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Schatz Captures the Knoxville Nationals

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 14 2011

Donny Schatz started 13th but finished first in the 51st annual Goodyear Knoxville Nationals on Saturday night at historic Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa.

Schatz, who drives for the World of Outlaws team owned by two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, pocketed $150,000 for winning the 50-lap main event of the race which is the biggest event in sprint car.

Schatz struggled through his qualifying night on Wednesday when motor issues forced his car into the pits, but he was saved by strong time trial and heat race performances that blunted the effects of his rough time in the A-main.

“I was sweating bullets when I thought were going to have to come through the Last Chance Showdown after we finished 24th in that main (qualifying night),” said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D., who drives the Tony Stewart Racing STP/Armor All/Chevrolet. “Thankfully we had enough points to qualify to start 13th in Saturday’s show. My car was awesome all night long. The motor, the chassis, everything was great. The bottom was a place where my car was able to work really well early on and as the race progressed, I kind of wore out that line so I had to move up a bit. I’m very lucky to be with great people and I need to thank the over 1,100 people the signed up for our sign and ride program. It was really cool to get all of those people into victory lane tonight.”

Once the green flag flew, Schatz quickly began to move to the front. Schatz picked off car after car until a restart on lap 14 gave him the opportunity to make his move for the lead. Riding the low side, Schatz made it a three-wide coming down the front stretch underneath front row starters Sammy Swindell and Brad Sweet. From that point, Schatz held off hard-charging Oklahomans Daryn Pittman and Shane Stewart, who wound up second in his third consecutive event during the Goodyear Knoxville Nationals after being the runner-up in Friday’s Q20 Race of Champions and the Premier Chevy Dealers World Challenge.

“This guy over here started two rows in front of me and in a few laps, I couldn’t see him at all,” Stewart said as he motioned towards Schatz at the post-race press conference. “I looked up at the scoreboard during our first caution and noticed he was already in the top three. I feel really proud of our work. My team did a great job and we passed a lot of cars.”

Swindell earned the pole through a strong run on his qualifying day, but settled for third in the A-main.

“We just weren’t fast enough,” said Swindell, of Germantown, Tenn., who won the event in 1983. “During the red, we didn’t change much, just put two new rear tires on and I got a bad restart when we came off of that red. I was racing really hard towards the end to make up that ground I had lost but I just didn’t have enough.”

Defending Goodyear Knoxville Nationals Champion Tim Shaffer charged from the 19th starting position to finish fourth with Pittman finishing in fifth. Outside pole-sitter Sweet was 8th after qualifying for his first Goodyear Knoxville Nationals A-main and led four laps early on. Current World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series points leader Jason Meyers experienced mechanical woes after changing gears during the event’s pit stop and finished 22nd.

NOTEBOOK

World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Knoxville Raceway; Knoxville, Iowa; Aug. 13, 2011

A main (started), 50 laps: 1. 15, Donny Schatz, Fargo, ND (13) 2. 57, Shane Stewart, Bixby, OK (17) 3. 1, Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN (1) 4. 83x, Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA (19) 5. 27, Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK (5) 6. 13, Mark Dobmeier, Grand Forks, ND (7) 7. 21, Brian Brown, Grain Valley, MO (6) 8. 9, Brad Sweet, Grass Valley, CA (2) 9. Lance Dewease (24) 10. 7, Craig Dollansky, Elk River, MN (18) 11. 41, Jason Johnson, Eunice, LA (20) 12. 83, Paul McMahan, Nashville, TN (16) 13. Stevie Smith (21) 14. 15H, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Sunnyvale, TX (11) 15. 55, Terry McCarl, Altoona, IA (14) 16. 11, Steve Kinser, Bloomington, IN (8) 17. Don Droud Jr. (23) 18. 56, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN (10) 19. Kraig Kinser (22) 20. 2, Dale Blaney, Fowler, OH (3) 21. 51, Fred Rahmer, Salfordville, PA (9) 22. 14, Jason Meyers, Clovis, CA (4) 23. 92, Kerry Madsen, St. Marys, NSW, Aust. (15) 24. 17A, Austin McCarl, Altoona, IA (12). Lap Leaders: S. Swindell 1, Sweet 2-5, S. Swindell 6-14, Schatz 15-27, Pittman 28, Schatz 29-50. KSE Hard Charger: Shane Stewart (+15)

