Shaffer Looks for Another Strong Run at Knoxville Tim Shaffer didn't flinch a single time or miss a beat in his return to Knoxville Raceway on April 28 for the first time since a horrific accident last June in which he suffered a neck injury...
Shaffer Looks for Another Strong Run at Knoxville
Tim Shaffer didn't flinch a single time or miss a beat in his return to Knoxville Raceway on April 28 for the first time since a horrific accident last June in which he suffered a neck injury that ended his season and led to countless hours of rehabilitation.
In the World of Outlaws first visit of the season to the famed half-mile, he won the third heat to earn a spot in the Crane Cams Dash, where he finished fourth. In the 25-lap A-Feature he ran at the front of the field all night and wound up a very solid sixth.
Shaffer will look to build on that finish on Saturday, June 16 when the World of Outlaws return to Knoxville Raceway for the second time this season for the Mediacom Sprint Shootout, which will be the first event of the "SuperClean Summer of Money" for the World of Outlaws to be broadcast on ESPN2. The eight race mini-series will debut on Sunday, June 17 at 11 a.m. Eastern, 10 a.m. Central on ESPN2.
"We're definitely excited to head back to Knoxville," said Shaffer, driver of the Casey's General Store Maxim. "After being involved in a bad wreck there and coming back to run sixth there was a very good night for us. You always want to do good at that place, because that is where the big paydays are. Hopefully we'll find a few things and move up a few more spots over there."
When he returned to Knoxville in April, the last thing on Shaffer's mind was the accident last season or the injuries he sustained. He was focused on running up front and battling for a win at the hallowed track, and with a stellar field of 56 cars on hand, he consistently had one of the fastest cars all night long.
"We raced enough before we got to Knoxville this year that it wasn't any different," he noted. "I have been in that situation before, about 10 years ago at a track back home. I've been down that road and it's a deal where if you are going to race, you are going to race. You can't let that type of stuff bother you, or you won't be competitive. I was fortunate that it didn't bother me."
With his Parson Motorsports team owned by veteran sprint car owner Lonny Parsons, being based in Iowa, heading to Knoxville is always special for the native of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. With all the history and aura surrounding the track, each time he races at Knoxville, Shaffer knows he is helping add to that history.
"We want to do well at Knoxville for a number of reasons and the history of the place is certainly one of them," shared Shaffer. "Also, our sponsors are from that area so we want to do good for them. A win there would definitely be big, especially for our sponsors. We'll give it our best."
This will be Shaffer and his fellow driver's final tune-up at the track for the 47th Annual SuperClean Knoxville Nationals in August. After missing the famed event last season, Shaffer is counting the days until this year's race, which as always will draw the best sprint car drivers from around the country to the half-mile.
"It helps to have two races before the Nationals, but when you go back for the big event, you will have 100 cars on the track," he explained. "The track will be different, but at least we get some time on it, and try to get things as good as we can."
While he has raced at more tracks than he can remember in World of Outlaws competition, Shaffer vividly recalls the first time he visited Knoxville just like it was yesterday.
"Actually, it was in 1995, and I drove the black (No.) 55 car," recalled the 1999 World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. "We were good and bad. It's one of those places where you have to have all your ducks in a row and everyone has to do their job. Everything has to be perfect. Everyone is there with their best stuff. I have a great team, and I think we'll be just fine."
Shaffer currently is just outside the Top-10 in the World of Outlaws championship standings, on the strength of 13 Top-10 finishes, with eight of those being in the Top-Five. He has finished in the runner-up position three times this season, as he closes in on his first win of the campaign. He currently has 11 career A-Feature wins with the series.
"We got going where we were really doing good and then we started struggling where we were finishing in the teens," he said. "This deal is like that. You can be down down, and then boom like that you are up top. It's funny how it will roll. Sometimes things just fall together, and other times you can work hard and thing go slow. You just keep plugging at it and things can change."
With nearly 90 races on the schedule this season, Shaffer is on the road for most of the year, but he was able to return home during the first East Coast swing of the season in May to spend some time with family and friends. He also got to compete on his home track of Lernerville Speedway, where he was the 1993 track champion. He finished fourth in that event.
"It doesn't hurt getting to go home, that's for sure," smiled Shaffer. "I got to hang out with my wife and son and friends. I got to do some normal stuff for a couple of days and that definitely helps."