Schatz Seeks Seventh Knoxville Title
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin on August 7, 2013 | 3:41 P.M. EST
Schatz will drive the STP Gas Booster car in the 53rd Annual FVP Knoxville Nationals. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
KNOXVILLE, Iowa - Donny Schatz is on a hot streak and it couldn't come at a better time as he looks to claim a seventh win in the 53rd Annual FVP Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway.
Although he trails Daryn Pittman by 71 points for the World of Outlaws STP Series lead, Schatz is off to one of his best starts to a season. He leads the series in wins with 13 and has finished second or better in seven of the last eight races heading into the first qualifying night at Knoxville.
"This is probably the best position I've been in coming into this race," Schatz said. "But that doesn’t mean anything. These guys keep working hard and no matter what's dealt to them, they manage to work through it and that’s what we have to do. Most of the Nationals are getting yourself set up through the qualifying night. It’s fun coming in here running well."
Schatz, who has already won the series' first two trips to Knoxville this year, was recognized Tuesday for his upcoming 20th start in the Nationals with a presentation before family, friends, fans, sponsors and team members at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum.
"It’s hard to believe it goes back 20 years of coming here," Schatz said. "It’s overwhelming, really, but it's always good to take a trip down 'Memory Lane,' to see and talk to people I grew up racing with. I've learned something from everybody I've raced with so it's neat to have a little gathering. We all have the same interests."
A big theme of the celebration was Schatz's family, which is what he says his whole racing career is about. Before joining Tony Stewart Racing in 2008, Schatz raced for his family-owned team for 11 seasons.
"My mom and dad still travel with me, and want to be at the races. They are my biggest fans," Schatz said. "My sister loves being a part of it. My family back home is constantly listening to the races. That’s what's got me here. We haven’t forgotten what family is about and how important it is."
Among his six wins in the Nationals, Schatz's most memorable is the first one in 2006 while racing for his family-owned team. Prior to that victory, Schatz had finished second four times in a span of six years.
"To be able to get the monkey off our back and get past that second-place finish," Schatz said. "It still probably hasn’t sunk in to this day. I think the other ones have, but the first one - I'll never forget that feeling."
For this year's Nationals, Schatz will trade in his standard STP paint scheme for a new one that will promote STP's Gas Booster concentrated fuel system treatment.
"There’s no blue on it. She's kind of carbon black with a little bit of orange," Schatz said of the new design. "It's a neat promotion they've got going for here and the World Finals at the end of the year, where we hope to win a championship. It’s always cool to have a special car for a special race. We look forward to getting it on the racetrack, and we're hoping it's just as fast as red, white and blue."
Wednesday's first qualifying night is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. (CT). Points will be accumulated during two nights - with a perfect total being 500 (quick time, heat win, feature win) - and the top 16 will be locked in to Saturday's feature.
Motor Racing Network's "Winged Nation" will be live at Knoxville Raceway with four special programs, streaming nightly Wednesday through Saturday from 6-7 p.m. (CT) at MotorRacingNetwork.com.
See Also: Schatz Thinking of Stewart