Tatnell and Tarlton Hope to return to podium in Kele World Challenge. Memphis, TN - Knoxville Raceway poses a challenge to all sprint car racers, and the half-mile dirt oval isn't your ordinary racetrack. Australia's Brooke Tatnell and...
Tatnell and Tarlton Hope to return to podium in Kele World Challenge.
Memphis, TN - Knoxville Raceway poses a challenge to all sprint car racers, and the half-mile dirt oval isn't your ordinary racetrack. Australia's Brooke Tatnell and Californian Tommy Tarlton will be two drivers that will look to conquer the famous black gumbo and the rest of the international challengers in the upcoming Kele World Challenge during the Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals.
Tatnell is a veteran of many races at Knoxville while Tarlton made his first run at the legendary speedway last August. Tatnell, who has won the Australian World Series Sprintcars (WSS) championship, Warrnambool's Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic (GASC) and many other races, is looking for his first World Challenge title after four second place finishes.
"It's always a fun deal to be in the World Challenge," said Tatnell, who has been racing throughout the Midwest this season for Court Grandstaff in his TropArtic #66 Eagle. "We've been close to winning in the early races, but lately we haven't been up front. I'd sure like to win it for a lot of reasons. Roger Johnson and the folks at Kele have been behind my sprint car career for a lot of years. Winning the World Challenge might be a great way to say thanks for all their help. No matter what happens, I'm just thrilled to be in the race again this year. This sport just continues to grow and more and more Americans come to Australia to race, and we're hoping the Australians just keep coming to America too."
Tarlton is hoping his recent hot streak in California can be a spring board to success in the upcoming Nationals. He won the Pombo/Sargeant Classic on July 20th at King's Speedway in Hanford, CA, and he finished third in last year's Kele World Challenge driving the #21 Tarlton & Sons Maxim. The 27 year-old is accustomed to racing on the bullrings of California and was impressed by the size of Knoxville.
"Knoxville is unbelievable," said Tarlton, who led the first five laps of last year's Kele World Challenge. "Racing in California is a different animal and Australia isn't a ton different from California, but when you come to Knoxville it's a whole new game. We were fortunate to start near the front last year and get a third place finish. This year we'll be back there with at least a starting point. It's a great honor to race with the guys in the World Challenge and I hope we can keep doing it."
The Kele World Challenge is a joint effort between Knoxville Raceway and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum in Knoxville, Iowa, and the Kele Companies of Memphis, Tennessee.
RACE FACTS: Twenty drivers are expected to enter this year's Kele World Challenge and the lineup will be determined by qualifying points for the Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals. In order to qualify for the 16-lap race, an eligible driver must compete in the Nationals and earn points on either the Wednesday or Thursday qualification nights. The top 16 eligible drivers in the top 106 in points will then be inverted for the start of the Kele World Challenge race, with the remaining drivers tagging the dash lineup in order by points.
THE FIELD: 20 drivers are expected to enter the race including: Brent Antill (USA), PJ Chesson (USA), Max Dumesny (AUS), Brad Furr (USA), Jeff Hodgson (CAN), Skip Jackson (AUS), Lynton Jeffrey (AUS), Chad Kemenah (USA), Danny Lasoski (USA), Ricky Logan (USA), Kerry Madsen (AUS), David Murcott (AUS), Peter Murphy (AUS), Daryn Pittman (USA), Donny Schatz (USA), Jeff Shepard (USA), Danny Smith (USA), Brooke Tatnell (AUS), Tommy Tarlton (USA), Kurt Winker (USA)
EVENT HISTORY: Since 1994, drivers that have competed in both the Knoxville Nationals and Warrnambool Classic have been challenging to earn the title of "best world sprint car driver".
A hurricane blew through the valley in the 1999 Kele World Challenge as Randy Hannagan won the sixth annual Kele World Challenge leading the race from flag to flag. Hannagan debuted his #1x Nettaxi sprinter and by the luck of the draw, he started on the pole. Hannagan became only the second American to win the race and was chased to the checkered flag by Brooke Tatnell (AUS), Joey Saldana (USA), Skip Jackson (AUS) and Danny Smith (USA).