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Donny Schatz continues to add to his legendary resume at the Knoxville Raceway, as he took his tenth career championship in the 57th Annual 5-hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores Saturday night at the Knoxville Raceway. It was the tenth win in twelve years for the Fargo, North Dakota driver, and his eighth aboard the Tony Stewart Racing #15. The win was worth $150,000 and added to the stuff of legends for Donny at Knoxville.
David Gravel, who entered on the pole in the 50-lapper with his perfect score from Thursday night, led early over Schatz and Kerry Madsen. By lap six, he was in lapped traffic. Gravel maneuvered it well, but Schatz stayed close. On the sixteenth lap, Schatz would briefly take the point on the backstretch, but Gravel battled back by.
On lap 19, Austin McCarl went up in smoke, bringing the first caution of the event. Gravel led Schatz, Madsen, Brad Sweet and Brian Brown back to green flag racing. Defending champion, Jason Johnson came from 21st into the top ten by lap 20. His momentum was slowed on lap 22, when Gravel would lose a motor while leading.
The disappointment for the Connecticut driver gave the lead to Schatz. Kyle Larson also inherited a top five spot, and drove by Brown and Sweet for third on the restart. A caution for Terry McCarl, who slowed after getting into the turn three wall, slowed things again.
At that point, the mandatory stop was implemented. After the pause, Schatz led Madsen, Larson, Sweet and Shane Stewart back to green. Madsen took a shot at the leader, but a slider in turn two fell short, allowing Larson to cruise by into second. While Schatz led Larson, Madsen and Stewart, Sweet and Brown exchanged the fifth spot several times.
A final yellow flag flew with twelve laps to go for Greg Hodnett, who stopped in turn four. It erased a 2.2 second lead for Schatz. Back in clean air, Schatz was strong up front. With five laps to go, he entered lapped traffic again. With several cars side by side in front of him, Larson would close.
On the white flag lap, Larson would make a sliding attempt in turn three that would fall short. Schatz would win his tenth Nationals ahead of Larson, Madsen, Stewart and Sweet. Brown, Aaron Reutzel, Rico Abreu, Daryn Pittman and Ian Madsen rounded out the top ten. Rager Phillips won the E main, Jamie Veal won the D, James McFadden claimed the C, and Jason Sides emerged victorious in a highly competitive B main.
Schatz’s crew chief Ricky Warner received Crew Chief of the Nationals honors, taking home a Craftsman Tool Box. Reutzel was the Hard-charger, earning a Max Pappis steering wheel. TheCushion.com awarded $500 to Rookie of the Nationals Dominic Scelzi. Ian Madsen’s KCP Racing #18 was awarded “Best Appearing Car”, followed by Terry McCarl and David Gravel. Best Appearing Crew went to Jason Johnson, followed by Ian Madsen and Harli White.
“I did everything I could to get by (in traffic)," said Schatz in Victory Lane. "That's how it works some days. You can't frustrated by it. You have to figure out what to do. I was off the pace, I knew someone would be coming (at the end of the race). Kyle normally finds everything there is in a race car. You got to stay on your toes with him. He's an awesome sprint car driver. It stinks that he has another career to deal with. I'm just glad that he's part of the sport and still comes back. We're glad to get this win. It's incredible. This whole race team is incredible with what they do. We just won the Knoxville Nationals!"
"That was a fun, tough race," said Larson. "We had some good restarts and got to second. We were maintaining pace with him. We were just waiting for lapped traffic. I knew he'd be good in lapped traffic, but I figured there might be a couple times when he wouldn't clear somebody and get tight. The times he got tight, I got tight on the cushion. It was still a heck of a race. I hammered the wall coming off four coming for the white. I feel that if I hadn't done that, I could have gotten a run and maybe cleared him in two. I just made a costly mistake and ended up second. It was still a good race for (car owner/crew chief) Paul (Silva) and I. We still had fun. Thanks to the fans for talking to Chip (Ganassi) and helping us come out."
"I think I had a really good car to contend for the victory," said Kerry Madsen beside the Tod Quiring #2M. "In traffic, I thought I had a better car than the two cars in front. I thought, 'No worries', we usually get to traffic in those deals. Then the caution would come out. I thought I had a shot at him on the restart (after the stoppage). I figured if he left the door open, I was going to go for it. Unfortunately, that cost me second. I was on Kyle's rear the whole way, but I was never close enough to make a move. I just want to thank my team for working so hard."
