Knoxville Nationals: Schatz race report

Schatz comes within three car-lengths of A-main victory at Knoxville Nationals. Parkerstores driver finishes second for the third time in four years. KNOXVILLE, IA ~ AUGUST 16, 2003 ~ Coming down the back straight and through turns three and...

Schatz comes within three car-lengths of A-main victory at Knoxville Nationals. Parkerstores driver finishes second for the third time in four years.

KNOXVILLE, IA ~ AUGUST 16, 2003 ~ Coming down the back straight and through turns three and four Donny Schatz made a last lap charge at passing Danny Lasoski for the win of the 30-lap A-Main of the 43rd Knoxville Nationals only to finish second by three car lengths. It is the third time in four years the North Dakota driver has had to settle for the runner-up position.

Starting from the pole, his second at the biggest winged sprint car event in the world, Schatz led the 24-car field the first seven laps before Lasoski took the point in a similar move to Schatz's last lap charge. Schatz never let Lasoski out of his immediate sights has the pair set a blistering pace for the competition.

Entering lapped traffic, Schatz put his bright yellow #15 ParkerStores Shaver J & J in his favorite place on the race track-right up against the cushion while Lasoski worked through the slower cars around the bottom. The race went green for 28 of the 30 laps allowing the field to spread out slightly and keep battles for position limited to two or three cars. Meanwhile, the two front runners continued to distance themselves from third place.

On lap 28, Daryn Pittman rolled to a stop on the front straight bringing out the single yellow of the event and setting the stage for a green flag, white flag, checkered flag finish. During the yellow flag laps, it was clear that there was a problem with the left rear of Lasoski's car because the left rear tire and axle were visibly vibrating.

As Lasoski brought the field through turn four for the restart, Schatz was right on his tail tank. As they accelerated when the green flag flew, his rear tires slipped in mud that has been thrown up on the track from the bottom of the track during the yellow flag causing the ParkerStores car to slide almost sideways as they headed for the flag stand. Schatz gathered it up but the momentary slip and slide had allowed Lasoski to pull away slightly through turns one and two heading down the back straight despite the obvious handling problems he was having with his car.

On the white flag lap, Schatz gave it everything he had putting together four perfect corners to pull within three car lengths of Lasoski at the checkered. Kenny Jacobs was the surprise third place finisher followed by Sammy Swindell and Greg Hodnett. When he pulled into victory lane, the left rear shock was broken and dangling unattached on Lasoski's car. "First, I want to congratulate Danny (Lasoski) and his team," said Schatz. "They did what they had to do to win tonight.

"Finishing second again is disappointing. Tyler (Swank, crew chief) and the crew worked hard to build a new car for this race and then all week at the track in the heat to give me a great car to drive. We qualified well on Wednesday night but our results Friday in the Scramble and the Kele World Challenge weren't what we wanted but we learned a great deal about how the car was going to react on a changing track. We really thought we had the right setup under the car, the motor was strong and fast but it just wasn't quite enough.

"The car wasn't quite as good on the bottom where it was slicker but we were good up top on the cushion. Danny was good on the bottom like he always is at Knoxville and it is always the shortest way around any track."

"We all have to shake if off," Schatz concluded. Now we head to Kansas and Colorado before the big swing out West. We need to put together as many wins as possible. There will be another Knoxville Nationals next year and we will be there to be a contender one more time."

The ParkerStores team heads for Jetmore Motorplex, Jetmore, KS for a one-night show on Monday then to Rocky Mountain Speedway, Commerce City, CO before the August 22-23 event at Grays Harbor Raceway Park in Elma, WA.

-jkd-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Sammy Swindell , Kenny Jacobs , Daryn Pittman