Tatnell Drives Rush Racing to First World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory New Richmond, WI -- July 4, 2005 -- By Chris Dolack, World of Outlaws Senior Writer The World of Outlaws Sprint Series feature Monday night at Cedar Lake Speedway had...
Tatnell Drives Rush Racing to First World of Outlaws Sprint Series Victory
New Richmond, WI -- July 4, 2005 -- By Chris Dolack, World of Outlaws Senior Writer
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series feature Monday night at Cedar Lake Speedway had all the makings of a classic Steve Kinser vs. Sammy Swindell duel.
Swindell had won six times at the track near Minnesota's Twin Cities while Kinser was a five-time winner. Each driver captured a Dash, putting Kinser on the pole for the feature with Swindell starting alongside. The two even qualified one right after the other in time trials.
And they finished one right after the other, too -- Kinser in second and Swindell third, looking up at Brooke Tatnell.
The duel, the history, none of it mattered Monday night to Tatnell. All he knew was that he was fiercely determined to give Rush Racing its first World of Outlaws victory, not to mention pick up his first win since 2003.
Donny Schatz finished fourth, followed by Terry McCarl, Jason Meyers, Shane Stewart, Joey Saldana, Paul McMahan and Tim Kaeding.
Tatnell has not finished out of the top 10 since May 27 at Williams Grove. But at the same time, especially after a second-place run Saturday night at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D., there wasn't a more frustrated driver in the pits. Not many racers would call a runner-up finish a pain, but that summed up how discouraged he and his team had become at finishing everywhere but on top.
So Monday night it was quite clear Tatnell, an Australia native who missed the first four races of the season because of a mix-up with immigration, was done with trying to sugarcoat top-five finishes. It was going to be all or nothing in the 35-lap feature.
Twice this season Tatnell finished second to Kinser, a driver whom Tatnell greatly respects for his ability to dominate year after year in a series where competition has become incredibly intense. At the same time, he has wanted nothing more than to beat him to the checkered flag.
As the green flag waved, Tatnell immediately followed Kinser through Turns 1 and 2, sliding under Swindell to steal second. He followed Kinser around the 3/8-mile oval, eventually sneaking a peak to the inside of Kinser's car on Lap 7. But Kinser hasn't won 19 series championships by allowing drivers to slip past him so he cut to the low groove, forcing Tatnell to back off and remain in second.
Then traffic became a factor. Tatnell again looked to the bottom while Kinser was on top. This time, on Lap 11, Tatnell carried momentum through the bottom of Turn 4 and powered his way to the lead down the frontstretch and into Turn 1.
At that point, Tatnell took off, leaving Kinser and Swindell to race each other for second. Swindell slipped in front of Kinser on Lap 14, then four laps later Kinser went to the bottom in Turns 3 and 4 to grab the position right back, and make a charge on Tatnell.
Letting his car fly around the top of the oval, Tatnell quickly caught heavy lapped traffic running two abreast in each turn, allowing Kinser to pull even on Lap 21. The fight for the lead was intense as each driver tried to pick his way through the lapped cars.
Then a caution waved for Brian Paulus, who slowed in Turn 3 with eight laps to go. With clear track in front of him on the restart, Tatnell charged back into the lead as Kinser's motor was slow to regain speed. Then Kraig Kinser grabbed third when Swindell hit a rut in Turn 1. Tatnell quickly caught traffic again, which was still running two-wide, and this time Steve Kinser knew he had to take a shot at the lead.
But just as he pulled even with Tatnell, Jason Sides' motor burst into a ball of fire going into Turn 3. Sides got his car stopped in a hurry and climbed out as the fire was extinguished, but the caution allowed Tatnell to stay in front and set up a green-white-checkered finish.
Tatnell again got a great jump on the final restart and was virtually unchallenged to the checkered flag ahead of Steve Kinser just as Swindell and Kraig Kinser made contact, sending Kraig Kinser flipping in Turn 3 with Swindell racing to the finish.
"It took me 13 years to win my first Outlaws show," said Tatnell, the reigning Australia Sprint Car champion who last won with the Outlaws on Aug. 18, 2003 at Jetmore Motorplex in Jetmore, Kan. "I was worried it was going to take me another 13 years. This is a team effort. Our car owner gave us everything in the world, and you need everything going your way to beat Steve Kinser. I'm as happy for the team as I am for myself.
"After the [last] yellow, I knew we had it from there because the lapped cars were the only thing that were going to cost us."
While the traffic could have prevented Tatnell from winning, he admits the lapped cars were nearly as quick as he was, making it all the more difficult to race past them.
"They weren't doing anything wrong," he said. "I just couldn't afford to move out of line because if you slip once, Steve is going to get you."