E main, (started), 10 Laps, 2:42.3: 1. 22, Rager Phillips, Pleasantville, IA, (2); 2. 9Z, Jared Goerges, Brainerd, MN, (4); 3. 13V, Seth Brahmer, Norfolk, NE, (3); 4. 19L, Todd King, Sheboygan Falls, WI, (1); 5. 83C, Adam Cruea, Troy, OH, (6); 6. 9X, Jake Bubak, Arvada, CO, (9); / 7. 12W, Josh Walter, Plymouth, WI, (5); 8. 13, Clyde Knipp, California, MO, (7); 9. 1P, Curtis Evans, Norborne, MO (8); DNS: 1B, Dustin Selvage, Indianola, IA; 71A, R.J. Johnson, Tampa, FL; 17M, Max McGhee, Camby, IN; 67X, Parker Price-Miller, Kokomo, IN; 4X, Dakota Hendrickson, Omaha, NE; X1, Mason Moore, Chico, CA; 10V, Kyle Reinhardt, Neptune City, NJ; 9C, Roger Campbell, Clyde, OH; 2MM, Matt Moro, Polk City, IA;
D main, (started), 12 Laps, NT: 1. 35V, Jamie Veal, Warrnambool, VIC, Aust. (3); 2. 81, Lee Jacobs, Dalton, OH, (1); 3. 1M, Danny Lasoski, Dover, MO, (4); 4. 68, Chase Johnson, Penngrove, CA, (2); 5. 56N, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN, (8); / 6. 7W, Tasker Phillips, Pleasantville, IA, (6); 7. 3P, Sawyer Phillips, Pleasantville, IA, (5); 8. 99G, Skylar Gee, Leduc, Alb., Can. (9); 9. 5J, Jeremy Schultz, Beaver Dam, WI, (13); 10. 70, Clint Garner, Sioux Falls, S.D., (11); 11. 17W, Harli White, Lindsay, OK, (10); 12. 95, Matt Covington, Glenpool, OK, (7); 13. 44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA, (12); 14. 9N, Wade Nygaard, Grand Forks, ND, (18); 15. 19 Paige Polyak, Tiffin, OH, (17); 16. 15M, Bobby Mincer, Burlington, IA, (14); 17. 9X, Jake Bubak, Arvada, CO, (24); 18. 8H, Jason Kendrick, Perth, WA, Aust., (16); 19. 9Z, Jared Goerges, Brainerd, MN, (20); 20. 19L, Todd King, Sheboygan Falls, WI, (22); 21. 85, Chase Wanner, Agency, IA, (15); 22. 83C, Adam Cruea, Troy, OH, (23); 23. 13V, Seth Brahmer, Norfolk, NE, (21); 24. 22, Rager Phillips, Pleasantville, IA, (19); DNS: 23W, Scott Winters, Butterfield, MN; 26, Taylor Malsam, Seattle, WA;
C main, (started), 15 Laps, 4:12.0: 1. 3, James McFadden, Ormeau, QLD, Aust. (4); 2. 99, Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK, (2); 3. 17B, Bill Balog, Hartland, WI, (1); 4. 17, Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, OH, (6); / 5. 15H, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Sunnyvale, TX, (8); 6. 84, Scott Bogucki, McLaren Vale, SA, Aust. (7); 7. 12N, Cole Duncan, Lockbourne, OH, (3); 8. 71, Kevin Thomas Jr., Cullman, AL, (13); 9. 94, Jeff Swindell, Bartlett, TN, (5); 10. 1Z, Dale Blaney, Hartford, OH, (12); 11. W20, Greg Wilson, Benton Ridge, OH, (16); 12. 35V, Jamie Veal, Warrnambool, VIC, Aust. (20); 13. 12, Lynton Jeffrey, Sydney, NSW, Aust. (10); 14. 3G, Carson Macedo, Lemoore, CA, (11); 15. 53, Jack Dover, Springfield, NE, (14); 16. 49J, Josh Schneiderman, West Burlington, IA, (19); 17. 17X, Josh Baughman, Odessa, TX (17); 18. 56N, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN, (24); 19. 68, Chase Johnson, Penngrove, CA, (23); 20. 21AU, Jordyn Brazier, Maroochydore, QLD, Aust. (18); 21. 1X, Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, NE, (15); 22. 81, Lee Jacobs, Dalton, OH, (21); 23. 1M, Danny Lasoski, Dover, MO, (22); 24. 00, Dane Lorenc, Lancaster, NY, (9); DNS: 1, Thomas Kennedy, Winnipeg, MB, Can.
