Donny Schatz won the Knoxville Nationals for the 10th time last Saturday. The 50-lap feature at the Nationals is the crown jewel of sprint racing. By Sunday morning, his attention, however, had turned toward River Cities Speedway and tonight's Wo...
Donny Schatz won the Knoxville Nationals for the 10th time last Saturday. The 50-lap feature at the Nationals is the crown jewel of sprint racing.
By Sunday morning, his attention, however, had turned toward River Cities Speedway and tonight's World of Outlaws show.
"After 21 years of racing with the greatest show on dirt, that's what you expect," said Schatz. "You leave Knoxville and move on."
That's what the Outlaws have to do as they race 93 times a season, crisscrossing the country a few times in the process.
"And this year, it's as competitive as it's been in a long time," said Schatz of the tour. "It's crazy to see that but it's also exciting to see that. I think the competition this year is as tough as it's been in the last 10 years."
Schatz has 16 wins this season. He's shooting for his ninth championship and leads the WoO season points race after 59 nights of racing. He holds an 82-point advantage over Brad Sweet and a 128-point advantage over David Gravel, who has 12 wins this season and won the June WoO feature at The Bullring.
Also, Schatz is third all time in WoO wins with 245, trailing only the legendary Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell.
Schatz, who lives in Fargo, will be favored again tonight at RCS, where he has won six of the past nine WoO features.
And he has another advantage-the home crowd.
"It really helps when you get to go home and race in front of the fans who watched you race when you grew up," he said.
Saturday, the Outlaws will race at the Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo and Sunday they'll compete in Minot, the hometown of Schatz.
Schatz has logged more races than just about any WoO driver currently on tour.
It's a grind, he said, but the travel perhaps takes a bigger toll on crew members for the 16 teams that have been on the road since the season started in February.
"My hat is off to all the teams for what they do," he said. "And this season is different in the past because of all the mid-week races. That puts crews in tough spots. But they can do it. That's what makes them Outlaws."
Tonight will mark the 21st time the Outlaws have raced in Grand Forks dating back to 2007.
Again, more than 30 cars are expected to compete for the $10,000 prize that goes to the winner of the 40-lap feature.
Schatz again will pull double duty as he plans to race his late model as the NLRA also will compete on the quarter-mile track.
Schatz, Gravel, Daryn Pittman and Kraig Kinser are the current drivers on the tour that have won WoO features at RCS.
Mark Dobmeier, the winningest driver in RCS history, would like to join that list.
Dobmeier is coming off a strong run at the Knoxville Nationals, where he finished 12th in Saturday night's feature.
He finished ninth in the June race in Grand Forks.
"I almost look forward to that race more than the Knoxville Nationals," said Dobmeier, who has won three WoO features in his career. "That's one of the biggest races on my list that I want to win."
RCS has become a destination spot each season for the Outlaws, who many say produces some of the best and closest races of the season.
In the inaugural WoO feature in 2007, Joey Saldana nipped Jac Haudenschild by 0.056 of a second at the flagstand.