Tatnell Runs Ninth in Woodward Racing Debut BARBERVILLE, FL (February 9) -- Just 16 hours after completing a transcontinental flight from his native Australia, Brooke Tatnell made his debut in Woodward Racing's ...
Tatnell Runs Ninth in Woodward Racing Debut
BARBERVILLE, FL (February 9) -- Just 16 hours after completing a transcontinental flight from his native Australia, Brooke Tatnell made his debut in Woodward Racing's #2 Volcano Joe's Schnee in the World of Outlaws' 2007 season opener -- the 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop -- at Volusia Speedway Park.
Although the only Australian driver to win a World of Outlaws "A" Feature will be the first to admit he wasn't at his best, Tatnell raced past seven cars to finish ninth in the feature race.
"We arrived at 2 o'clock Friday morning," Tatnell said. "We didn't get to bed until 4 o'clock, and it was 7 o'clock when we got up. I guess you could say we were 'out of the box' -- but when you're as excited as we are about racing, you give it your best no matter what.
"It was a decent start to the year, considering we're not as organized as we'd like to be. The time frame has been tough for us, so running in the top 10 on opening night is pretty good. If 10th is our worst result, I'll be happy. We'll take top 10s this weekend, but we expect to run in the top five every night later in the year.
"It (the Woodward Racing debut) wasn't too bad. There was something going on with the (#2's) frame, but there's no guarantee every time you put together a racecar it's going to be 100% right."
Tatnell, among the drivers in hot laps, was the 14th-fastest qualifier with a 130.643 M.P.H. lap around Volusia's semi-banked, ½-mile oval. His 13.778-second lap was only .26 seconds off the pace set by fast-qualifier Cody Darrah.
Starting next to "King of the Outlaws" Steve Kinser on the front row of the star-studded Second Heat Race that also included 2006 DIRTcar Nationals winner Joey Saldana, defending World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz, 1999 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Tim Shaffer and fellow Australian Kerry Madsen, Brooke was a split-second quick on the accelerator and was penalized to the second row.
"The only thing we did wrong all night was jump the start in the heat race," Tatnell said. "That put us back a row on the start and probably kept us from starting in the first four rows in the feature, but we just made the best of what could have been a bad situation. We'll just come back tonight and try to charge through again."
Tatnell's fourth-place finish in the Second Heat Race gave him the opportunity to start next to Kinser again -- outside the eighth row -- in the 25-lap main event.
"We started in the middle of the field, which shows just how tough the competition is," Brooke said. "We were able to charge toward the front though. He (Kinser) and I were together all night long. We got to racing each other hard; this level of competition is all about racing hard."
Tatnell raced into 12th place during the opening lap, passing Kinser, Paul McMahan, Greg Hodnett and Brad Sweet. He drove the #2 Volcano Joe's Schnee past 2006 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Chad Kemenah five laps later, then challenged "The King of the Outlaws" for 10th place during laps 6-11. Kinser surged into ninth place midway through the race, only to have Tatnell regain the position with a 15th-lap pass.