TSR Driver Races Bad Boy Off Road/Chevrolet Performance Sprint Car
To Eighth World of Outlaws Championship To Cap His 20th Season
INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 1, 2016) – It was only fitting that Tony Stewart-Curb Agajanian Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz was the last one standing during the 2016 World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series “Night of Champions” banquet Sunday evening. One night after racing to his 25th WoO victory of the season, he received his eighth series championship trophy following remarks from those who witnessed up close his historic 20th consecutive season of competition with “The Greatest Show on Dirt”.
“I appreciate everyone’s kind words,” Schatz said. “It’s very overwhelming. Twenty times I’ve stood on this stage as a World of Outlaw. I would never have guessed that would be the case back in 1997 when I came out here. Back then, I don’t know what I was thinking, but somehow I won the rookie of the year and to this day it’s still my most prized possession. Here we are 20 years later and it still hasn’t all quite sunk in. What has sunk in is the importance of the people you are surrounded by. I am standing here as an eight-time champion because of the organization Tony Stewart has built and continues to refine. It is nothing short of incredible. It’s a huge honor for me to be a small part of this team’s success.”
Schatz finished off his third consecutive WoO championship season as the only driver in the series’ 39-year history to win more than 20 WoO A-Features in four consecutive seasons. In that span, he’s collected 105 A-Feature triumphs but, as he reflected on where this championship run ranks with the rest, the theme was about never giving up.
“In 2015, we won 31 races and were never really pressed in the championship standings,” he said. “We started this year off by failing to finish the first race and ended up digging ourselves a pretty big hole – something like 100 points – right out of the gate. Then we head west and miss a race at Tulare and that put us behind even more. That’s when you know what kind of team you have. Rick (Warner), Steve (Swenson) and Brad (Mariscotti) dug in deep and we started chipping our way back. So, to go from more than a 100-point deficit to build a 300-point victory margin and have four DNFs, that’s pretty amazing and just shows how good these guys are.”
It took Schatz 10 seasons with the Outlaws before he broke through and won his first championship in 2006. In his second decade of competition with the Outlaws, he’s won seven of the 10 championships and finished second the three seasons he didn’t come out on top. That’s the kind of championship heritage the legendary Steve Kinser put up during the WoO’s first two decades and the reason so many of Schatz’s peers called him the modern-day Kinser during Sunday’s banquet.
The Fargo, North Dakota racer was quick to point out that it’s the entire group that makes winning races and ultimately championships possible starting with his team owner. The silver lining is longevity, and that is apparent with Schatz completing his ninth season as driver for three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and delivering the organization’s seventh WoO championship and 21stoverall when combined with TSR’s 14 United States Auto Club (USAC) titles. Schatz and crew chief Rick Warner finished their 11th season together, and this season was the seventh for car chief Steve Swenson with the TSR No. 15. Brad Mariscotti, a decorated USAC champion crew chief with TSR, proved to be a huge asset throughout his rookie season with the team and was rewarded by earning his first WoO title.