Returning Home: Donny Schatz leads World of Outlaws back to Red River Valley Speedway

By Mike Spieker

WEST FARGO – On Saturday, the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series returns to Red River Valley Speedway. The event will mark the second consecutive year and the 32nd time overall the World of Outlaws have visited the high-banked three-eighths-mile dirt oval on the Red River Valley Fairgrounds.

Leading the way will be nine-time and defending World of Outlaws champion and Fargo’s own, Donny Schatz. The grueling World of Outlaws tour takes the best sprint car teams in the world all across the country to nearly 100 events from February to November.

Donny Schatz straps into his No. 15 World of Outlaws Sprints Car.

For Schatz, returning to his hometown, home track, and home fans, can be a breath of fresh air.

“When you run across the country all year, to get back to Fargo and the Red River Valley Speedway, where I started racing sprint cars back in the day, it’s pretty cool,” said Schatz. “We’ve only had the opportunity to run there one time since the track has been changed. We wanted to win it. We didn’t. Hopefully, we can change that this weekend and have a great showing.”

In the World of Outlaws’ highly-anticipated return to the speedway last August, Schatz started seventh and finished fifth in the $10,000-to-win, 30-lap feature. The late Jason Johnson of Eunice, Louisana scored the win in what was his only World of Outlaws victory in the state of North Dakota.

Schatz leads all active World of Outlaws drivers with four career wins at Red River Valley Speedway, albeit on the former half-mile configuration. Schatz’s first win came in 2002, but he hasn’t won at his home track since 2006.

“It would mean everything to get back to victory lane on Saturday,” he explained. “You want to win every race you’re in, but there’s just something about coming home to the people who have been watching you for 20-plus years, the familiar faces and the new group of kids that are becoming fans. It’s pretty rewarding to just be there participating, let alone have an opportunity to compete or win, but that’s what we all strive for. It’s pretty competitive out there with the World of Outlaws right now and there’s a lot of drivers running really well. We’ll have to be on our game if we are going to have a chance at winning this weekend.”

Donny Schatz and the World of Outlaws return to Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo on Saturday.


This weekend’s World of Outlaws events at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks on Friday and Red River Valley Speedway on Saturday come off the heels of the biggest event in sprint car racing, the Knoxville Nationals in Knoxville, Iowa.

Schatz was eyeing his 11th career Knoxville Nationals title last weekend. After a torrid battle with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup star, Kyle Larson, and Brad Sweet, who drives for another NASCAR star, Kasey Kahne, Schatz took the checkers in the runner-up spot to Sweet in what was the second closest finish in Knoxville Nationals history.

Still, with the second place finish, Schatz extended his streak of finishing either first or second at the Knoxville Nationals to 14 consecutive years – a feat that is unrivaled.

“Every other race is just hot laps for the Nationals,” said Schatz. “That’s our biggest race of the year. Whether you win it or not, you focus on the next race. I’m looking forward to getting bac…

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