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Donny Schatz scores 500th win in the Bike Week Jamboree at Volusia Speedway Park

WoO Volusia 2024 - Donny Schatz Volusia Trent Gower Photo.jpg

World of Outlaws

BARBERVILLE, Florida — In a remarkable career spanning more than three decades, Donny Schatz scored his 500th sprint car victory — and he did not even know he had done so until someone told him in victory lane. That tally was accumulated with a variety of sanctioning bodies and independent races, but a massive 314 have come in the premiere World of Outlaws Sprint Car series.

After starting fourth, Schatz followed second-place starter Michael “Buddy” Kofoid into Turn 1 as the outside row got the jump on Sheldon Haudenschild and Giovanni Scelzi.

From the drop of the green flag, fans knew there was going to be a story to tell. Kofoid was looking to score his first Outlaws win as a rookie in the series, but Schatz kept him in sight for the first 13 circuits of the 25-lap affair. Kofoid has three wins with the series as a part time driver, but this one would have been special since it would give him momentum in his bid to win the championship.

Just past the halfway point, Kofoid exploded a tire entering Turn 1 and smacked the wall.

Schatz never faltered with his restarts. He rocketed to the lead when the field returned to green and survived another late-race caution with less than a handful of laps remaining by once again getting to the accelerator faster than the field.

“You’ve got to remember I’ve been around for 30 years of racing, since 1993,” Schatz told NBC Sports on a damp, foggy night standing behind his hauler. “That’s a long time. If you divide up what’s there [in terms of seasons], it doesn’t look all that good on paper but it’s pretty humbling. It’s rewarding. I didn’t even really realize it until they said it.”

For the record, it looks pretty darned good on paper as well. Schatz has scored the most wins in a season nine times, including 2015 when he took home nearly half the trophies, (31), in a 75-race schedule. He won the championship that year as well, which was one of five consecutive titles in the mid-2010s.

“I don’t think about those things and you definitely try to block them out of your mind because today we’re here to compete whether it’s one win or 500,” Schartz said.

Schatz wants to remain humble, but some perspective is required. In the history of the Outlaws, only two drivers have earned more wins: Steve Kinser is in an era of his own with 690 victories; Sammy Swindell is in the same century with 394.

“I think all the accolades and things that happen that are milestones, you put in the back of your mind until you’re done racing and then it’s a reflection,” Schatz said. “But while you’re racing all it does is slow you down if you try to reflect on it now.”

An even more remarkable statistic is that with this victory, Schatz has now extended his Outlaws’ winning streak to 27 years. In his second full season on the circuit, the soon-to-be legend won at Cottage Grove (Oregon) Speedway in 1998. That night, he beat three current legends, Sheldon Haudenschild’s father, the “Wild Child” Jac Haudenschild with Kinser and Swindell close behind in third and fourth.

“When you’re surrounded by great people, great things happen and I’ve been very fortunate in my career to always be around great people,” Schatz said. “I drove for my father for many years and that allowed me to get the base underneath myself, establish myself as a driver and I’ve been at Tony Stewart Racing since 2007. It’s unheard of for people to be in one place for that long. When you build a foundation and have longevity, that’s where you have success.”

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