FARGO, N.D. (November 25, 2019) – A pair of World of Outlaws champions are teaming up this December. Donny Schatz will have two-time World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series champion, Brandon Sheppard, drive his No. 15 Rocket Late Model at the Arizona Sport Shirts Gateway Dirt Nationals at the Dome at America’s Center December 19-21.
“We were at Volusia in February and after the races one night, Sheppard was over and we were having a few beers. I was saying how I wanted to go to the dome this year, but I don’t want to race it myself. I want to go watch it one year first,” Schatz explained. “He said, ‘Well hey, I’ll drive your car.’”
“I told him you’re probably going to get the body tore up a little bit,” said Sheppard. “He was like, ‘Oh, I’m not worried about that. Let’s go do it.’ It’s definitely an honor to drive for him. I’ve looked up to him for a long time. It’s going to be a great opportunity for me to hopefully make something happen.”
The first laps Sheppard will turn in Schatz’s Petro Fargo / Fastlane Car Wash No. 15 will be at the Gateway Dirt Nationals, but Sheppard is confident he will be comfortable in the car from the get-go.
“I think we can get everything changed over to my liking pretty quick,” he said. “I don’t think what Donny has been running lately is too far off from where we are at. He and Mark (Richards) keep in touch on a lot of things. I don’t think it’ll be too much of an adjustment. His motors are a little bit different than what I run, but truthfully, as small as that track is, you just have to take all the power away from it and go.”
Sheppard claimed his second career World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship in 2019 in convincing fashion, collecting 18 wins and 37 top-five finishes in 41 events.
“Brandon is one of the best late model drivers there is and I’m pretty fortunate to have him in the car,” said Schatz, who owns 10 career Northern Late Model Racing Association (NLRA) wins. “I’m sure he’s going to be in a position to battle for a win and be competitive.”
Schatz said the uniqueness of the event is what attracted him to partake this year.
“It’s a cool event. There is nothing else going on at that time of year. We hear about the Chili Bowl and all of these indoor Midget races, but to be able to put the Late Models and Modifieds indoors is huge. It’s great for our sport,” said Schatz. “It’s just one of those things I haven’t experienced yet, but I’m looking forward to experiencing it this year.”
Schatz has played the role of car owner on a few other occasions this season with his Late Model. Two-time NLRA series champion, Cody Skytland, piloted Schatz’s Rocket to three top 10 finishes in NLRA and WISSOTA action in August and September.