Knoxville Nationals: Thursday second prelim report

Schatz wins Classic Nationals preliminary. KNOXVILLE, IA (August 8) - Donny Schatz, Tyler Walker and Shane Stewart turned Danny Lasoski's return to the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series into one of the most amazing displays of racing in the ...

Schatz wins Classic Nationals preliminary.

KNOXVILLE, IA (August 8) - Donny Schatz, Tyler Walker and Shane Stewart turned Danny Lasoski's return to the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series into one of the most amazing displays of racing in the 42-year history of the Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals Thursday.

Lasoski, racing for the first time in almost two weeks after suffering various injuries at Williams Grove Speedway, dominated the spotlight early as he set quick time and raced into second place from outside the fifth row in the First Heat Race to the delight of the partisan crowd.

Schatz, who led the 25-lap Preliminary Feature twice, chased Stewart, Walker and Lasoski at times as the leaders exchanged first place as many as four times in a single lap. Schatz took control, however, and won the Second Preliminary Feature for the second straight year.

"I'm so glad we won this," Schatz said. "When Tyler and Danny went by me, I kind of woke up there and got myself in gear."

Schatz, whose #15 Parker Stores J&J was inside the second row when the green flag fell, chased Stewart, the pole sitter, for almost five laps before racing into the lead on the front straightaway. Walker, the World of Outlaws Gumout Series points leader, led three laps and defending Nationals champion Lasoski led one before Schatz regained first place.

"I got to the front fairly early, but the toughest thing to do is lead a race," Schatz said. "You can't see where they're running or if they're gaining ground on you. Danny's always good on the bottom and I knew he was going to make his car roll around there. I just made a mistake - I was sleeping in lapped traffic - and I killed on my speed on the back straightaway and let Tyler get by me. Danny went by me, too, but I just kept racing hard and got my focus back."

Walker and Lasoski exchanging the runner-up spot twice during the final lap allowed Schatz to increase his lead to 1.261 seconds by the time he took the checkered flag.

"We had a little bit of trouble qualifying (10th fastest), but we got through our heat race well," Walker said. "How about that feature; wasn't that fun to watch? That was just a fun race. I had a lot of fun. I haven't raced like that in a while. You never knew who was going to win it."

Schatz won the feature, but qualifying ninth quick and finishing fourth in the Fourth Heat Race dropped him into ninth place in the preliminary point standings. Despite finishing third, Lasoski scored the second-highest number of points in the preliminary programs.

"I have to thank my crew," Lasoski said. "Jimmy Carr and all my guys on this J.D. Byrider team do a great job. The car feels really good. We're getting around pretty well. There's only one big one and we're at it."

Stewart, who ranks second in the Gumout Series point standings, drove Junior Holbrook's #8H into the lead as the green flag fell in the feature. Greg Hodnett raced into second place from inside the third row, only to have Schatz pass him and take the lead.

The leaders were approaching lapped traffic when Second Heat Race winner Tony Norem spun and hit the retaining wall early in the sixth lap. Stewart lost second place when he spun in the fourth corner two laps later.

Walker passed Hodnett for second place as the race resumed, only to have Blake Feese flip and Jeff Mitrisin crash into the wall in turn four. Walker drove C&W Motorsports #35 Maxim into the high groove in the first corner as the green flag replaced the red to pass Hodnett and immediately set his sights on Schatz.

Walker took the lead deep in the third corner late in the 18th lap, then Lasoski started racing with the leaders. "The Dude" exchanged second place with Schatz three times during lap 19, then raced three-abreast with Walker and Lasoski the next time around.

Lasoski took the lead during the 21st lap, only to have Schatz execute the winning pass one lap later.

Jac Haudenschild finished in fourth place, ahead of 21st-starting Mark Kinser, Johnny Herrera, Ricky Logan, Hodnett, Kerry Madsen and 22nd-starting Stevie Smith.

Lasoski paced the qualifying session for the 12th time this season, circling the legendary ½-mile oval in 15.277 seconds, an average speed of 117.824 M.P.H.

-WoO-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Blake Feese , Tyler Walker , Jeff Mitrisin , Kerry Madsen , Jac Haudenschild , Johnny Herrera
Teams Williams