DEFENDING KNOXVILLE NATIONALS CHAMP BACK ON THE POLE KNOXVILLE, IA (Aug. 11) - Reaching the top is tough, but staying there is sometimes even tougher. After winning last year's Super Clean Knoxville Nationals, Donny Schatz proved that he could...
DEFENDING KNOXVILLE NATIONALS CHAMP BACK ON THE POLE
KNOXVILLE, IA (Aug. 11) - Reaching the top is tough, but staying there is sometimes even tougher. After winning last year's Super Clean Knoxville Nationals, Donny Schatz proved that he could finally overcome four second place finishes in sprint car racing's premiere event. The victory allowed Schatz to enter this year's event without the worry of never winning it.
On Friday night, he earned the most points of all 105 competitors entered driving his Global ParkerStore sponsored No. 15 J&J with Shaver power. With his eighth place finish today in the "A" Scramble, Schatz is in the best position possible to score his second Knoxville Nationals crown.
"It's great to be here and we're hungry to get out there and try to win another Knoxville Nationals," said Schatz, who is the defending World of Outlaws champion and current points leader. "There is a great field of cars here. The 20 car (Paul McMahan) has been fast all week. Steve (Kinser) and (Craig) Dollansky are starting right there, so it's going to be a great race. It's 30 laps and we feel like our car will be a lot better on lap 30 than it will on the first."
His recipe for success has been consistency in his qualifying night. In nine out of the last ten years, Schatz has finished either first second in the qualifying feature. He has six second place finishes, including Friday night's charge from eighth.
"You've got to give yourself a chance to be close to the front," said Schatz. "Our qualifying laps last night saved the weekend. The track slowed way down and to go out and somehow turn the fifth quickest lap was pretty incredible."
Schatz and the rest of his ParkerStore team have continued working to get the their car faster every time it hits the track.J "My guys have been awesome," continued Schatz. "Ricky (Warner), Dave (Lawrence), Shane (Bowers) and everyone else that has helped us this week. We're battling extreme conditions and even lost one of our guys to dehydration. Spider (Dave Nisbet) spent Friday night in the hospital. It's always been a total team effort. These guys don't quit and all they want to do is win. We've did everything we can and now it's just 30 laps for another big Knoxville trophy."
Schatz will lead the field of 24 cars to the green flag in Saturday night's "A" Feature after earning his fourth career pole position.
"We don't mind starting up front," said Schatz. "We've been there before and last year had a pretty good battle with Joey (Saldana) early. When you start in the second row, you get the chance to see where another guy is racing and you can judge how good you are. We don't mind starting from the pole that just means we've been pretty good all week."
Saturday night's finale of the 47th annual Super Clean Knoxville Nationals will air live on SPEED beginning at 9 p.m. (et).