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Eric Peterson, Published August 13 2012

Fargo's Schatz returns home on a high note

FARGO – Donny Schatz likes winning on his home track. The Fargo sprint car driver also likes winning $150,000 purses and 6-foot tall trophies.

Schatz did the latter on Saturday at the Knoxville Nationals in Iowa. He can do the former Wednesday night at the Red River Valley Speedway.

The RRVS hosts the Champions Challenge, which features the All Star sprints, modifieds, B-modifieds and pure stocks.

Racing starts at 7 p.m.

“These are the fans that you look forward to seeing the most all year long … your home-track fans,” said the 35-year-old Schatz. “That’s what makes it extra special for me.”

Schatz looks to have strong competition on Wednesday night with Tim Shaffer, Dale Blaney and David Gravel set to compete.

Shaffer and Blaney are three-time champions on the All Star circuit. Gravel is in third place in All Star points this season behind Shaffer and Blaney.

Grand Forks driver Mark Dobmeier has had a strong season, winning a World of Outlaws sprint car event at Huset’s Speedway in South Dakota in early July.

“There is definitely more pressure in front of your home crowd,” Schatz said. “To come home – you don’t want to disappoint anyone anywhere – but there is definitely more people to disappoint for sure.”

Schatz had a thrilling win in the A-Main feature Saturday at the Knoxville Nationals, edging Brian Brown by .117 seconds.

Schatz has won six of the past seven championships at Knoxville. Schatz is second in A-Main wins at Knoxville behind Steve Kinser, who has 12.

“We seem to do better when we get a lot more fast cars around,” Schatz said. “That’s a good thing.”

Schatz – who helps run the RRVS with his family – was at the West Fargo dirt track on Monday to help prepare the facility for Wednesday night.

Schatz is also slated to race a World of Outlaws sprint event at McCool Junction, Neb., tonight. He is currently third in the Outlaws point standings. The Outlaws also make a stop at Grand Forks’ River Cities Speedway on Friday.

Schatz won the feature race last August when the All Star sprints were at the RRVS. Gravel took second in that feature, which also featured Tony Stewart, a three-time NASCAR champ.

“A win here would be as huge as last year, but there are a lot of good cars coming,” Schatz said. “This is where it all started for me. This is where I first came and made laps, made the dreams of wanting to race a sprint car come true.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513