FARGO, N.D (November 7, 2023) – The 2023 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series season came to a close with the 15th running of the World of Outlaws World Finals, which had a sold-out crowd for Saturday night’s finale.
The four-night event kicked off on Wednesday with two sessions of time trials, which set up heat race lineups for Thursday and Friday night’s heat races. Saturday’s heat races were lined up by combined points based off of Thursday and Friday.
Schatz timed in 12th quick in both sessions out of the 53 Sprint Car competitors signed in for the event.
After winning the Last Chance Showdown on Thursday, Schatz drove from 21st to round out the top 10 in what was a caution-free 25 laps.
In a similar fashion, Schatz made another big charge in the feature on Friday night. Schatz was battling for a Dash transfer position in the heat race when he clipped an infield tractor tire. The contact lifted up the front end of the Carquest No. 15, but Schatz was able to regain control and keep the car from getting upside down. Schatz had to go to the work area with damage to the front end, but it was too extensive to get him back out for the restart.
Schatz started 16th and drove to 3rd in what was a quick, green-to-checkered C-Main, missing the transfer spot by just one position. The TSR team used a rare provisional for the 25-lap feature and Schatz again was up on the wheel.
The 10-time series champion charged from 25th to 13th in another caution-free feature to earn the night’s KSE Hard Charger award. After two nights of competition at “The Dirt Track”, Schatz had gained 23 positions during a combined 14 minutes of feature racing.
Schatz went seventh to third in his heat race on Saturday to transfer into the A-main. He started and finished in 13th to cap off the season.
Schatz reflected on his 27th season as a full-time World of Outlaws driver on Sunday night at the Outlaws’ annual banquet.
When asked by World of Outlaws announcer, John Gibson, what keeps the 10-time champion motivated after the better part of three decades, Schatz simply stated, “I want to get back to that table,” as he pointed to Brad Sweet and the Kasey Kahne Racing team sitting at the champion’s table.
“It’s hard to swallow when you want to be somewhere you’re not. This game is humbling. It’s the most humbling thing I’ve ever done. I’ve always been surrounded by great people, still surrounded by great people. Things don’t always go the way it’s planned and I think every person in this room realizes that. I want to get back there. I enjoy the competition. As a child growing up, watching the World of Outlaws, this is what I wanted to do. Just to be able to win a race, to win a championship, just to be a part of this was all I really wanted. Everything after that has been icing on the cake. But, man, the cake tastes better with way more icing.”
Seemingly since Schatz’s 25th anniversary season with the Outlaws in 2021, he has been fielding the same question – “How much longer are you going to keep doing this?” Despite not having the results he’s been used to the last few seasons, Schatz explained that the passion and desire are still there.
“I’m not that old – I’m 46, I have a lot of good years left in me,” Schatz said lightheartedly. “People forget that the best to ever do it (Steve Kinser) raced until he was about 60 years old and he kicked our ass until the day he left. That probably won’t be me, but I’m going to try. I’ll do what I can as long as I can.”
Schatz’s season was highlighted by five wins. The first of which came back-to-back on May 19th and 20th at two Ohio speed plants, Sharon Speedway and Attica Raceway Park. Schatz then took home $175,000 as he collected his sixth King’s Royal title at Eldora Speedway in July.
Proving he’s still one of the best at the “Sprint Car Capital of the World”, Knoxville Raceway, Schatz took home a preliminary night win at the 62nd annual NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals before tallying yet another podium in Sprint Car racing’s biggest event.
His fifth and final win of the season came at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas where he started second, fell back to sixth early on, but came charging back to take the lead away from David Gravel with two laps to go to score his 311th career World of Outlaws win.
Schatz and the entire Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing team would like to thank all of their great partners for their tremendous support throughout the 2023 season!
Carquest Auto Parts, Advance Auto Parts, Curb Records, Ford Performance, Sage Fruit, Mobil 1, Absolute Automation & Security, Nivel Parts & Manufacturing, Hunt Brothers Pizza, J&J Auto Racing, Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts
World of Outlaws Stats:
Top Fives: 22
Top Tens: 43