Tatnell Heads 'Down Under' to Visit Sick Father MURRIETA, CA (May 1) -- When the World of Outlaws races at Tri-City Speedway and Riverside International Speedway this weekend, Brooke Tatnell won't be driving Woodward Racing's ...
Tatnell Heads 'Down Under' to Visit Sick Father
MURRIETA, CA (May 1) -- When the World of Outlaws races at Tri-City Speedway and Riverside International Speedway this weekend, Brooke Tatnell won't be driving Woodward Racing's #2 Volcano Joe's Coffee Schnee. The three-time defending Australian Sprintcar champion will be "Down Under" visiting his father, legendary sprint car racer George Tatnell, who is suffering from pancreatic cancer.
"We're not sure how long we'll be gone," Tatnell said Sunday. "I just know it's time to go. Family is a priority in life. I feel very, very fortunate to have driven for Rush last year and now Larry (Woodward). Both team owners understand my dad is my superman and that it's not just a father-son relationship. He's my best friend, my mentor, my hero, and everything. Larry is 100% behind me going. He's been after me to get on a plane and go see my dad. It's tough to go right now when we have a new motor and our package is running a lot better. We've gone through some tough times and now we're starting to get to where we need to be. For a while, we didn't have the right equipment at our disposal. Now we get it, and there's going to be somebody else behind the steering wheel. I know it's the right thing for me to do right now. My dad's still fighting, and he's on a very fervent pace. I've been calling him every night after we race. We think about using all our provisionals, but my battles are nothing like his are right now."
Woodward is as sympathetic as a car owner can possibly be.
"Brooke was summoned home; it's not like he's taking a holiday," Woodward said Tuesday. "We knew Brooke's dad's sickness has been weighing heavily on him the last few weeks. We knew this was coming; we just didn't know when. It's really sad that Brooke had to go, but we knew this was coming. His mother-in-law was sick and she passed away earlier this year. Racing is one thing, but family is another. Family is number one with us. God bless George Tatnell; he's a legend on and off the racetrack. We know God's in control, so we're praying for him day and night and would appreciate it if everybody else would pray for him, too."
Tim Kaeding, who knows all about racing with family matters on his mind, will drive the #2 in Tatnell's absence. Kaeding drove Steve Kinser's #11K Slick 50 Maxim to a flag-to-flag victory in the World of Outlaws' 40-lap "A" Feature at Thunderbowl Raceway February 24th after his grandmother passed away earlier that week.
"Tim will be our super-sub while Brooke's gone," Woodward said. "This is a temporary, super-sub deal. I talked to Tim at Knoxville and couldn't believe it when I found out he'd be available. We're honored to have him drive our car. His input is going to be very valuable to us. We've been friends with the Kaeding family for years."
Kaeding ranks 16th in the World of Outlaws point standings with six top-10s, including four in the top five, in 12 "A" Features. The third-generation driver finished third in the National Sprint Tour point standings while leading the series with 15 main event victories last year.
-credit: woodward racing