A runner-up finish is Kinser's best run since he dominated the Eagle Nationals in mid-June, and it puts him back on track after a horrific-looking crash on the first lap Saturday night at Red River Valley Speedway.
"It helps a little bit," said Kinser, a native of Bloomington, Ind., who leads the series standings with 12 A-feature wins and 25 top-five runs. "We didn't want to come back and struggle tonight. We ran good, but we had a motor get hot and start spitting and sputtering a little bit. Other than that, everything went all right."
Kinser admitted he needed the traffic to slow Tatnell if he was going to have any opportunity to catch him.
"That was the only chance I had because my motor wouldn't take off on the starts," he said. "I wasn't going to beat him on an open run anyway. I was just going to have to wait to get to lapped traffic because that was the only chance I had. When I saw the [final] yellow come out I knew I was done."
Swindell had a unique obstacle to overcome in his quest for a third Outlaws A-feature victory this season -- his visor. A new shield on his helmet was apparently not tight enough and after he raced into second it was knocked out of place, allowing anything thrown up from the cars in front of him to hit inside his helmet.
"I thought I had him for a bit, then I got my visor knocked up when I was behind Brooke," said Swindell, a three-time series champion from Germantown, Tenn. "I was getting hit with dirt and I was trying to get it down and got over the cushion in Turn 2 and [Steve Kinser] got a run on me and slid across on the next end.
"Brooke's car was really fast, but I was just being patient and I thought I was going to play it pretty good until that visor came up and I let Steve go by. Then we had the yellow right at the end and my tires went down and his motor didn't take off. I thought he was going to go down and he didn't, he stayed up. I had to get out of the gas and I ran right in the rut in Turn 1 and let Kraig get by. Things happen so fast, just little things. If we hadn't had the visor problem, hadn't had this or hadn't had that -- we could have won if things played right. But that's part of racing when you've got other guys that are that close."
Donny Schatz's fourth-place run helped soften the heartbreak of Saturday night, when he was leading with three laps to go in front of his hometown crowd at Red River Valley Speedway and his car quit on him. It was another strong run for the team as it tries to regain its early season dominance heading into the big-money races later this month and August.
"We qualified better, but we didn't really go anywhere," said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. "We ended up fourth, started fifth. We didn't feel very good, but I guess when you're in the top five, it's a step ahead from where we've been. You've just got to be consistent and when you stay there, I guess a top-five when we don't feel very good is probably a good thing. We need that, too."
McCarl was thrilled to grab a fifth-place finish, especially after suspension trouble as the laps wound down could have knocked his car out of the race.
"The car was great, and that yellow [with eight laps to go] came out I was real happy," said McCarl, of Altoona, Iowa. "We were sitting there in fifth place and then I hit that rut in Turn 1 and I think we broke a torsion bar because all of a sudden the car just fell on the left rear so we were just happy to finish, let alone finish top five. I'm not sure what happened, but we definitely had a drastic problem on the left rear with the suspension and it was wanting to spin out big time. I dropped back on that restart and let the guys go a little bit. I was just trying to hold my position and not lose anything."
But it was Tatnell who ultimately held his ground, finally getting the best of Steve Kinser and moving his team to within one point of the top five in owners' points as the series prepares to compete Wednesday at The Raceway at Powercom Park in Beaver Dam, Wis., Friday at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., and Saturday at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo.
CEDAR LAKE SPEEDWAY NOTEBOOK
* The No. 35 Rick Wright-owned car, 18th in World of Outlaws Sprint Series owners' points, did not attend the race Monday night at Cedar Lake Speedway. Travis Rilat has been the fourth different driver to pilot the car this year. Mark Kinser, Kerry Madsen and Peter Murphy also raced the car on the Outlaws circuit in 2005.
* Racing night after night from coast to coast certainly is tough on the drivers, but it's even more brutal on the crews, especially those with families. With that in mind, Brooke Tatnell will be without one of the forces behind his team's success next week as crew chief Troy Renfro checks in on his family to help celebrate a birthday. "It's going to be a little tough next week without my crew chief, but there's three crew guys and myself who make the decisions on this race team," Tatnell said. "Troy's main job is getting that fuel system right so next week is going to be a little bit tougher."
* Brooke Tatnell became the 12th different winner this season with his victory Monday night at Cedar Lake Speedway. Steve Kinser leads the way with 12 victories, most recently winning June 18 at Eagle Raceway in the 22nd Annual Eagle Nationals. Kraig Kinser earned his fourth A-feature June 24 at Knoxville Raceway; he also has a preliminary feature victory. Jason Meyers earned his fourth win of the season July 2 in the Duel in the Dakotas at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D. Donny Schatz has three A-feature victories, at Parramatta, Las Vegas and Houston. Brian Paulus earned the second of his two A-feature victories June 28 at Huset's Speedway in Brandon, S.D. He also won the preliminary feature July 1 at Red River Valley Speedway. Tim Shaffer picked up his second win of the season May 6 at Lake Ozark Speedway. Sammy Swindell won his second A-feature victory of the season June 4 at Eldora Speedway. Swindell also has a preliminary feature win April 8 at Eldora. Tim Kaeding earned his first World of Outlaws Sprint Series victory of the season June 11 at Sheboygan County Fair Park. Daryn Pittman was the winner April 23 at 81 Speedway in Wichita. Craig Dollansky has won a feature and a preliminary, while Jeff Shepard won a feature at Volusia Speedway Park. In Preliminary Features, Danny Lasoski has won twice and Joey Saldana has won once.
