Tatnell Tames I-55 : Picks up Third Win of Season Pevely, MO--July 8, 2006 -- Once in a while a good luck charm is needed to turn the fortunes around for a driver or team. Brooke Tatnell had already won two races this season, but knew he easily...
Tatnell Tames I-55 : Picks up Third Win of Season
Pevely, MO--July 8, 2006 -- Once in a while a good luck charm is needed to turn the fortunes around for a driver or team. Brooke Tatnell had already won two races this season, but knew he easily could have had a half dozen or more victories if luck was on their side.
Always looking to get a step up on the competition, and to stand out in a crowd, the crew of the Race Outfitters/Castrol Eagle, led by Troy Renfro, brought out their "retro" car for the second time this season on Saturday night at I-55 Raceway, looking for a spark. The white car with the distinctive red stripes down the middle of the top and front-wings, turned many heads in the pit area, then showed on the track that it was not only sharp looking, but ultra fast.
Tatnell certainly showed he was the class of the field, leading 33 of the 40 laps in the A-Feature to make his third trip of the season to RacinSoles Victory Lane, in an event that pit the Mean 15 against the best from the All Star Circuit of Champions.
The fan favorite earned the pole position after winning the dash, and jumped out to the initial lead when the green flag flew. Tatnell was setting a blistering pace early, as he began to encounter lapped traffic on only the sixth lap of the race on the high-banked 1/3-mile. Joey Saldana in the Mopar-powered Dodge/Curb Records JEI, stayed right on Tatnell's bumper as the pair weaved their way in and out of traffic for the first ten circuits around the track co-owned by NASCAR star Ken Schrader.
Tatnell then pulled away again until he got into more lapped traffic, and that is when he had a torrid battle with current point leader Donny Schatz in the ParkerStores J & J , as well as Daryn Pittman in the Titan Garages/ Hop-n-Sack Convenience Stores Maxim. Pittman used a late surge to roll into the second spot.
Tatnell and Schatz swapped the lead countless times, but at the line, it was Tatnell leading the bulk of those laps, three separate times, while Schatz was credited with leading twice. The native of San Souci, NSW, Australia fought off repeated attempts by Pittman to take the top spot. While signing autographs for the long line of well wishes after his win, Tatnell simply smiled when describing his night.
"I'm pretty happy and proud of this team right now," said Tatnell.
Being a veteran, he knows that races are often won and lost not at the track, but in the days preparing for the event at the shop and on the road. With one of the hardest working crew in the pit area, Tatnell knows he will have a fast car most nights of the week
"The guys did an awesome job tonight," Tatnell said. "We made the decision to change the car after the dash, even though we were good in the dash. We win together as a team and we lose together as a team. We all made the decision."
One thing that Tatnell knew would come into play during the A-Feature was tires. He that his team put the right rubber on the car, and that allowed him to keep the hammer down all night long.
"I felt pretty comfortable," Tatnell said. "I always look around and see what everyone else puts on before we go out. I knew Pittman was close to us at the end and had the same tires as us. He usually runs a little harder tire than we do. Once we got around Donny the last time, I felt pretty comfortable. We freed the car up under yellow and it was really good."
Tatnell is always confident when he arrives at a track, whether it is a short track or a bigger faster and wider oval. He has shown that this season by winning on the tight 3/8-mile track at Huset's Speedway, as well as on the sprawling and always fast 5/8 mile at Orange County Fair Speedway, and backed that up on Saturday night.
"We knew we would be good tonight," said Tatnell. "It's good for the whole morale of the team. We are looking forward to the 'Month of Money' coming up and stepping up the pace. It's good to be running out front right now."
During his battle with Schatz, it appeared a couple times that the duo, made a little contact. Being in the drivers seat, Tatnell was in the best position to know that for sure, and he said there was not. Schatz finished fourth on the night.
"I enjoy racing with Donny," said Tatnell. "There's a mutual respect there. I think in all the years we have been racing, we have banged wheels maybe twice. I love racing with guys that you can race hard and not have to worry about getting tore up. He's probably disappointed right now, but it was a great race. I am glad the fans got to enjoy it."
Pittman ran solidly in the top-five for most of the race and came home second after getting close to Tatnell a couple of times as the laps wound down. The native of Owasso, Ok., was fast all night long, after qualifying in the third spot, and running fifth in the dash.
