Knoxville Kele World Challenge report

KNOXVILLE, IA - Donny Schatz has been winning sprint car races all over the world in the year 2001, and on Friday night, that streak continued as won the 8th annual Kele World Challenge at the 41st annual Amoco Ultimate ...

KNOXVILLE, IA - Donny Schatz has been winning sprint car races all over the world in the year 2001, and on Friday night, that streak continued as won the 8th annual Kele World Challenge at the 41st annual Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals.

"First, I have to thank Roger Johnson and Kele for helping sprint car racing so much," said Schatz, who also claimed the pole for Saturday's National Championship earlier in the evening. "There's so much to gain by creating an event the brings drivers from all over the world together. Tonight, we were able to continue the roll that we've had all week and got to the front."

Schatz started his #15 ParkerStores/Featherlite Coaches J&J 14th in the field of 15 cars and was quickly in contention. Tommy Tarlton, from Fresno, CA, took command from his front row staring position and assumed the lead while Schatz moved from the back to midpack. Following two cautions, Schatz closed to fourth and he was on the move. On lap five, Tartlon went low into turn one and opened the door for Schatz on the high-side. After Schatz took the lead coming out of turn two, the race was simply for second. Tarlton held the runner-up position until lap nine when veteran Danny Smith took over the position. The top three remained the same during the final five laps.

"I am happy to finish second and really proud for Donny," said Smith. "I used to be the guy that had this Australian-American thing figured out, but he's the guy right now. I'm so happy that things have improved with the sprint car racing all over the world. This sport will only get better with events like this."

Tarlton, was a rookie in the event and was pleased to finish on the podium. "Usually when you start on the front row and don't win, you're disappointed, but tonight I couldn't be happier," said Tarlton. "I'm honored to be able to share the stage with Danny Smith and Donny Schatz. I'm used to the small bullrings of California and we're just learning how to race on a big half-mile. We'll get better. I hope we can keep racing in Australia every year and come back and be in the Kele World Challenge again also."

Schatz, who won the Warrambool Classic in January along with last year's Williams Grove National Open (both qualifiers for the Kele World Challenge), is hoping to earn the trifecta on Saturday night by winning the Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals.

The Finish: 1) Donny Schatz 2) Danny Smith 3) Tommy Tarlton 4) Max Dumesny 5) Danny Lasoski 6) Terry McCarl 7) Peter Murphy 8)Brooke Tatnell 9) Jason Meyers 10)Kerry Madsen 11) Chad Kemenah 12) Christi Passmore 13) Skip Jackson 14) Kerry Jones 15) Brent Antill

-BK3

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Series SPRINT , WOO