* A-feature winners at Cedar Lake Speedway include: 2005 -- Brooke Tatnell; 2004 -- Craig Dollansky on July 12; 2003 -- Steve Kinser on July 7; 2002 -- Sammy Swindell on July 8; 2001 -- Mark Kinser on July 9; 2000 -- Mark Kinser on July 10; 1999 -- Danny Lasoski on July 12; 1998 -- Stevie Smith on July 13; 1997 -- Mark Kinser on July 14; 1996 -- Mark Kinser on July 9; 1995 -- Sammy Swindell on July 10; 1994 -- Sammy Swindell on July 11; 1993 -- Dave Blaney on May 9, Dave Blaney on July 12; 1992 -- Sammy Swindell on July 13; 1991 -- Dave Blaney on July 8; 1990 -- Sammy Swindell on July 9; 1989 -- Jac Haudenschild on May 1, Bobby Davis, Jr., on July 10; 1988 -- Steve Kinser on July 11; 1987 -- Sammy Swindell on July 13; 1986 -- Steve Kinser on July 14; 1985 -- Bobby Davis, Jr., on July 15; 1984 -- Steve Kinser on July 17; 1983 -- Steve Kinser on July 11.
* The race Monday night at Cedar Lake Speedway was on a 3/8-mile oval. The series has now raced eight times this season on tracks that size, at Pike County Speedway, Houston Raceway Park, Batesville Speedway, Outlaw Motor Speedway, 81 Speedway, Huset's Speedway and Cedar Lake Speedway. Steve Kinser held off Brooke Tatnell to win at Pike County, Donny Schatz edged Steve Kinser at Houston, Kraig Kinser dominated at Batesville, Steve Kinser snuck past Jason Meyers late at Outlaw, Daryn Pittman cruised to victory at 81 Speedway, Jason Meyers outlasted the field at Sharon on a night when several top contenders ran into various trouble, Brian Paulus started on the pole and won at Huset's, and Brooke Tatnell held off Steve Kinser at Cedar Lake.
* In the Stacker 2® Dash to set the inside top six rows of the A-main, Steve Kinser grabbed the lead on the first lap and drove away to the checkered flag to earn the pole for the feature. Brooke Tatnell held onto second, followed by Donny Schatz, fast qualifier Travis Whitney, Shane Stewart and Jason Sides.
* In the second Dash that set the outside top six row of the A-main, Sammy Swindell got the jump and powered his way to the checkered flag. Behind Swindell, a three-wide battle settled with Terry McCarl charging into second followed by Kraig Kinser, Jason Meyers, Joey Saldana and Daryn Pittman.
* Tim Kaeding started on the pole in the first heat and led the first couple of laps before he headed to the pits, handing over the lead to Steve Kinser, who held off Jason Meyers to win the heat. Also transferring to the feature were Jason Sides, Terry McCarl, quick qualifier Travis Whitney and Tim Shaffer.
* Craig Dollansky controlled the second heat as Sammy Swindell cut to the bottom in Turn 1 on the first lap to slide from fourth to second. Also transferring to the feature were Paul McMahan, Donny Schatz, Brian Paulus and Kraig Kinser.
* Brandon Wimmer won a drag race with Danny Lasoski through the first two turns and held on to win the heat. Lasoski finished second with Shane Stewart, Brooke Tatnell, Daryn Pittman and Joey Saldana also transferring to the feature.
* Travis Whitney paced the 25 cars that went through time trials with a lap around the 3/8-mile oval in 11.288 seconds at 119.596 mph. Terry McCarl owns the single-lap record when he turned a lap in 10.757 seconds on Sept. 11, 2004. McCarl, who was sixth quick Monday night, is the only driver in speedway history to circle the track in less than 11 seconds.
* The Outlaws race July 6 at The Raceway at Powercom Park in Beaver Dam, Wis., July 8 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., and July 9 at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., before heading back east for the Brad Doty Classic July 13 at Attica Raceway Park.
* The Outdoor Channel will air all of the action from the Eagle Nationals at 8 p.m. (ET) on July 6. The Outdoor Channel will then air the Duel in the Dakotas at 8 p.m. (ET) on July 13.