Looking at their 2009 seasons on paper, Donny Schatz and Jason Meyers had nearly identical stats. Schatz was victorious 12 times while Meyers picked up a career-best 10 wins. Schatz led the World of Outlaws with 39 Top-Five finishes while Meyers racked up 34. Meyers led the series with 55 Top-10 finishes which was one more than Schatz.
Courtesy: WoO Sprint Car Series Media Relations
Barberville, FL—January 26, 2010—Just 19 points, that’s all that separated Donny Schatz and Jason Meyers last season in the closest battle ever for the World of Outlaws title. Over the course of the nearly 70 race season, 19 points was roughly 10 spots on the race track.
The pair has finished one-two in the World of Outlaws championship standings in each of the last two years and will begin another title chase next week during the season opening 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by the University of Northwestern Ohio at Volusia Speedway Park, February 5-7.
Schatz started off last season with a bang during the DIRTcar Nationals, winning the opener and finale of the three-day affair for the World of Outlaws while finishing eighth in the middle race, while Meyers was consistent as well, picking up three Top-10 finishes. Only one other driver besides the pair finished in the Top-10, all three nights of the World of Outlaws portion of the DIRTcar Nationals and that was 20-time series champion Steve Kinser.
Looking at their 2009 seasons on paper, Schatz and Meyers had nearly identical stats. Schatz was victorious 12 times while Meyers picked up a career-best 10 wins. Schatz led the World of Outlaws with 39 Top-Five finishes while Meyers racked up 34. Meyers led the series with 55 Top-10 finishes which was one more than Schatz. On the lap leader board, it Schatz pacing the field for 357 laps of feature competition, while Meyers was out front for 306 circuits. Meyers won the dash a series-best 10 times last year to earn pole positions in feature events, while Schatz picked up eight dash wins.
Schatz was quickest in time trials on 13 occasions, while Meyers stopped the clock first eight times, with qualifying points going to the Top-Five each night in time trials, including five bonus points for setting quick time. While Schatz earned five more quick time honors, it was Meyers who was among the Top-Five in qualifying in 36 events versus Schatz’s 27 events. Overall, Meyers racked up 114 qualifying points, while Schatz picked up 103.
With his title last year, Schatz became just the second driver in the 30-plus year history of the World of Outlaws to win at least four championships and four consecutive, joining Steve Kinser as the only drivers to accomplish both of these feats. Schatz is very excited to head to Volusia Speedway Park next week for the DIRTcar Nationals to begin his title defense and begin his quest for a fifth straight championship. Schatz won twice last year with the World of Outlaws in the DIRTcar Nationals and also picked up two wins under the All Star Circuit of Champions banner at the half-mile driving for Tony Stewart Racing.
“I think we are in the best position we have ever been in here,” said Schatz when looking at the 2010 season. “They changed the tires and my guys seem to adapt to change a little bit better than everyone else. We’re all pumped up and ready to go.”
Meyers is ready and raring to go as well, after a very productive off-season that saw him and his team put in countless hours in preparation for another go around on the always demanding World of Outlaws circuit. Meyers won for the first time in the DIRTcar Nationals with the World of Outlaws in 2008 and has finished in the Top-10 in 10 of his last 11 starts at Volusia.
“Hopefully it’s not us having to make 19 points and it is someone else having to make them up on us,” shared Meyers when asked about the battle for the title. “I think we have what we need to make up those points from last year. We just have to start the season right. We just need a good steady year. We don’t necessarily need to come out and light the world on fire, but we need to be steady and be there every night and carry that consistency that we are known for through the year.”
With the level of competition continuing to get tougher and tougher with the World of Outlaws, Schatz knows that every point and every spot on the track is important when battling for a title. Fresh in his mind are two DNF’s (Did not finish) the team had last year and how nights like those have a large impact on a title chase.
“It’s going to take a lot of things,” explained Schatz when asked what it will take to win a fifth straight championship. “We’re going to have to be consistent like we were and we’re going to have to be even better than we were. It did get pretty tight there at the end last year and that’s not how we want it. We fell out of two races last year that we thought were absolutely ridiculous and if you have two last place finishes, that’s something I can’t live with if we lose a championship. My guys have worked hard to make sure we don’t have those problems again. We’ll just have to be up on the curve.”
Meyers has his entire crew back in tact from last year as well as all of his marketing partners which provides his Elite Racing team which is co-owned by Chris Luck, Guy Stockbridge and Meyers himself, the resources to contend each and every night on the World of Outlaws trail as they seek their first title.
“There are a couple of things that I believe are paramount to having a successful team,” shared Meyers. “Number one is the team members, your people. For us, that is the people involved in our team both on the track and off the track. To have our whole crew and all of our sponsors coming back from last year is huge for us and something I think has helped us get to the level we are at and hopefully will help us get to the next level.”
A full week of Sprint Car racing during the DIRTcar Nationals By UNOH kicks off on Feb. 2 with a practice session, followed by two nights under the All Star Circuit Champions banner (Feb. 3-4) before the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series takes center stage Friday through Sunday (Feb. 5-7).
Live video of each night of the DIRTcar Nationals will be available via the DIRTVision.com Cybercast. For more information and to purchase visit: http://www.DIRTVision.com.