Tatnell Gains World of Outlaws Sprint Series Points for Four Races Colorado Springs, CO -- April 5, 2005 -- Australian Brooke Tatnell endured countless hours of disappointment, aggravation and finally elation at the hands of the Immigration and...
Tatnell Gains World of Outlaws Sprint Series Points for Four Races
Colorado Springs, CO -- April 5, 2005 -- Australian Brooke Tatnell endured countless hours of disappointment, aggravation and finally elation at the hands of the Immigration and Naturalization Service so he could have the opportunity to drive the Rush Racing machine on the 2005 World of Outlaws Sprint Series circuit.
Now, he has some points to show for it. Series officials awarded Tatnell 50 points for each of the four races he missed after he was denied entry into the United States in February. Officials cited a clause in the rules that basically states drivers could receive points if they attempt to race. By going through the hardships imposed on him by the INS, Tatnell was most definitely attempting to compete.
He had every intention of racing the No. 8 Segway/Steel Dreams Eagle beginning in February at Volusia Speedway Park, but upon arriving in the U.S. he was turned back by immigration officials. He was left with no option but to return to his hometown of San Souci, New South Wales.
"There's been some visa issue changes that were required to the visa that I had and is still valid until next year," said Tatnell, who became the first Australian to win an A-main with the Outlaws when he accomplished the feat Aug. 18, 2003, at Jetmore Motorplex in Kansas. "So it's just been a snarl. They wanted me to have a different visa and they got control of the dice. They sent us back home and I'm very fortunate that my car owners have been totally behind me. They're the ones who had solicitors on the phone fighting to get me back here in time."
Finally, the call came on a Friday afternoon in Australia. He raced to the embassy with his passport, had it approved and headed directly to the airport. He had kept his bags packed for three weeks for just this reason.
Tatnell boarded a plane at 3 p.m. in Australia, landed in Los Angeles 14 hours later -- still on the same day thanks to the time change -- rushed to catch a flight to Phoenix, arrived at 4:15 p.m. at Manzanita Speedway, qualified ninth quick and finished fifth in the preliminary A-main feature. Not bad for a day's work.
"There was a little anticipation going through customs to get through but I got through," said Tatnell, who had Randy Hannagan and Peter Murphy fill in for him at races in Barberville, Fla., Tulare, Calif., and Bakersfield, Calif. "Then it was a matter of hauling butt to get to another airline to go through security again to get on a plane to head to Phoenix. I would have liked to have finished higher, but it's a credit to our team. These guys had a racecar I could just jump in. I was very fortunate to have Randy and Peter Murphy sub for us. Murph was on hand in case I missed the plane."
It was a remarkable feat just to reach the racetrack on time, but to run so well made it clear Tatnell and his team will make the series even more competitive in 2005.
"The biggest thing with motor racing is that you got to be able to shut everything else out once you put on that racesuit," said Tatnell, who kept sharp by winning the Australian Sprintcar championship, the Aussie version of the Knoxville Nationals, for the first time in his career. "I've been very lucky to be that focused that I can shut everything out and just focus on getting in that car. But I must concede that when we got rained out the second night I was probably a little more relieved because the journey had started to kick in. At 5 in the afternoon I was feeling a little second-best."
At this point, Tatnell is just relieved to have the ordeal behind him so he can focus on the remainder of the 2005 season, which continues this Friday and Saturday at historic Eldora Speedway.
"It's not something that we wanted to do, but we want to be on level footing," he said. "We're appreciative of it to have it at least acknowledged that we deserve that right as a team. We came into this year with expectations of being in the top five at the end of the year and missing four shows kills us. This at least gets us back on level footing. I spoke to a lot of drivers about it and most of them that will be close to us in points agreed. It wasn't like we were sitting in Australia not attempting to get here. If I never left the country I don't think we would have any argument. All we were asking was for level footing, the same as everyone else. I'm glad just to get it over and done with now and get it sorted out before the year gets too far into the points battle."
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series is brought to the fans across the country by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Stacker 2®, and The Outdoor Channel. Promotional Partners include AMB i.t., RACEceiver, HUMMERSGONEWILD.COM, Zippo Lighters, The University of Northwestern Ohio, Timberwolf, and Race Punk apparel. Slick 50 is an Associate Program Sponsor and Contingency sponsors include DART Machinery, MSD Ignitions, and Wrisco Industries.