"All in all, it was a good run for us." Pittman said. "We needed it. We feel like we have been in as bad of a slump as we have been all year. A top-five is not a win, but it gains us some points and hopefully it gets us back on track over the next few weeks."
Like Tatnell, Pittman felt that his team is turning the corner and has some luck on their side now to go along with the countless hours of hard work that the team is putting in. He moved his car around the track all night long looking for a little more grip and speed, as he kept the leader in his sight.
"The first half of the race was great," said Pittman. "I though we had a chance to win about halfway through as I was closing. I just didn't catch rubber quick enough in turns three and four and Schatz got by both of us."
The runner-up finish was his 13th top-five finish of the year as he looks for his second A-Feature win of the season. Pittman swept the Eagle Nationals at Eagle Raceway last month. With one more race left on the Bullring Swing, then a trip back to Eldora, he believes the team is well prepared as the series hits the traditional month of big purse races.
"I'm looking forward to both races next week, especially Eldora," said Pittman. "We have been so bad there before, and I don't dread it anymore, I am excited for it. I'm really looking forward to the Kings Royal and all the big money races coming up, especially Lernerville. That is one of my favorite race tracks and we have not won a race there yet, so hopefully we can pick one up."
Greg Wilson aboard the All Star Plumbing and Heating Maxim was the highest finishing driver from the All Stars in the third spot. He started in the fourth spot on the night, and fell back to fifth early on, before patiently working his way up a couple of spots. He was nothing but smiles after the race.
"It was an awesome night for us," Wilson said. "It's our best ever finish with the World of Outlaws. We've been running strong all season with the All Stars and it's good to go into the 'Month of Money,' with a good finish."
Being a native of Benton Ridge, Ohio, Wilson is excited for the races that the World of Outlaws contests this week. He will definitely be on hand for the Bray Doty Classic along with the rest of the All Stars on Wednesday night, an event he has won in the past. He also is looking forward to the Kings Royal weekend at Eldora, as he continues to have a strong season.
"It's pretty exciting for us," said Wilson. "Lima is one of our home tracks. My owner is giving me great equipment and we have had some great weather. We are excited to go back to Ohio."
Schatz continued his streak of strong finishes, coming home fifth after leading a couple of times. He had the crowd on their feet midway through the race as he and Tatnell ran side-by-side and used traffic to stage a thrilling battle. He did all of this while battling an ill handling car for the second night in a row. He still has finished no worse than seventh since May 24.
"I think I had the right tires on," said Schatz, of Fargo, ND. "Something happened to the car and I don't know if it was tire-related. The tire did have a real weird shape when we got done, and it can happen. We used it pretty hard, and it had enough to finish the race. The last 10 laps, I could not turn. I don't know what is broken, but something definitely happened. We will have to find out what it was."
Craig Dollansky in the Karavan Trailers Maxim rounded out the top-five. He was fast from the instant his car hit the track, as he turned in the second quickest qualifying effort before a very large crowd on hand.
"A top-five is good, said Dollansky, of Elk River, Minn. "I went to the wrong place on the race track, in the beginning and tried to make something happen that just wasn't there. I tried to make some headway at the end. It was a race of survival at the end, and we'll take the fifth and get ready for the week ahead."
Dollansky lined up for the feature in the sixth spot, and worked his way into fifth on the second lap of the race. Like many of the other drivers, he moved around the track and searched high and low for that little bit of extra speed.
"I wanted to see it go green a bit longer, and get into more lapped traffic," said Dollansky. "That was working into our favor. We could have been a little bit better, but we'll take what we got."
On the season, Dollansky has 14 top-five finishes, which have him solidly in the third position in points. He also has two wins to go along with that, one of those coming at Eldora, the sight of the famed Kings Royal next weekend.
"It's always good to have diversity in the schedule," said Dollansky. "That's World of Outlaws racing. There are a lot of different race tracks that we get to go to throughout the country. We're definitely looking forward to going to Lima and then the Kings Royal weekend."
The rest of the top-ten was Joey Saldana in the Dodge/Mopar-powered Curb Records JEI in sixth. He ran among the leaders for the first half of the race, battling numerous times with Tatnell.