E-main (started), 10 laps: 1. 96AU, Bruce White, Merrylands West, NSW, Aust. (2) 2. 19D, Donovan Peterson, Brookings, SD (1) 3. 22H, Randy Hannagan, Pittsboro, IN (8) 4. 7K, Robby Wolfgang, Sioux Falls, SD (7) 5. 68, Mike Houseman Jr., Des Moines, IA (3) 6. 2K, Kevin Ingle, Huron, SD (6) 7. 19, Bob Weuve, Newton, IA (5) 8. 7TAZ, Tasker Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (4) DNS – 7AB, Billy Alley, Bennet, NE, 20PK, Ron Krysl, Atkinson, NE, 23x, Russel Borland, Kewaskum, WI

D-main (started), 12 laps: 1. 7s, Jason Sides, Bartlett, TN (1) 2. D4, Danny Holtgraver, Pittsburgh, PA (3) 3. 44w, Austen Wheatley, Lake Stevens, WA (4) 4. 91x, Dusty Zomer, Sioux Falls, SD (12) 5. 33, Danny Lasoski, Dover, MO (8) 6. 02, Mike Reinke, Howards Grove, WI (5) 7. 04, Cap Henry, Bellevue, OH (13) 8. 1K, Chris Shirek, Thompson, ND (6) 9. Robby Wolfgang (19) 10. Randy Hannagan (27) 11. 69, Mike Moore, Des Moines, IA (7) 12. 19K, Todd King, Sheboygan Falls, WI (9) 13. 8, Kaley Gharst, Decatur, IL (15) 14. 45, Mark Johnson, Des Moines, IA (10) 15. Tasker Phillips (20) 16. Bruce White (14) 17. Donovan Peterson (16) 18. 9N, Wade Nygaard, Grand Forks, ND (11) 19. Mike Houseman Jr. (18) DQ – 4x, Toni Lutar, White Horse, BC, Can. (2, crossed 2nd – no scales) DNS – Kevin Ingle, Bob Weuve

C-main (started), 15 laps: 1. 1J, Bronson Maeschen, Pleasantville, IA (2) 2. 83JR, Tim Kaeding, San Jose, CA (4) / 3. 55x, Jason Solwold, Mount Vernon, WA (3) 4. 18, Tony Bruce Jr., Liberal, KS (1) 5. 17B, Bill Balog, Eau Claire, WI (7) 6. 5w, Lucas Wolfe, Mechanicsburg, PA (10) 7. 1s, Kevin Swindell, Charlotte, NC (11) 8. 63, Chad Kemenah, Findlay, OH (15) 9. 23w, Scott Winters, Butterfield, MN (18) 10. 22, Kenny Jacobs, Holmesville, OH (13) 11. Jason Sides (21) 12. 11c, Roger Crockett, Medford, OR (16) 13. 29, Bud Kaeding, Campbell, CA (9) 14. Austen Wheatley (22) 15. 1w, Chad Meyer, Sioux Falls, SD (8) 16. 6H, Danny Heskin, St. Michael, MN (19) 17. 71R, Ryan Anderson, Deloit, IA (5) 18. 2D, Bryan Dobesh, Sioux Falls, SD (6) 19. 20E, Brian Ellenberger, Butler, PA (17) 20. Danny Holtgraver (20) 21. 0, Jonathan Allard, Chico, CA (14) DNS – 6RX, Ryan Bunton, Morton, IL, 6M, Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, OH.

B-main (started), 22 laps: 1. 1z, Stevie Smith, Broken Arrow, OK (3) 2. 6, Kraig Kinser, Bloomington, IN (2) 3. 47, Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, NE (15) 4. 30c, Lance Dewease, Fayetteville, PA (9) / 5. 12, Lynton Jeffrey, Prairie City, IA (8) 6. 39, Greg Hodnett, Thomasville, PA (14) 7. 4, Danny Smith, Danville, IN (16) 8. 89G, David Gravel, Watertown, CT (18) 9. 45x, Johnny Herrera, Albuquerque, NM (12) 10. 2B, Ben Gregg, Glendale, AZ (19) 11. 99, Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK (5) 12. 01, Wayne Johnson, Knoxville, IA (17) 13. Bronson Maeschen (21) 14. 10, Rager Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (6) 15. 1zz, Jessica Zemken, Sprakers, NY (20) 16. 59, Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust,. (4) 17. 28, Ian Madsen, St. Mary’s, NSW, Aust. (13) 18. 7x, Dustin Selvage, Indianola, IA (10) 19. 35, Justin Henderson, Sioux Falls, SD (1) 20. Tim Kaeding (22) 21. 14x, Joey Moughan, Springfield, IL (7) 22. 91, Cody Darrah, Red Lion, PA (11)

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 14 2011
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