Donny Schatz Leads Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sweep of 48th Annual Knoxville Nationals Podium KNOXVILLE, IA -- Aug. 9, 2008 -- Donny Schatz led a podium sweep by Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series stars at the 48th...
Donny Schatz Leads Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sweep of 48th Annual Knoxville Nationals Podium
KNOXVILLE, IA -- Aug. 9, 2008 -- Donny Schatz led a podium sweep by Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series stars at the 48th Annual SuperClean Knoxville Nationals on Saturday night at Knoxville Raceway.
Schatz, the two-time defending series champion and current points leader, earned his third consecutive victory in the event after passing Jason Meyers with five laps to go and holding on for a $150,000 victory in his Armor All J&J car.
Meyers, who is second in Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws standings, led the first 25 laps in his GLR Investments KPC machine and drove to his first Knoxville runner-up finish, worth $75,000. Craig Dollansky, third in the series standings, rounded out the podium with his Snap-on Maxim as Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws drivers stole the spotlight, with seven series drivers finishing in the Top 10.
"There's no question the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws guys are the premier drivers in the sport," said Schatz, a native of Fargo, N.D., who received congratulations via cell phone from his car owner Tony Stewart in Victory Lane after joining Steve Kinser as the only drivers in the history of the prestigious race to win it at least three times in a row. "Jason set a great pace, but when you get to the last five laps of this race it's a whole different race because you do not want to make a mistake. He didn't make a mistake, but I just think we had a bit of an upper hand from winning it before. The Outlaws race so much and race so hard they definitely push everybody to the next level."
Schatz posted the quickest lap of the four-day event when he hit the track on Wednesday's qualifying night and put up a time of 14.897 seconds, which helped him earn a spot on the outside of Row 2 for the main event.
Meyers, who started alongside pole-sitter Danny Lasoski on the front row, quickly charged to the lead Saturday night and set a blistering pace on the high side of the historic half-mile oval. Meyers reeled off 23 consecutive laps with the lead before a caution flew for Tyler Walker, whose car slowed in Turn 3 before coming to a stop at the exit of Turn 4.
That moved several lapped cars to the end of the 24-car field and placed second-running Schatz right on Meyers' tail for the restart. Meyers drove back the top of the track in Turns 1 and 2 with Schatz looking at the bottom. Schatz then went to the top and raced past Meyers coming off of Turn 4 with five laps to go.
A caution with three laps remaining for Shane Stewart, whose car lost power steering, gave Meyers a chance for immediate payback on the restart. Schatz, though, powered back to the top of the track and wouldn't allow Meyers to close the gap.
"I know what Jason's feeling," said Schatz, a 12-time winner this season on the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series tour. "I've finished second four times at the Knoxville Nationals. I told him I think you've got to run second before you win it."
Meyers, a six-time winner this season with the Outlaws who posted the second quickest time of the event during Thursday's qualifying action, was aiming for the biggest victory of his career.
"I've said it all year, I think the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is tougher than it has ever been," said Meyers, of Clovis, Calif. "You've got five, six, seven, eight guys who are right there and another eight who could be there on any given night. It's very tough and we are pushing each other. We work every day to get a little bit better. Everybody is out there working hard to find a little bit of an edge. You see the Outlaws come here and have a dominating run, it's tough this year. We deal with it day in and day out. People say how tough the Knoxville Nationals are, well, with the World of Outlaws we do it every night."
Dollansky, who started on the inside of Row 3 for the main event, struggled with motor issues throughout the qualifying rounds, going to a third motor following Saturday's warm-up session. With a car he described as phenomenal for the main event, Dollansky battled past Lasoski and 20-time Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser to grab third, worth $37,500.
"Obviously there are some very strong teams on the World of Outlaws tour and that showed at the Knoxville Nationals, it carries over," said Dollansky, who has seven victories and led the series standings earlier this season.
Overall, it was a successful event for the drivers who compete on the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series circuit, which begins the Third Annual Gold Rush Tour on Tuesday at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D.
Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series drivers at the 48th Annual SuperClean Knoxville Nationals
* Donny Schatz (Finished 1st in the A-main): Set quick time at the 48th SuperClean Knoxville Nationals when he timed in at 14.897 seconds on Wednesday's qualifying night. ... Started his quest for a third consecutive Knoxville Nationals title from the outside of Row 2. ... Captured his third consecutive Knoxville Nationals title after leading the final five circuits.
* Jason Meyers (Finished 2nd in the A-main): Meyers was the top point earner after the first two qualifying nights with 495 points. ... Meyers set quick time on Thursday at 14.99 seconds around the half-mile oval and finished second in Thursday's A-main. ... After a seventh-place finish in Friday's A-main Scramble, Meyers started the main event from the outside of the front row alongside polesitter Danny Lasoski. ... Led the first 25 laps of Saturday's main event before finishing in the runner-up position.
