KNOXVILLE, IA (August 10) -- Donny Schatz continued to dominate the 41st Annual Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals preliminary programs Friday, earning the pole in Saturday's championship feature and winning the Kele & Associates World Challenge...
KNOXVILLE, IA (August 10) -- Donny Schatz continued to dominate the 41st Annual Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals preliminary programs Friday, earning the pole in Saturday's championship feature and winning the Kele & Associates World Challenge Dash.
"The Minot Missile" scored 19 points in the Pennzoil A Scramble by passing five cars on his way to a fourth-place finish which pushed him past opening-night Preliminary Feature winner Danny Lasoski in the Nationals standings.
"We've been doing everything we can to get back in this position," said Schatz, who led 24 of the 30 laps and finished second in the 2000 Nationals main event. "We're not about to let it slip away now.
"Hopefully, we can come out here tomorrow night, start on the pole and concentrate for 30 laps and get into the winner's circle. That would mean everything to me."
Schatz continued to impress the capacity crowd by racing to victory from outside the seventh row in the Kele & Associates World Challenge Dash.
"I want to thank Roger Johnson (of Kele & Associates) for putting on this race," Schatz said. "To tie Australian and American racing together is something nobody has ever tried before. He's done a great job with this and I've been really fortunate to win the Grand Annual Sprint Car Classic and this in the same year. It means a lot to me."
Schatz was running fifth in the Pennzoil A Scramble when leader Craig Dollansky coasted into the infield with a blown engine with 1¼ laps remaining. Joey Saldana, who chased the defending World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion for half the race, beat Paul McMahan under the checkered flag and earned the third row inside starting position in Saturday's main event.
"Craig was definitely going to win tonight," Saldana said. "He was trying out a new motor and it didn't make it. We've been struggling, but the last couple of weeks we've been running better. Hopefully, we can keep it up."
Mark Kinser, the defending and three-time Nationals champion, finished third to claim the second-row inside starting position in the championship feature. Terry McCarl, who has won two Knoxville Raceway track titles, earned the other second-row starting position by finishing seventh in the Pennzoil A Scramble.
While Australian Peter Murphy raced ahead of the field in the Kele & Associates World Challenge, Schatz raced past seven cars in the first lap. "The Minot Missile" was in second place by the end of the second lap.
Schatz passed Tommy Tarlton for the lead high in the second corner two laps later and opened a half-straightaway advantage within a lap.
Danny Smith, driving the #2 Luxaire J&J while Andy Hillenburg recovers from a concussion suffered in the "Night Before The Big One" race at Eldora Speedway last Saturday, was a straightaway behind when Schatz took the checkered flag. Smith also won the Featherlite C Scramble, narrowly beating 1995 Knoxville Raceway champion Johnny Herrera under the checkered flag.
"We were all over the place," Smith said after finishing third in Wednesday's "B" Feature. "The biggest problem is that Andy's steering gear didn't really suit my style. We went out to my trailer and put my steering gear in it and we put a new motor in it today. Now things are going pretty well."
Danny Wood's victory in the Channellock B Scramble gave him the third-row outside starting position in Saturday's "B" Feature.
"I had a nice race car," Wood said. "I could put it around there anywhere I wanted. Hopefully, we can do it tomorrow -- come out of the "B" and put her in the "A."
Manny Rockhold took the lead following a first-lap red period and led all 20 laps in the Non-Qualifiers' "A" Feature. It was the third victory of the Knoxville Raceway regular's career at the legendary half-mile oval.
"We haven't been the sharpest tack in the drawer, but we've been honing on it a little bit," Rockhold said. "We're getting better."