CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There may not be a better place for Donny Schatz to make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut than Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway.
Schatz, a 10-time World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion, has enjoyed more success at Knoxville Raceway than almost any other driver. He’s a 10-time champion of the prestigious Knoxville Nationals, with only the legendary Steve Kinser owning more victories in the annual event than Schatz.
So when the idea of competing in NASCAR’s debut at the Iowa oval was presented to him, Schatz knew it was an offer he had to at least consider. However, with the hectic World of Outlaws schedule already on his plate, committing to the Camping World Trucks race at Knoxville was always going to be a challenge.
“I was asked a year ago if I was interested in running a truck on dirt and I said I would give anything a try,” said Schatz, who drives the No. 15 Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing entry on the World of Outlaws circuit. “It’s not something I set out to do once I was asked and analyzed if it was something I was interested in. I feel like it’s a great opportunity.
“The sticky part on whether or not to make this all work or not is…you all know my commitment to the World of Outlaws, and it has been for 25 years. That’s a pretty tough schedule to try and fit something like this in. Without this July 9 date, we wouldn’t be racing.”
The Camping World Truck Series race at Knoxville Raceway falls, as Schatz said, on July 9. That happens to be during a break in the World of Outlaws slate, with the series set to resume its intense schedule that features more than 80 races the following day at Wisconsin’s Wilmot Raceway.
Thus the door opened for Schatz to compete at Knoxville, where he’ll drive David Gilliland Racing’s No. 17 Ford F-150.
“This was just a perfect opportunity at Knoxville with David Gilliland Racing,” Schatz said. “It’s something I’m excited about.”
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