* Craig Dollansky (Finished 3rd in the A-main): Earned a starting position on the inside of Row 3 for the main event. ... Finished third in Friday night's World Challenge event. ... Finished third in Saturday's A-main after starting fifth.
* Steve Kinser (Finished 5th in the A-main): Earned a podium finish in the feature on Wednesday's opening night of action, placing him solidly in the Friday A-main scramble. ... Pulled away to capture the Scramble after starting fourth, earning him a starting position on the inside of Row 2 for the A-main on Saturday night. ... His quest for a 13th Knoxville Nationals title ended with a fifth-place finish.
* Joey Saldana (Finished 6th in the A-main): Earned an A-main victory in Thursday's qualifying round after he was seventh quick in time trials. ... Saldana was third in points after the two qualifying nights. ... Started the main event in eighth place. ... Finished sixth in the A-main on Saturday.
* Jac Haudenschild (Finished 7th in the A-main): Raced to a Top Five finish in Wednesday's qualifying feature and started the A-main on Saturday night from the 11th position on the grid. ... Advanced four positions in the A-main on Saturday to finish seventh.
* Terry McCarl (Finished 8th in the A-main): On Thursday's qualifying night, McCarl was 13th quick, finished third in his heat and was challenging for the lead in the feature when a rear tire exploded in Turn 4. ... He started the main event on Saturday from the outside of Row 3 in the B-main. ... After a third-place finish in the B-main on Saturday, McCarl started the A-main 23rd and powered his way to 8th place, earning Hard Charger honors.
* Paul McMahan (Finished 13th in the A-main): McMahan was 10th in points after the two qualifying nights, earning him the pole for Friday's A-main Scramble. ... Following a podium finish in the Scramble, McMahan started the main event Saturday night from the outside of Row 3. ... Finished 13th in the main event in the locally owned Casey's General Stores machine.
* Daryn Pittman (Finished 15th in the A-main): With a special paint scheme celebrating his Kings Royal victory in July, Pittman won a Heat Race on Wednesday night and earned a Top Five finish in the A-main. ... Started Saturday's action from pole of the B-main. ... Captured the B-main victory. ... Raced his way from 21st to 15th in the main event.
* Jason Sides (Finished 17th in the A-main): Earned a sixth-place finish in Thursday's qualifying feature, accumulating enough points for the 12th starting position in the main event on Saturday night. ... Wrapped up a 17th-place finish on Saturday night.
* Chad Kemenah (Finished 18th in the A-main): With a specially painted Hard 8 Racing machine, on Wednesday's qualifying night Kemenah transferred from the B-main and charged to 12th in the A-main, giving him a front-row starting position in the B-main on Saturday. ... Finished second in the B-main to transfer to the main event, where was 18th.
* Tony Bruce Jr. (Finished 19th in the A-main): The 2006 Knoxville Nationals Rookie of the Race, Bruce was ninth quick in Time Trials on Wednesday night, finished third in his heat and 13th in the feature, locking him into the 15th starting position for Saturday's A-main. ... Drove a consistent feature to earn a Top 20 finish in his third Knoxville Nationals.
* Shane Stewart (Finished 20th in the A-main): Was sixth quick in Time Trials on Wednesday night, and finished seventh in the qualifying A-main. ... Started Saturday's main event from the inside of Row 7. ... Was looking for his second victory this season at Knoxville when power steering reportedly went out, relegating him to a 20th-place finish.
* Sam Hafertepe Jr. (Finished 9th in the B-main): The 2007 Knoxville Nationals Rookie of the Race, Hafertepe was sixth quick on Thursday night. ... He started 10th in the B-main on Saturday night and moved up to finish 9th.
* Kraig Kinser (Finished 10th in the B-main): The 2005 Knoxville Nationals champion, Kinser was third in his heat and finished 11th in the A-main during Thursday's qualifying night. ... Kinser started Saturday's program from the 13th position in the B-main and advanced three spots.
* Kerry Madsen (Finished 7th in the C-main): After suffering motor issues and being collected in a crash during Wednesday's qualifying night, Madsen thrilled the crowd with high and low passes in Friday's feature for non-qualifiers by starting 17th in the B-main and finishing second, then starting 22nd in the A-main and again finishing second to earn the 12th starting position in the C-main on Saturday's finale. ... After driving through the field in the B-main and A-main, the native of Sydney, Australia, started from the pole and dominated the World Challenge event, capturing the $10,000 checkered flag. "They should have let me start that one from the back, I figure I could have got it done," said Madsen, who now resides in Knoxville. "We had an unreal racecar. It was just a dream. That thing was a rocket ship. We had a bad night Wednesday night, but this is unbelievable. We've been trying to win this race for a long time and got it done." ... The magic from his non-qualifiers night wouldn't carry over as Madsen picks up the seventh-place finish in the C-main.
* Chad Hillier (Finished 14 in the D-main): On Wednesday's qualifying night, Hillier timed in 27th quick and finished 12th in the B-main. ... He started Saturday's program 17th in the D-main and moved up three positions.