNERS: Donny Schatz – 31 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 14, Stockton Dirt Track on March 21, Silver Dollar Speedway on March 28, Placerville Speedway on April 8, Calistoga Speedway on April 12, Devil’s Bowl Speedway on April 26, Eldora Speedway on May 8, Eldora Speedway on May 9, Williams Grove Speedway on May 15, Weedsport Speedway on May 17, The Dirt Track at Charlotte on May 22, Knoxville Raceway on June 13, Huset’s Speedway on June 14, Granite City Speedway on June 17, River Cities Speedway on June 19, Dakota State Fair Speedway on June 20, Beaver Dam Raceway on June 27, Lakeside Speedway on July 1, Dodge City Raceway Park on July 4, Cedar Lake Speedway on July 11, Lebanon Valley Speedway on July 26, Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Aug. 8, Knoxville Raceway on Aug. 15, River Cities Speedway on Aug. 21, Nodak Speedway on Aug. 23, Castrol Raceway on Aug. 28, Grays Harbor Raceway on Sept. 7, Cottage Grove Speedway on Sept. 9, Silver Dollar Speedway on Sept. 12, Berlin Raceway on Sept. 26, Rolling Wheels Raceway Park on Oct. 11); Shane Stewart – 9 (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5, Keller Auto Speedway on April 17, Salina Highbanks Speedway on May 1, Crawford County Speedway on June 12, Eldora Speedway on July 17, Eldora Speedway on July 18, Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Aug. 8, Skagit Speedway on Sept. 5, Silver Dollar Speedway on Sept. 11); Daryn Pittman – 5(Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 13, Antioch Speedway on March 29, New Egypt Speedway on May 19, Castrol Raceway on Aug. 29, Antioch Speedway on Sept. 13); Brad Sweet – 5 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 15, Calistoga Speedway on April 11, I-96 Speedway on June 25, Deer Creek Speedway on Sept. 19, Port Royal Speedway on Oct. 24); Paul McMahan – 3 (Perris Auto Speedway on April 18, Tri-State Speedway on May 3, Lawrenceburg Speedway on Oct. 16); Rico Abreu – 2 (Thunderbowl Raceway on March 14, Stockton Dirt Track on March 22); Dale Blaney – 2 (Attica Raceway Park on May 29, Lernerville Speedway on July 21); Joey Saldana – 2 (Kokomo Speedway on June 3, Cedar Lake Speedway on July 12);Stevie Smith – 2 (Williams Grove Speedway on July 25, Williams Grove Speedway on Oct. 4); Christopher Bell – 1 (Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on May 2); Brian Brown – 1 (USA Raceway on March 7);Cody Darrah – 1 (Lernerville Speedway on July 21); Danny Dietrich – 1 (Williams Grove Speedway on July 25);Stewart Friesen – 1 (Ohsweken Speedway on July 28); Greg Hodnett – 1 (Lincoln Speedway on May 13);Tim Kaeding – 1 (Thunderbowl Raceway on March 13);Danny Lasoski – 1 (I-80 Speedway on June 5); Kerry Madsen – 1 (Junction Motor Speedway on Aug. 18);Terry McCarl – 1 (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5);Jason Sides – 1 (Dodge City Raceway Park on July 3); Greg Wilson – 1 (Eldora Speedway on Sept. 25).
WATCH LIVE: Watch live pay-per-view of the Bad Boy Buggies World Finals from the Dirt Track at Charlotte on DIRTVision MAX. Three days of season-ending action with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, World of Outlaws Late Model Series and Super DIRTcar Series is just $69.99. Order today by visiting: http://www.DIRTVision.com.
LIVE ONLINE UPDATES: Check out the Official World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series website at WoOsprint.com for live, interactive text updates of each race. It also includes driver biographies with statistics and pictures, race-by-race stats, detailed track information and race coverage, series news and team press releases.
GET SOCIAL: Follow the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WorldofOutlaws, like it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WorldofOutlaws, follow on Instagram at @WoOSprint or check out the latest videos on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws.
-World of Outlaws Press Release. Photo credit: Brenda Meserve