INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 30, 2012) – The achievement most competitors strive for is to be named champion at season’s end. It’s a goal not easily accomplished but remarkably rewarding when a driver and his team is hoisting the coveted trophy when the dust settles.
The 2012 World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series season concludes this weekend with the PEAK Motor Oil World of Outlaws World Finals presented by NAPA Auto Parts. Following Saturday night’s final 30-lap A-Feature of the season, there will be a familiar face ready to accept the hardware at The Dirt Track @ Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz can clinch his fifth WoO championship Thursday by simply making a qualifying lap behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J, and the Fargo, N.D., racer would like nothing more than to put an exclamation point on a championship season by duplicating his sweep of the World Finals in 2011.
Twenty-time WoO champion Steve Kinser finished second to his TSR teammate Schatz in last year’s season finale and looks to close his season on a high note by finishing one spot better in the World Finals this weekend in his TSR No. 11 Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim.
Only one driver can win the final race of the season and, since the first World Finals in 2007, Schatz and Kinser have earned three of the five checkered flags. Kinser won the finale in 2007 while Schatz was victorious in 2008 and 2011. The event, which includes WoO Sprint Cars, WoO Late Models and the Big-Block Modifieds from the Super DIRTcar Series, begins with a pair of qualifying sessions for the Sprint Cars and Late Models Thursday. Complete programs with heat races, a dash and feature races will be held both Friday and Saturday.
Schatz is the only driver to make all 30 WoO features at the 4/10-mile Charlotte dirt oval, which opened in May 2000. He won his first race at the track in October 2000 and, since 2003, hasn’t finished outside the top-eight in 18 races. He clinched his third WoO title, and first with TSR, by leading all 30 laps of the season finale in 2008. In May 2010, he led 29 of 30 laps to earn his fourth win at the track. And last fall, he won both nights of the World Finals to increase his win tally at the track to six, most by any driver. Earlier this year, Schatz drove the STP machine from the ninth starting position and finished second.
Kinser will be looking to win at Charlotte for the third time this weekend. His first triumph came in October 2000 and his most recent victory at the facility closed the 2007 campaign. He has 18 top-five finishes in 29 starts. The Bloomington, Ind., native has finished second at the track eight times, including last year’s runner-up finish in the finale. In May, he raced from the sixth starting position and raced his way into the lead during the 30-lap A-Feature, but a blown left-rear tire ended his chances at victory.
The two A-Features this weekend will be races 73 and 74 of the 2012 WoO season. Schatz finished second in a pair of races Oct. 13 at I-55 Raceway near St. Louis to continue an incredible streak of consistency since July 29. The STP driver has finished inside the top-five 25 times in the last 29 races, and those results, which also include victories in the Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals and Williams Grove (Pa.) National Open, have been the difference in the title chase. For the season, Schatz has earned 11 victories, 39 top-fives and 60 top-10s, which has helped him build a 176-point advantage over Craig Dollansky in the championship standings. Kinser, who scored his most recent win Oct. 6 when he raced to victory at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, N.Y., has four wins, 26 top-fives and 47 top-10s on the season. “The King of the Outlaws” ranks fifth in the championship standings and is guaranteed a fifth-place finish.
Saturday’s 2012 WoO season finale will be broadcast live on SPEED beginning at 8 p.m. EDT.
On Thursday, the pit gates will open at 11 a.m. EDT, with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the pit gates will open at 12:45 p.m. with the grandstands opening at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. For more details and ticket information, call the track at 800-455-3267 or visit www.CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com/Dirt.
Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Sprint Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.
Steve Kinser, Driver of the No. 11 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Maxim:
The World Finals is coming up on year six. At first, you weren’t sure it would work out. Why do you think it’s become such a big event?
