Volusia pre-race notes, day one

A Solid Start: Tatnell Finishes Ninth on Opening Night at Volusia Barberville, FL--Feb. 9, 2007 -- Brooke Tatnell has traveled more in the last week than many people do in their entire lives. He began the week in his native Australia, and...

A Solid Start: Tatnell Finishes Ninth on Opening Night at Volusia

Barberville, FL--Feb. 9, 2007 -- Brooke Tatnell has traveled more in the last week than many people do in their entire lives. He began the week in his native Australia, and after a 14-plus hour flight and three nights of racing, will wrap it up at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida in the 36th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop.

Once the final checkered flag flies on Sunday night, the native of San Souci, NSW will prepare for another long flight, as he will return Down Under, to compete in three events there next weekend, before returning to race at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California, February 23-24 when the World of Outlaws return to action.

Tatnell opened the World of Outlaws season up on Friday night at Volusia with a very solid ninth-place effort. Even more impressive was the fact that his Woodward Racing team had just over a month and a half to prepare for what is set to be one of the most competitive seasons in series history.

"We're happy," said Tatnell on Friday night. "I'm never happy with ninth, but we had a good run with Steve (Kinser). We made some inroads on things. The car felt good, and it should feel good. It's a Schnee from last year."

Tatnell knew the long hours his team had been putting in the last few weeks at the shop led by Crew Chief Troy Renfro, and he wanted to reward them for their hard work with a solid run. With nearly 60 cars in action on Friday night at the half-mile, the crew knew they would have to give the veteran driver a car that as fast right out of the box.

"I'm very proud of this team," beamed Tatnell. "To get to Florida and to be as strong as we are now and knowing that we have a lot more left."

In addition to all the traveling he did this past week and will do again next week, Tatnell and his wife were also very concerned for a couple family members that have recently been ill. For the always affable driver, being at the race track often times serves as a great relaxation tool.

"My racing is my 'Superman' cape, where I can hide all of my problems, because I know that you have to be focused when you put that race suit on," he shared. "It has been a stressful week getting back with the flights and airports and getting home, and jetlag. We haven't even had time for jetlag. It's been stressful, but as I always say, there's always someone worse off. Right now, I get to hop into this race car and have fun. The whole racing game is 90 percent mental attitude. It's just how you are going to deal with what each day delivers you."

Having spent numerous years in the sport and being a five-time champion in Australia, Tatnell knows how often a driver's luck can change in racing. While he enjoys winning and running at the front of the field, he also makes sure not to let the tough nights bother him too much.

"I've never been one to hold a grudge about a bad night," he admitted. "I am really not that type of a person. Tomorrow is always going to be a new day. When we won in Australia it was twice as cool to have my dad there and my wife there. Now I have another special thing with a baby girl (Emma). She's probably taught me patience. In a short time I have had to learn patience quick."

On Friday night, he started 14th and gained two spots on the initial lap. Without the aid of a single caution on a track that was blazing fast, he solidly worked his way to ninth. With two more night of racing in the Florida DIRTcar Nationals, Tatnell looks to continue building on this momentum.

-credit: woo

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Brooke Tatnell