Schatz, Saldana Scramble Into Front Row For 46th Annual Super Clean Knoxville Nationals Knoxville, IA -- Aug. 11, 2006 -- Donny Schatz and Joey Saldana are first and second in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series championship standings. On...
Schatz, Saldana Scramble Into Front Row For 46th Annual Super Clean Knoxville Nationals
Knoxville, IA -- Aug. 11, 2006 -- Donny Schatz and Joey Saldana are first and second in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series championship standings. On Saturday night, they will start side-by-side on the front row for a shot at the $140,000 top prize in the 46th Annual Super Clean Knoxville Nationals.
Schatz, who led the event points after the two opening nights of qualifying, started at the rear of his 10-car scramble and motored his ParkerStore J&J to a runner-up finish, good enough to wrap up the pole for the A-main on Saturday night.
"We just have to be smart," said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D., who is looking for his first Knoxville Nationals championship after finishing second four times since 2000. "We're starting in the best spot. The way the track is going to be, you have to be up there. It's tough to pass early."
Schatz, who also raced in the Factory Value Parts World Challenge won by Brooke Tatnell, used Friday night to experiment with his machine for the finale on Saturday.
"This whole night was a test session," Schatz said. "I told my guys that earlier. Being a part of the scramble, you've got to be on your game, but the World Challenge was a big test session. We changed our car a little bit trying to make it better. We might have made it better but I didn't make it look very good. It's a game. It's fun to play and we're glad to be coming out of here that way."
Saldana was third in points after the two nights of qualifying and pulled off a fifth-place run in the scramble that was good enough to capture the outside pole in the Mopar-powered Dodge/Bomshel JEI. Saldana is attempting to match his father's feat in 1970 when Joe Saldana won the Knoxville Nationals crown. And with a Mopar- powerplant in the car, Saldana stands to pocket a $10,000 bonus for his team and motor builder Speedway Engine Development.
World of Outlaws drivers Craig Dollansky and Daryn Pittman also are locked into the A-main on Saturday, with Dollansky starting on the inside of the third row in the Karavan Trailers/Team Race Chic Maxim and Pittman starting on the inside of the sixth row in the Titan Garages & Carports Maxim.
World of Outlaws drivers staring in the B-main on Saturday include Chad Kemenah, Terry McCarl and Randy Hannagan. Brooke Tatnell, Jac Haudenschild, Jason Martin, Justin Henderson, Jeremy Campbell and Dion Hindi will have to move up through the C-main to have a shot at winning while Becca Anderson will have to come out of the D-main and Brian Carlson out of the E-main.
ON TOP OF THE WORLD: In the Factory Value Parts World Challenge, Brooke Tatnell drove to a $10,000 victory in the Race Outfitters/ Castrol Eagle. The event pitted drivers that competed in one of five qualiying events Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Schatz, who turned around from competing in the A-main scramble to drive back onto the track for the World Challenge, worked his way through the field to finish third.
"The coolest part was that our car owner (Tim Hanson) was here," said Tatnell, a native of San Souci, NSW, Australia, who struggled on his qualifying night and will start Saturday in the C-main. "Redemption was seeing him excited. He jumped on my back in Victory Lane and just about broke it.
Tatnell, who owns the single-lap record at Knoxville, and his crew still don't know what affected their qualifying run on Thursday, but it was clear on Friday it was no longer an issue.
"That's why we've been as good as we've been. We haven't approached this different than any other race, except for the whitewalls," said Tatnell of the specially painted Hoosier the team unveiled for qualifying on Thursday. "The pressure was on getting a nicely presented car for the boss. Every time we had a chance to get on the racetrack, we went out and made minor adjustments, which is what we did Thursday night. We have a long haul from the C-main. The C- scramble didn't do us any justice, but we're here to race. I always said with the World Challenge I like it when the whole field is inverted. I like coming from the back. I think there's less pressure on you that way. I think we've redeemed ourselves. Does it make up for the weekend? No, but it does help the boss pay for the tire bill. It was an honor to win the World Challenge. We haven't given up yet. I've seen Doug Wolfgang come from the back. Just because I have a lot more hair and he had a lot more talent doesn't mean anything."
FINAL TUNEUP: In the A-feature event for non-qualifiers on Friday night, World of Outlaws driver Jason Martin was fifth in the NOS Energy Drink/Mafia Motorsports Maxim, followed by Justin Henderson's Jolt Energy Gum/Dan Dan the Sonic Man Schnee and Jeremy Campbell's Americas Best Value Inns Maxim. Dion Hindi's RealTruck.com/Sniper Tuning J&J wound up ninth in the event won by Calvin Landis.