Schatz earns pole position in Knoxville Nationals finale. KNOXVILLE, IA (August 15) - Donny Schatz, who has passed more cars than any driver during the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series' 25th Anniversary Season, earned the pole position in the...
Schatz earns pole position in Knoxville Nationals finale.
KNOXVILLE, IA (August 15) - Donny Schatz, who has passed more cars than any driver during the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series' 25th Anniversary Season, earned the pole position in the 43rd Annual Ford Dealers of Iowa Knoxville Nationals championship feature Friday.
Schatz, the opening-night Preliminary Feature winner, raced into fourth place from outside the fifth row in the O'Reilly Auto Parts "A" Scramble to claim his second Nationals pole position in three years. Greg Hodnett followed winner Shane Stewart across the finish line in the 12-lap race to gain the other front-row starting position.
"I think being on the pole this year will be more important than it's ever been," Schatz said. "If you look at all the fast cars from both Wednesday and Thursday, you can throw a blanket over at least 12 cars truly capable of winning.
"We didn't win the "A" Scramble or the Kele Challenge this year. That was disappointing for our team, but during both races the team gathered a tremendous amount of information about setups we can use tomorrow."
Lance Dewease won the "B" Scramble, Tim Kaeding the "C" Scramble, Johnny Herrera the Non-Qualifiers' "A" Feature and Travis Rilat claimed the $10,000 first prize in the Kele & Associates World Challenge Dash as the Nationals completed its third day.
Stewart raced wheel-to-wheel with Kerry Madsen through most of the opening lap of the "A" Scramble before surging into the lead in the fourth corner. Madsen, the fastest qualifier in Thursday's preliminary program, was involved in an incident five laps later that changed the complexion of the Nationals. After exchanging third place with defending and 12-time Nationals champion Steve Kinser three times, their back-straightaway collision sent "The King of the Outlaws" into the turn-three retaining wall. Kinser's 10th-place finish in the "A" Scramble put him outside the fifth row in Saturday's main event.
"I can't say enough for my crew and my car owner," said Stewart, whose flag-to-flag victory gave him the third row outside starting position in the championship feature. "The Wesmar-powered, Penske Shocks Maxim car was really good tonight, so we're happy."
Herrera, the 1995 Knoxville Raceway champion, drove Guy Forbrook's #5 MPD Hand Controls Maxim past 15 cars to win the "A" Feature. Randy Hannagan, who won the First Heat Race, led the first nine laps from the pole before losing first place to Nationals rookie Roger Crockett in lapped traffic midway through the race.
Herrera and Hannagan, each a former Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, took turns passing each other for second place after Aaron Berryhill flipped and collected Dean Jacobs early in the 12th lap. Herrera was gaining on Crockett when Jonathan Allard stopped in the fourth corner with a flat left rear tire three laps later.
Herrera, who crashed with Jeff Johnson early in the first lap of Wednesday's First Heat Race, exchanged the lead with Crockett twice within two laps after the green flag replaced the yellow, and opened a half-straightaway advantage during lap 18. Herrera was 4.2 seconds ahead of Crockett when he took the checkered flag. Crockett forfeited the runner-up spot, however, when his car violated the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series' weight rule after the race.
"We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time on our qualifying night, but I know we have car to do it," Herrera said. "We have the crew chief - Guy Forbrook - and the sponsors - MPD Hand Controls and Wirtgen America. The Goodyear tires were really good tonight, too.
"We had a little different setup - we're trying some new stuff - and it worked out for us."
Rilat, who won the Fourth Heat Race, passed seven cars to finish fifth in the "A" Feature. He raced into second place from inside the third row during the first lap of the Kele & Associates World Challenge Dash, and took the lead from Marty Perovich one lap later on his way to snapping Schatz' two-year winning streak in the international event.
"This Kele World Challenge is a real pleasure to race," Rilat said. "Winning this race tonight will give us confidence for tomorrow night. We're starting near the back of the "C" Feature, but I think we can move up a few spots."