ThatsRacin

Donny Schatz locked up World of Outlaws title, but he’s still chasing records

Donny Schatz enters this weekend's World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track @ CMS having won a career-best 31 WoO sprint car events this season.
Donny Schatz enters this weekend's World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track @ CMS having won a career-best 31 WoO sprint car events this season.

Donny Schatz has had a lot of fun racing on the World of Outlaws’ sprint car tour this year.

That’s understandable, considering how many times Schatz has wound up in Victory Lane.

Schatz has won a career-best 31 feature races this season and has already clinched his seventh career championship heading into this weekend’s World of Outlaws World Finals at the Dirt Track at Charlotte.

“I guess you can call it a golden year, really,” said Schatz, 38, of Fargo, N.D. “On paper, it’s the best, and from the standpoint of having the most fun, yeah, it’s been great.

While he’s already locked up the WoO sprint car title, there are still several historical milestones on the line for Schatz at this weekend’s World Finals.

Schatz’s 31 wins this season make him tied for third all-time with 20-time series champion Steve Kinser, who won 31 in 1992. A win in either Friday or Saturday’s 30-lap feature races would give him the position outright. The series record is 46 wins, set by Kinser in 1987.

Schatz – whose team is owned by NASCAR driver-owner Tony Stewart – can also add to his career wins mark in World of Outlaws races. He’s won 204 times, third-best behind Kinser’s 577 wins and Sammy Swindell’s 294.

There’s a good chance that Schatz can do both this weekend, considering his record at the Dirt Track at Charlotte. He’s won eight times there – tops among all drivers in all divisions – including May’s Outlaw Showdown.

But Schatz isn’t going into the World Finals thinking another win is in the bag.

“That’s the thing about racing – you can be good one day and bad the next,” said Schatz, who also plans to race his dirt late model this weekend. “Just because we’ve won there in the past, it doesn’t mean we get a bye.

“But we’re looking forward to a fun weekend – we’re going to celebrate our championship, and we’re doing to do that by trying to win two races and qualify with the quick time both nights.”

DIRT title still up for grabs

While two of the three divisions racing in this weekend’s World Finals have been decided, a third is still very much up for grabs.

Three drivers are still in contention to win the Super DIRTcar Series big-block modified championship, with only 167 points separating the three with two feature races remaining.

Three-time series champion Matt Sheppard of Waterloo, N.Y., leads by 86 points over defending series champ Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y. (3,027-2,941). Sitting in third is Jimmy Phelps of Baldwinsville, N.Y. (2,860).

Sheppard has won four times this season, while Decker has five wins and Phelps one win. However, of the three, only Phelps has won at the Dirt Track, back in November 2010.

McLaughlin attempting DIRT debut

Mooresville teen Max McLaughlin will attempt to make his debut in the Super DIRTcar Series in this weekend’s WoO World Finals.

McLaughlin, the 15-year-old son of former NASCAR driver Mike McLaughlin, will drive a big-block DIRT modified fielded by HBR Racing, which also fields cars for Sheppard and Phelps.

McLaughlin won the Outlaw winged sprint division championship this season at Millbridge Speedway, just outside of Salisbury, winning 10 races. He also won the King of the Carolinas small-block modified race at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia on Oct. 17.

World of Outlaws World Finals

Thursday

11 a.m.: Pit area opens.

4 p.m.: Grandstands open.

5 p.m.: Hot laps begin.

6 p.m.: Qualifying and heat races.

Friday

Noon: Pit area opens.

3 p.m.: Grandstands open.

4 p.m.: Hot laps begin.

4:45 p.m.: Heat races begin.

7 p.m.: Super DIRTcar Series big-block modifieds A-Main (40 laps), followed by World of Outlaws late models A-Main (50 laps) and WoO sprint car A-Main (30 laps).

Saturday

Noon: Pit area opens.

3 p.m.: Grandstands open.

4 p.m.: Hot laps begin.

4:45 p.m.: Heat races begin.

7 p.m.: Super DIRTcar Series big-block modifieds A-Main (40 laps), followed by World of Outlaws sprint car A-Main (30 laps) and WoO late models A-Main (50 laps).

Source: Charlotte Motor Speedway

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