“Yeah, I was one of those guys who wasn’t quite sure how we were going to be able to have all those cars (Sprint cars and Late Models) race on the same track. To the credit of the track, they’ve given us a great surface to run on and put on a good show. That’s probably the biggest reason the event has grown and become such a big event. Charlotte is a big racing area, but it’s close enough so the fans from Pennsylvania, Ohio and even the Midwest can get down there and get their final racing fix of the year.”
You won that inaugural event and came really close to winning last year. How much does it help you as a driver and your team to close the year with good results in the World Finals?
“It’s the last race of the year. We’re competitors in everything we do, so to go down to Charlotte and win the last race … that really kind of overrides maybe some of the disappointment from earlier in the year. Obviously, you want to be the guy who goes down there and has the championship locked up so you can just have fun and try to win two more races. We’re not in a position where we can change anything with our standings in the points deal, so we know it’s all about going out and winning the race. It helps you a bunch if you find a combination that may end up being something you can work on for the next year. It’s a big boost heading into the winter.”
Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J:
The last two seasons, you’ve headed to the World Finals without a realistic chance at the championship. This year, you are back to controlling your own fate. How much better do you like this position?
“It’s the best-case scenario. It’s one I haven’t been in since 2008 and I can tell you I’m enjoying it. In 2008, we went to the World Finals with the championship pretty much locked up and just went after wins. We finished second the first night and won the finale. There is no better feeling than finishing a year with a win and then getting the championship trophy that night. In 2009, the championship battle was so close (19 points) that any little thing could have lost us the title. Fortunately, we were able to win it, but it was pretty tense the whole weekend. The last two years, we knew Jason (Meyers) was going to have to have major problems for us to have a chance. The good thing last year was that we had a great car and were able to win both races. It didn’t make up for not winning the championship, but it was something that motivated everyone through the winter.”
Your success at The Dirt Track is probably the best of any driver. Is there any particular reason you have been so successful there?
“I want to win every time I get in my racecar, but there’s just something about doing well under those bright lights. It’s always a big race when we are in Charlotte. We race there twice a year. The first time is in May during the Coca-Cola 600 weekend and you see so many people from the NASCAR teams and most of your sponsors can be with you for that event. The World Finals is the last opportunity of the year and they have so many people come to the race. The atmosphere is always terrific. The other thing is, I’ve always had a good feel for getting around the track. Our Shaver Motor-J&J car combination has been really good there for a long time. We’re looking forward to another opportunity this weekend. Last year is going to be hard to top, but I know the STP guys have really been working hard to give me a great car to drive in the World Finals. ”
About Armored AutoGroup
Armored AutoGroup Inc., headquartered in Danbury, CT, is primarily comprised of the Armor All® and STP® brands. Armor All’s® current product line of protectants, wipes, tire and wheel care products, glass cleaners, leather care products and washes is designed to clean, shine and protect interior and exterior automobile surfaces. STP’s® offering of oil and fuel additives, functional fluids and automotive appearance products has a broad customer base ranging from professional racers to car enthusiasts and ‘‘Do-it-Yourselfers’’. The company has a diversified geographic footprint with direct operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and the U.K. and distributor relationships in approximately 50 countries. For more information, please visit www.armorall.com and www.stp.com.
About Bass Pro Shops Group
Bass Pro Shops – 56 retail stores in 26 states and Canada visited by over 109 million people annually, international catalog and internet retailing, American Rod & Gun wholesale division selling to over 7,000 independently owned retail stores worldwide, Outdoor World Incentives also selling Bass Pro Shops gift cards through over 132,000 retail outlets across America and a restaurant division with 26 locations. For more information regarding Bass Pro Shops store locations, products or special events, please visit www.basspro.com. To request a free catalog call 1-800-BASS PRO.
Tracker Marine Group – Manufactures and sells Tracker, Nitro, SunTracker, Tahoe, Grizzly and Mako boats through Bass Pro Shops retail stores and over 400 dealers worldwide.
Resort Group – Big Cedar Lodge and other resort properties including restaurants and golf course. Visit www.bigcedar.com for more information.