Terry McCarl in the Big Game Treestands Eagle was seventh after winning a heat. Chad Kemenah who won earlier this season at I-55 and continues to lead the chase for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Presented by Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt, was eighth in the Underground Utilities Inc. Eagle. In ninth, it was Brandon Wimmer in the Alan Barton Motorsports Maxim, with Jeremy Campbell in the Americas Best Value Inn Maxim rounding out the top-ten.
The World of Outlaws wrap up the Bullring Swing on Wednesday night with the 18th annual Brad Doty Classic, which will take place this year at Limaland Motorsports Park. The series will stay in the Buckeye state next week as they take part in the 23 annual Kings Royal at the always fast Eldora Speedway.
I-55 RACEWAY NOTEBOOK
* FAST QUALIFIER: Randy Hannagan paced the 38 cars in time trials with an AMB i.t.-timed lapped around the 1/3-mile high-banked oval at 10.681 seconds at 94.970 mph. For his qualifying effort, Hannagan earned five bonus points. The next four fastest qualifiers also earned bonus points, including Craig Dollansky (4), Daryn Pittman (3), Donny Schatz (2), and Brian Carlson (1). Stevie Smith holds the track record of 10.189 seconds established on March 30, 2002.
* QUALIFYING EVENT WINNERS: Heat race winners included Mean 15 drivers, Brooke Tatnell, Chad Kemenah, Terry McCarl, and Donny Schatz. ... Justin Henderson won the B-Main... Brooke Tatnell picked up the win in the dash.
* FEATURE WINNERS: Brooke Tatnell's win on Saturday night at I-55 Raceway was his third World of Outlaws A-feature victory of the season. There have been 14 different winners in 30 A-feature events to visit the RacinSoles Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws this season. The win list includes: Donny Schatz (March 9 at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 31 at Batesville Speedway, April 1 at I-55 Raceway, May 16 at Grandview Speedway, May 30 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, June 18 at Red River Valley Speedway, and June 30 at 81 Speedway), Joey Saldana (Feb. 10 at Volusia, June 4 at Terre Haute, June 23 at Knoxville Raceway, and July 1 at Dodge City Raceway Park), Jac Haudenschild (May 6 at U.S. 36 Raceway, May 20 at Sharon Speedway, June 14 at The Raceway @ Powercom Park, and July 7 at Lawrenceburg Speedway), Brooke Tatnell (May 7 at Huset's Speedway, May 29 at Orange County Fair Speedway, and July 8 at I-55 Raceway), Sammy Swindell (April 8 at Eldora Speedway and March 10 at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway), Craig Dollansky (April 15 at Tri-State Speedway and June 4 at Eldora Speedway) Fred Rahmer (May 27 at Williams Grove), Paul McMahan (March 4 at USA Race Park), Danny Lasoski (March 3 at Manzanita), Chad Kemenah (Feb. 9 at Volusia), Kevin Swindell (May 24 at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway) and Dean Jacobs (May 31 at Lernerville Speedway), Daryn Pittman (June 10 at Eagle Raceway), and Terry McCarl (July 3 at Huset's Speedway).
* PRELIMINARY FEATURE WINNERS: There have been four preliminary features run this season by the World of Outlaws. The winners list included: Donny Schatz who won the prelim night June 17 at Red River Valley, Fred Rahmer, who won the prelim night on May 26 at Williams Grove Speedway and Sammy Swindell, who won the prelim feature on April 7 at Eldora Speedway, and Daryn Pittman who won the prelim night at Eagle Raceway on June 9.
* 1/3-MILE WINNERS: I-55 Raceway is a high-banked 1/3-mile oval. The World of Outlaws Sprint Series have raced six times this season on a track that size, including preliminary features. Winners include Donny Schatz (I-55 Raceway, Grandview Speedway), Daryn Pittman (Twice at Eagle Raceway), Jac Haudenschild (The Raceway at Powercom Park), and Brooke Tatnell (I-55 Raceway).
* ON TELEVISION: The Outdoor Channel will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on July 12 the Boot Hill Showdown from Dodge City Raceway Park that ran on July 1. The Outdoor Channel is available nationwide through the DISH Network (Channel 153) and DIRECTV (Channel 606).