CONCORD, N.C. — Donny Schatz has become the kingpin of the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series.
Last year alone he won 20 World of Outlaws races, captured his 10th Knoxville Nationals championship and his ninth World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series championship. There is no doubt he is one of the best in World of Outlaws history.
We recently caught up with Schatz to talk about a number of topics, including his offseason experiences, the long awaited Ford sprint car engine and expectations heading into 2018.
Q: You’re coming off your ninth World of Outlaws championship. Heading into the 2018 season, how do you prepare to go after championship No. 10?
Schatz: It all starts at the shop with the three guys that work on the car. The work they put in this winter, how they prep everything to be ready to tear everything up, even though that isn’t the M.O. of this team, you still have to be prepared of that. You have to stay ahead of the times. The tires change, the dynamic of the way the races work change. Those guys really…a lot of it is just preparation. Making sure we’ve got everything so we’re not falling out of races and once we get the season started, it’s about trying to get a balance on the car. Just keep working on it, keep fine tuning things. That’s what we do. That’s exactly we just attack a championship, one day at a time. Make sure you’ve got your balance tonight and if not, you keep working on it and working and working.
Really it just comes down to those three guys being mentally prepared and physically prepared to roll up and down the road. You never have that opportunity to hit the reset button, so if something goes bad you’re prepared for the next day already regardless of what happened the night before. A lot of nights that could be a good night, it could be a win. But it might be a bad night and a complete failure of a night, but these guys are prepared for it and they’re ready for anything.
Q: Are you looking forward to getting down to Florida and kicking off the season?
Schatz: Volusia is a great place to start it off. For me I get to run there 11 straight nights because the late model races are after. I’m really looking forward to getting back in the sprint car and hopefully getting Florida (started) off like we did last year. We had a really good run at Volusia. We know Volusia really has no barring on what happens when we leave there, but it feels good to get the season started right and get that first win out of the way.
Q: How is the late model program going and what can we expect from you in the late model this year?
Schatz: The expectations really aren’t there. Hopefully I have the opportunity to run 20 or 25 races, a lot of races around home. I get six nights in a row at Volusia. It’s pretty incredible the talent that is there with the World of Outlaws. It’s incredible. A lot of good friends of mine. I’m kind of a field filler, but I have a lot of fun with it. I’m just like anybody else that goes and races anywhere. I like to go have fun too regardless of what level it’s at. I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we can have a good week with it.