Tatnell Races into Top 10 Again, at USA TUCSON, AZ (March 2) -- Brooke Tatnell continues to prove he's one of the World of Outlaws' most consistent racers. The hard-charging Australian drove Woodward Racing's ...
Tatnell Races into Top 10 Again, at USA
TUCSON, AZ (March 2) -- Brooke Tatnell continues to prove he's one of the World of Outlaws' most consistent racers. The hard-charging Australian drove Woodward Racing's #2 Volcano Joe's Coffee Schnee past five cars to finish in 10th place Friday at USA Race Park.
The defending and three-time Australian Sprintcar champion wasn't content with his fifth top-10 finish in six races, however.
"It was a disappointing night, to be honest," said Tatnell, who climbed into fifth place in the point standings. "We qualified decent, but the motor stumbled on takeoff at the beginning of the heat race. If you hesitate one little bit, you're going to lose spots, and that's basically what happened."
Tatnell was the 10th-fastest qualifier in the 37-car field that featured 32 drivers breaking the single-lap record Terry McCarl set last March at the semi-banked, 3/8-mile oval. Brooke's 12.821-second lap was only .197 seconds off Craig Dollansky's record-setting pace.
Starting outside the front row in the Second Heat Race, Tatnell was poised to finish in the top two and qualify for a position in the Dash Race. Unfortunately, the engine hesitated when the green flag fell, allowing Tim Kaeding to race past. So, instead of enjoying a starting position in the first five rows, Tatnell started the 3o-lap "A" Feature inside the eighth row.
"We qualified 10th and started 15th, but it could have been better if we had run the dash," Tatnell said. "There were guys in worse positions -- (Terry) McCarl qualified fourth and started 12th. There's a little luck involved, but you also have to make your own luck. The guys who started on the front row made good on their positions."
Steve Kinser, who started outside the front row, passed pole-sitter Jason Sides during the eighth lap on his way to the 534th of his World of Outlaws career.
Tatnell drove the #2 Volcano Joe's Schnee past McCarl during the opening lap, and was up to 10th place within four laps. He challenged fellow Australian Kerry Madsen and Danny Lasoski for ninth place for most of the race before McCarl came back with a last-lap pass to claim the position. Dollansky collided with Danny Horner and flipped on the front straightaway within seconds after the green flag fell in the "A" Feature. His 25th-place finish allowed Woodward Racing to move into fifth place in the point standings.
"It was our first night on this motor, and it stumbled," Tatnell said. "We had to change a valve a little bit, but we got that organized. We had a pretty good run in the feature race, but we lost one of the plugs out of the water jackets and it's puking water out. We had a fresh motor, but it's not so fresh now. It doesn't help the scenario, but we'll have to go on down the road.
"The block got hot, which got the injectors hot and the throttle was hung wide open. We saw Lasoski blowing smoke and we were blowing smoke, too. It does something to your mindset when you know you've lost some control. It was just one of those unfortunate situations.
"We're trying to build this team up, and we've been consistent, but we're better than a top-10 team. These next two weeks are going to help us. Hopefully, we'll get some motors back together so we can go out and race for the championship. We'll put a motor we ran at Tulare in for Saturday night. We've got to get to where we've got strong engines every night. If we pull one out, we need to put one in that's as good as the one we pulled out. (Team owner) Larry (Woodward) has given us an opportunity, and the guys are working hard. We're all putting in 120% effort, but it's things like this that set you back. We'll step it up though. Our goal is to not accept anything less than a top-five finish. We're confident we can run for the championship. We just have to change top-10s to top-fives."
Tatnell will have another opportunity to drive the #2 Volcano Joe's Schnee into the top five Saturday in the Cactus Classic at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix.