Schultz Earns Run-Away Victory in Eagle River

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Press Release –

Wausau, WI, Racer Leads Flag-to-Flag on Polaris-Powered Race Sled

Polaris oval racer Matt Schultz showed the field his snowflap as he used Polaris performance to lead from green flag to checkered and win the World Championship at the 47th Eagle River [WI] World Championship Snowmobile Derby on January 17.

Schultz got a blisteringly fast start on his Larry Rugland Motorsports race sled with a race-prepped Polaris engine and led all 25 laps.

“[Crew Chief] Al [Fenhaus] did a great job with the clutching and we got the holeshot,” Schultz said. “We just got out front and never looked back. We just kept digging. It feels rally good to bring one back for Polaris and bring one back for Wausau.”

Polaris Racing Manager Tom Rager, Sr., said Schultz’s decisive win came against some outstanding competition.

“I thought he had a really good chance to win the thing, but I knew we had to get out in front of [three-time former champion] P.J. Wanderscheid,” Rager said. “I kept waiting because P.J. is in such great shape, he always makes a late charge. But I had a stop watch and every time they would go by, Matt was opening up his lead a little bit more. It’s been a long dry spell. This was an unbelievable win.”

It was an emotional victory, too, because of Schultz’s ties to his crew chief and because he couldn’t race at Eagle River in 2009. He broke his neck in a racing crash the week before the 2009 Eagle River Derby and attended the World Championship as a spectator, wearing a stabilizing halo device. Thus, it was rewarding for him simply to get to compete at Eagle River this year.

Fenhaus, the 1993 World Championship winner and Schultz’s crew chief, teared up following the World Championship win because Schultz is his nephew and racing has strengthened the bond between the two men.

“Matt was a little boy when I won it here. He was always looking up to me and I knew it was something that he wanted to do,” Fenhaus told Snow Goer magazine after the race.

“Al’s probably like my second dad,” Schultz said. “I probably talk to him more than I talk to my dad. I talk to him two or three times a day, and then work with him at his shop. This is what we work all year for.”

Schultz, who lives in Wausau, WI, is the first Wisconsin driver to win the World Championship since 1995. The winner of the first-ever Eagle River World Championship in 1964 was also an in-state racer – and a Polaris rider. The first champ was then-eighth-grader Stan Hayes of Crandon, WI, who won that first race on a 12-hp Polaris and received a modest trophy. Schultz, the latest in a long line of Polaris champions, won the 2010 title with over 10 times the horsepower of Hayes’ sled, and he received $20,000 for the win. He also won the Formula 1 Open 600 title during Derby weekend.

Two Wahl Bros. Racing teammates from Greenbush, Minnesota, joined Schultz in the World Championship top 10 on their Polaris-powered race sleds. Dustin Wahl finished fourth and Brandon Johnson finished seventh.

In other oval classes at Eagle River, Polaris racer Beau Van Strydonk of Tomahawk, WI, won the Pro Sprint 600 title.

Polaris Engines Show Their Muscle
Sleds powered by Polaris engines posted the top three World Championship qualifying times. Schultz posted a lap time of 17.813 seconds at an average speed of 74.777 mph, followed by Nicholas Van Strydonk with a 17.833-seocnd lap at 74,693 mph. Dustin Wahl on his Polaris-powered Wahl Bros. race sled was third-fastest in qualifying with a lap time of 18.148 seconds, giving him an average speed of 73.397 for the lap.

Polaris Racers Win Snocross Titles

During the special nighttime racing under the lights on January 15, Polaris snocross racers dominated, winning both Pro classes and finishing 1-2-3 in Pro Super Stock.

Polaris racer Andrew Johnstad (AMSOIL/Air Force/Makita) won Pro Open and Robbie Malinoski (AMSOIL/Air Force/Makita) was second. They reversed that finishing order in Pro Super Stock, where Malinoski won, Johnstad was second and Andrew Lieders (Lieders Racing) finished third.

In snocross racing on January 17, Malinoski finished second in Pro Open and third in Pro Super Stock, where Johnstad finished second.

About Polaris – With annual 2008 sales of $1.9 billion, Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets off-road vehicles (ORVs), including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER, snowmobiles and Victory motorcycles for recreational and utility use, and has recently introduced a new on-road electric-powered neighborhood vehicle. Polaris is a recognized leader in the snowmobile industry, and one of the largest manufacturers of ORVs in the world. Victory Motorcycles, established in 1998 and representing the first all-new American-made motorcycle from a major company in nearly 60 years, are rapidly making impressive inroads into the cruiser and touring motorcycle marketplace. Polaris also enhances the riding experience with a complete line of Pure Polaris apparel, accessories and parts, available at Polaris dealerships. Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PII,” and the Company is included in the S&P Small-Cap 600 stock price index. Information about the complete line of Polaris products, apparel and vehicle accessories are available from authorized Polaris dealers or anytime from the Polaris homepage at

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