As soon as Donny Schatz pulled his No. 15 World of Outlaws sprint car into the pits after Sunday's feature race, the Minot native was surrounded by friends giving him a similar message.
He had gotten the Nodak Speedway monkey off his back.
The 35-year-old breezed past 23 competitors to claim the $10,000 prize and become the seventh champion in seven all-time Outlaws races at the track.
Donny Schatz circles the Nodak Speedway track Sunday during time trials. He went on to win the feature event, his third victory in four races.
"This is probably one of the hardest races to win because you want it the most," he said. "You put a lot of pressure on yourself and you put a lot of emphasis on trying to get a win here in Minot in front of the hometown crowd where it all started for me."
It was the third win for Schatz in his last four races. He remains in second place in the points standings, having gained six points on points leader and second-place finisher Craig Dollansky.
"We were with him, especially in the long runs," Dollansky said. "Things were looking pretty good there as the race was wearing on and then we had that long, long red."
Heat 1: 1. Justin Striefel, Burlington; 2. Kory Hocksprung, Minot; 3. Dalton Flory, Williston.
Heat 2: 1. Joe Flory, Williston; 2. Austin Daae, Estevan, Sask.; 3. Gregory Gutt, Weyburn, Sask.
Heat 3: 1. Randy Conway, Minot; 2. Robby Rosselli, Minot; 3. Bob Fuegmann, Minot.
Feature: 1. Conway; 2. Rosselli; 3. Gutt; 4. Striefel; 5. Kelly Henderson.
World of Outlaws Sprints
Heat 1: 1. Craig Dollansky, Elk River, Minn.; 2. Joey Saldana, Brownsburg, Ind.; 3. Donny Schatz, Minot.
Heat 2: 1. Mark Dobmeier, Grand Forks; 2. Jason Sides, Bartlett, Tenn.; 3. Sammy Swindell, Germantown, Tenn.
Heat 3: 1. Steve Kinser, Bloomington, Ind.; 2. Casey Mack, Grand Forks; 3. Stevie Smith, Broken Arrow, Okla.
Dash for cash: 1. Dollansky; 2. Schatz; 3. Kerry Madsen, New South Wales, Australia; 4. Smith; 5. Swindell.
B-main: 1. Greg Nikitenko, Minot; 2. Chris Shirek, Thompson; 3. Cody Hahn; 4. Jordan Graham, Grand Forks; Mitch Mack, East Grand Forks, Minn.
Feature: 1. Schatz; 2. Dollansky; 3. Smith; 4. Kinser; 5. Swindell.
Two separate red flags with 18 laps to go halted action for several minutes. First, Cody Darrah ran into the catch fence on the front straightaway. He was not hurt in the wreck, but several fence panels were dislodged and had to be replaced.
After the damage was repaired and the race resumed, Jason Sides ran off the enbankment on the back straightwaway and caused another delay.
Throughout the delays, Schatz kept his concentration.
"One thing that I do know how to do is stay focused and get focused the way I need to to race the car and not let things bother me and sidetrack me," he said.
Schatz, a four-time Outlaws points champion, has 23 races left to catch Dollansky. The Minnesota driver led the first lap, the only lap Schatz didn't.
"I'm not worried about what he's doing," Schatz said. "And right now, we're doing the things right that we need to. That's all we can worry about. When you're trying to win a championship, that's what you have to do is worry about what you can do and right now it's out of our control. We keep running like we're running and we're going to win the championship."
Randy Conway won the IMCA Stocks feature race ahead of fellow Minot driver Robby Rosselli.