Tatnell Gears up for Eagle Nationals After finishing second at a track on several occasions, including losing a heartbreaking race that they dominated, most drivers would feel that a particular track owed them something, but not Brooke Tatnell....
Tatnell Gears up for Eagle Nationals
After finishing second at a track on several occasions, including losing a heartbreaking race that they dominated, most drivers would feel that a particular track owed them something, but not Brooke Tatnell. He has endured every type of emotion at Eagle Raceway in Nebraska and feels that when the time is right he will win at race at the high-banked 1/3-mile.
The always optimistic driver has consistently run at the front of the field at Eagle Raceway, which is the next stop for the World of Outlaws, as he seeks his first win at the track. Last season in the Eagle Nationals, he finished fifth on the opening night, and backed that up with a second-place effort in the finale. He followed that up with another runner-up finish in the 1/3-mile Short Track Nationals in the fall. In that late season event, he led the first 38 laps before Donny Schatz slipped around him to take the win.
The native of San Souci, NSW, Australia will have a chance to earn that first win at Eagle Raceway on Saturday, June 9 as the World of Outlaws take to the always racy track for the 25th Annual Eagle Nationals.
"We've always been pretty good at Eagle," said Tatnell, driver of the Volcano Joe's Coffee Schnee. "It's been a place where even when things aren't great we bounce back over there."
Tatnell compares Eagle Raceway to many of the tight racy tracks that he grew up on in Australia. While he gets the chance to race on everything from ¼-mile bullrings to sprawling 5/8-mile tracks with the World of Outlaws, he still greatly enjoys getting his elbows up on tight high-banked tracks, where the driver and car set-up plays a key role in determining the outcome of a race. The consistency he has shown at Eagle over the years has him confident as the series will make their first of two visits this season to the track, this weekend.
"Right now we have not had luck going our way," he explained. "We have had a lot of results that could have been good, but had bad luck. I'm looking forward to getting on the track at a place where do don't have to question what we are doing."
Tatnell recently returned from his native land, where he spent time with his family. He was with them during the passing of his father George, a racing legend in Australia, who had a valiant battle with cancer. He missed eight races and returned to action in the Eckerd Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway, where he was running in the Top-Five and finished sixth, battling a tire that was going down late in the event.
"The rhythm never departed," shared Tatnell. "When you race as much as what we do you never really lose it. There was a time when I drove about eight different cars in one season. When you do this frequently, it doesn't take much to keep a rhythm going."
While he was back home, World of Outlaws veteran Tim Kaeding filled in for the Woodward Racing team. In that time, the team earned four Top-10 finishes, including a runner-up performance at the Missouri High-Banked Nationals at U.S. 36 Raceway and a strong third-place effort at New Egypt Speedway in New Jersey.
"Tim (Kaeding) did a good job subbing in the car," Tatnell said. "They had some good results and they had some bad results. He knew he would only be in the car a short time, and I thank him for what he did."
Tatnell is very pleased with the continual cohesion that his team has. He and longtime crew chief Troy Renfro are like brothers and communicate very well about what needs to be done on and off the track. This chemistry is something that some team search an entire season for and often never find, but the Woodward Racing team has had it since the team was put quickly together late in the off-season in less than a month, leading up to the season opening events in Florida.
"The biggest thing is that the whole race team is together," he explained. "Troy (Renfro) and I have been together for a long time we know what each other likes and what we need to do. A little of luck would show our results a lot better than what they show on paper."
When the time came for Tatnell to return home, he didn't have to think twice. He also returned home late last season, when his father began his battle with cancer. He is grateful for the continued support from car owner Larry Woodward, Renfro, and the entire team, as well as many of his fellow drivers that are close to him.
"The reality is that you only have one dad," said Tatnell. "When it was time to go home, I was going to go home. That was part of the agreement I had with Larry (Woodward) at the beginning of the year. Larry was a thousand percent behind me and told me that it was time for me to go home and be with my dad. He said, if you don't, you will regret it. It made it a lot easier knowing I had the team's full support."
Tatnell heads to Eagle Raceway with nine Top-10 finishes on the season. He finished a season-best third at Manzanita Speedway in Arizona in March and began the season with a string of eight straight finishes of 12th or better, with 10 of those being in the Top-10. Despite missing some races, he feels like his team is on the cusp of reaching Victory Lane.
"No driver out here is better than any other, and no crew is better than any other," he stated." What makes something compatible to wins is the team. I am a firm believer that it is about the team. Even though our results have not been great, the team knows what is happening. The team is everything."
Tatnell is a firm believer that the team that work hardest is the one that will run consistent, though he does agree that there is some luck involved when you race nearly 90 times a season with the World of Outlaws. Heading into action at the Eagle Nationals, the five-time World Series Sprintcar Champion has seven career A-Feature victories with the World of Outlaws.
"When you are running well you say that luck is a very small factor, and it's all the effort you put in before you get to the track," smiled Tatnell. "When you are running bad, you say that luck is a big part. There are so many variations as to what can happen out here, with the marble draws (for qualifying order), blown tires, and all different things. There is a luck factor to it. I don't know if you can create luck. You have to go out and do the best preparation you can in the workshop striving for perfection, and that is what creating luck is all about."
Adult advanced tickets for the Eagle Nationals on Saturday, June 9 are $30, with tickets the day of the race $35. Tickets for young adults (6-13) are $10, with children (5-under) admitted free of charge with the purchase of an adult ticket, with a 1 child per ticket limit. Additional Children will be at $10 per Child). Pit pass combos will be available for advance purchase only for $35. For ticket information call: 402-238-2595 or visit www.eagleraceway.com.