Collisions Impede Tatnell at Pike County MAGNOLIA, MS (March 17) -- Brooke Tatnell will always feel a special kinship to Sammy Swindell. The Australian driver appreciates everything the three-time World of Outlaws champion did to help him...
Collisions Impede Tatnell at Pike County
MAGNOLIA, MS (March 17) -- Brooke Tatnell will always feel a special kinship to Sammy Swindell. The Australian driver appreciates everything the three-time World of Outlaws champion did to help him start his sprint car racing career in America.
Tatnell and Swindell got a little too close Saturday at Pike County Speedway, causing the #2 Volcano Joe's Coffee Schnee to spin -- not once, but twice. They started on the front row of the Third Heat Race, collided in the first corner within seconds after the green flag fell and Tatnell eventually finished in seventh place. A collision involving Tim Kaeding and Swindell sent Sammy spinning into Tatnell eight laps into the "A" Feature. The damage to the "Black Deuce" kept Woodward Racing from restarting the race and resulted in a 26th-place finish.
"It was really the weekend from hell," a dejected Tantell said. "We dropped a valve in qualifying on the second lap. I guess we were a little bit lucky qualifying well on our first lap but, as we crossed the (finish) line after our first lap, the motor went sour.
"We went in and changed motors and started the heat race on the front row with Sammy. I trust Sammy, I respect Sammy and, basically, I wouldn't be out here if it wasn't for the help he gave me. But, in the first corner, I went to dive underneath him and he was able to slow his car down more than I did. I tagged his left rear tire and it turned us around. Coming from the outside and trying to go underneath him, I just got in there and couldn't slow down enough. I just barely touched him, but it turned us around. That put us at the rear of the field and we couldn't make enough advances to transfer. But we got through the "B" and into the feature race.
"We were running ninth or tenth -- somewhere in that area -- (in the main event) and Sammy got turned around. As he was doing a 360, we had nowhere to go and we hit his right rear tire. It broke our roll cage, torsion arm and all sorts of stuff. That was really unfortunate because, although we were having a bad night up to that point, we were still going to get a decent finish."
Tatnell's 14.23-second qualifying lap was the ninth-fastest in the 31-car field, only .417 seconds off "A" Feature winner Joey Saldana's pace-setting lap. The three-time defending Australian Sprintcar champion's fourth-place finish in the "B" Feature qualified him for the sixth row outside starting position in the 35-lap main event.
Woodward Racing's first DNF of the season dropped the team into sixth place in the World of Outlaws point standings, 18 points behind Karavan Racing.
"Unfortunately, it was just the weekend from hell for us," Tatnell said. "As I said the other night, there's always a new day in sprint car racing. We just have to wait a bit longer for it this time. I've never been to either track we're going to run Friday and Saturday (Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, TN, and Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, GA). We just want to get through the weekend. We're in a world of hurt right now with equipment and motor problems, so we need to get caught up."
Volunteer Speedway is a high-banked, 4/10-mile oval that features 32-degree banking. The World of Outlaws will sanction the "Hardee's Southbound Showdown" when it visits Dixie Speedway's semi-banked, 3/8-mile oval for the second time. Mark Kinser won the only other World of Outlaws "A" Feature at Dixie Speedway -- on April 10, 1999.