Beating the Heat: Brooke Tatnell Looks to Stay Unbeaten at Fulton Fulton, NY--July 21, 2006 - For Brooke Tatnell, it is always summer. The Mean 15 driver competes on the World of Outlaws circuit during the summer in America, calling Minnesota ...
Beating the Heat: Brooke Tatnell Looks to Stay Unbeaten at Fulton
Fulton, NY--July 21, 2006 - For Brooke Tatnell, it is always summer. The Mean 15 driver competes on the World of Outlaws circuit during the summer in America, calling Minnesota home, when he is able to go home. Then during the winter here in the United States, he returns to his native Australia, where it is summer, and hops back into a sprint car to battle on the tracks he grew up racing on.
As the weather outside continues to heats up, many drivers become testy and their tempers become shorter. It is the opposite for Tatnell, who is always calm, cool, and collected, aboard his Race Outfitters/Castrol Eagle. He is preparing to head back to Fulton Speedway in New York, where he became the first World of Outlaws drivers to pick up an A-Feature win last year at the 3/8-mile high-banked track.
"Summers are not that much different," said Tatnell, when comparing weather patterns in the United States to those in Australia. "It is probably a little more humid here. The hot weather really doesn't affect the drivers too much. They are so fit. Being race fit makes a big difference."
There are a few things that Tatnell misses from not being in his native land. One of those is seeing water on a daily basis, though he lives in the Land of 10,000 Lakes when not on the road with the World of Outlaws.
"Back home, every second backyard has a pool in it," said Tatnell, who hails from San Souci, NSW, Australia. "That's the nice thing about living in Minnesota. When I do get to go home, we live on a lake, so I can see water again."
Though he really does not get much of an off-season to relax, Tatnell would not have it any other way. The multi-time champion in Australia would rather be racing than doing anything else. That is where he finds his true relaxation.
"I am one of the fortunate ones, because I race all the time," said Tatnell. "I don't see much of winter anywhere, because I am traveling back and forth."
Tatnell and his team are in the midst of a very busy stretch that will see them compete in 11 races in about a two and a half week period. They will stop at seven tracks, stretching all the way from New York back to Minnesota. He knows that this is a grueling stretch on his crew who puts in countless hours in the beating sun each day at the track, as well as many more after the sun goes down working into the wee hours of the morning, to give him the fastest and safest car possible to drive.
"The heat is definitely tough on the guy crew, and a lot of that is due to their diets on the road," Tatnell said. "You're at a car wash at one in the morning and the crew is hungry and wants to eat. Those guys work in the heat all day. We are fortunate to have air conditioning in the back of our trailer. Our boss looks after us. I try to remind the guys to stay hydrated."
Not only does the hot weather test man, but it also tests machine. Tatnell believes he has a leg up on the competition in both of those areas. His cars are mechanically sound, and he is physically fit as well as always mentally prepared for the long days and nights at the track.
"On the hot nights certain engines are affected by how they run, and how much horsepower they make, due to the humidity," said Tatnell. "I don't mind the heat in the aspect that sometimes the guys that are not physically fit, their minds may start to wander. You have to stay totally focused. The biggest issue with the heat is how well your motor runs in the bad air."
The always well spoken driver and his team are excited to head to Fulton Speedway on July 25. Tatnell won the first World of Outlaws A-Feature at the track last season and wants to keep his name as the only one in the record books and extend his unbeaten streak.
"It was good last year, and now we have to make sure we can duplicate it," said Tatnell. "You're only as good as your last race. We're definitely looking forward to going back there. Last year it was a racy track, and we came from 12th to win. It was something where we set up our feature race win in the dash. We tried some different things in the dash and ran last, but figured out some things for the feature race."
Tatnell expects a large and enthusiastic crowd at the track that is use to seeing a different form of open wheel racing. The race will cap the second of two nights of racing in the Empire state which begins on Sunday night at Lebanon Valley Speedway. The Mean 15 also raced twice in New York earlier this season over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
"Last year they had an awesome crowed there," said Tatnell. "It was a vocal crowd and we enjoy racing when the crowd is vocal. You want to go to a race track where you can see the race fans enjoying it."
Tatnell enters the race fifth in series points, with three wins on the season. He has won on the bullrings at I-55 (Mo.) Raceway , as well as Huset's (S.D.) Speedway. He also won on the sprawling 5/8-mile oval at Orange County Fair Speedway in New York. The team endured a rash of bad luck earlier in the season, but has shown they are fast and confident at every track they unload at.
"The team is all focused on one goal, and that is winning races," said Tatnell. "If we win enough races, we'll make up enough deficit in points. That's what we have to do to stay on the road, and keep the sponsors and car owner happy. We'll keep plugging away at this."