B main, (started), 22 Laps, NT: 1. 7s, Jason Sides, Bartlett, TN, (3); 2. 49X, Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA, (8); 3. 55, Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust. (14); 4. 44S, Trey Starks, Puyallup, WA, (2); / 5. 24W, Lucas Wolfe, Mechanicsburg, PA, (5); 6. 10H, Chad Kemenah, Alvada, OH, (11); 7. 83, Justin Henderson, Tea, SD, (1); 8. 14B, Christopher Bell, Norman, OK, (6); 9. 29, Danny Dietrich, Gettysburg, PA, (7); 10. 82, Dusty Zomer, Sioux Falls, SD, (4); 11. 3K, Tim Kaeding, San Jose, CA, (15); 12. 11K, Kraig Kinser, Bloomington, IN, (17); 13. 51, Joey Saldana, Brownsburg, IN, (19); 14. 99, Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK (22); 15. 1A, Jacob Allen, Hanover, PA, (18); 16. 41S, Dominic Scelzi, Fresno, CA, (10); 17. 93, Sheldon Haudenschild, Wooster, OH, (13); 18. 09, Matt Juhl, Tea, S.D., (9); 19. 17, Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, OH, (24); 20. 19, Brent Marks, Myerstown, PA, (20); 21. 17B, Bill Balog, Hartland, WI, (23); 22. 39, Spencer Bayston, Lebanon, IN, (12); 23. 3, James McFadden, Ormeau, QLD, Aust., (21); 24. 3S, Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN (16);
A main, (started), 50 Laps, NT: 1. 15, Donny Schatz, Fargo, N.D. (2); 2. 57, Kyle Larson, Elk Grove, CA, (9); 3. 2M, Kerry Madsen, St. Marys, NSW, Aust. (4); 4. 2, Shane Stewart, Bixby, OK, (10); 5. 49, Brad Sweet, Grass Valley, CA, (3); 6. 21, Brian Brown, Grain Valley, MO, (5); 7. 87, Aaron Reutzel, Clute, TX, (19); 8. 24R, Rico Abreu, St. Helena, CA, (14); 9. 9, Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK, (7); 10. 18, Ian Madsen, St. Marys, NSW, Aust. (15); 11. 41, Jason Johnson, Eunice, LA, (17); 12. 13JT, Mark Dobmeier, Grand Forks, N.D. (13); 13. 4, Paul McMahan, Nashville, TN, (12); 14. 55, Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust. (23); 15. 24, Terry McCarl, Altoona, IA, (6); 16. 7S, Jason Sides, Bartlett, TN, (21); 17. 5H, Cory Eliason, Selma, CA, (20); 18. 44, Trey Starks, Puyallup, WA, (24); 19. 27, Greg Hodnett, Spring Grove, CA, (8); 20. 1S, Logan Schuchart, Hanover, PA, (18); 21. 5, David Gravel, Watertown, CT, (1); 22. 2KS, Austin McCarl, Altoona, IA, (11); 23. 2C, Wayne Johnson, Oklahoma City, OK, (16); 24. 49X, Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA, (22); Lap Leaders: Gravel 1-22, Schatz 23-50; Hard Charger: Reutzel
Following on from Highline Magazine’s article on Sprintcar title eligibility, We’re interested in your thoughts.
Today we’re conducting a poll on the hottest subject in Australian Speedway. “Should the Australian Sprintcar Title be open to ALL Competitors?”
Please have your say as we’d really appreciate it.
This poll has now closed.
92.3% were in favor
6.2% were not
1.5% were unsure.
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More exciting news for Mount Panorama this afternoon with the Federal Government announcing an investment of $10 million to the development of a second circuit.
Bringing the total to $25 million in funding so far and another step closer to the start of the project.
Although the funding is at $25 million its still a long way short of the required amount to get the project off the ground.
We will keep you posted.
Supercars drivers Fabian Coulthard and Simona De Silvestro are eager to tackle a night race at Sydney Motorsport Park next year after a special test under lights this evening.
The #12 Shell V-Power Ford and #78 Harvey Norman Nissan completed just under 30 minutes of night running at the Western Sydney venue.
Supercars will now debrief with the drivers and analyse the television footage captured ahead of a potential night event next year.
Temporary light towers were placed at turn 2 for the test and will be moved to other areas of the track later this evening for further running with the category’s Vodafone Safety Car.
The Safety Car was also on track with the two Supercars, driven by Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport's Alex Davison.
“The areas where it was lit up were awesome," Coulthard told Supercars Media after the run.
“We could have a few less shadows, but I think for the purpose of the experiment it was definitely worthwhile.
“It’s a new spectacle and it’s a great circuit to do it. It’s good viewing for the fans and I think the cars look fantastic under lights. I think it (a night race) will be a great spectacle.”
De Silvestro has experience racing IndyCars on ovals under lights and says it’s relatively easy for drivers to adapt to night conditions.
“It’s hard (to judge) because we only had one corner but I think the lighting was quite good,”
Australian solp star Troy Batchelor is gutted to see his UK season “cut short through spite” as he faces an uncertain future in Britain following his shock sacking by King’s Lynn on Monday.
The Norfolk-based man was given his marching orders along with 2012 world champion Chris Holder following Stars’ farcical meeting against Poole on July 13, which saw the home riders take issue with track conditions, with Holder copping a 28-day UK ban for allegedly refusing to race in two heats.
Batchelor withdrew from the meeting after crashing in heat six with the medical staff concerned he had suffered a wrist injury. He underwent hospital checks, which revealed it was nothing more than ligament damage and swelling, allowing him to fulfil a guest booking for Swindon at Belle Vue the next day.
His withdrawal and decision to race in Manchester drew criticism in some quarters, and Stars owner Keith Chapman dumped Holder and Batchelor, seeking to build “a team full of riders with a good, positive attitude towards the club and towards the sport in general.”
Batchelor is fuming to have been left jobless just days after the SGB Premiership transfer window closed last Friday.
With no chance of securing a spot for the rest of the season, his UK visa could be in jeopardy, leaving him facing the possibility of being deported and barred from riding in Britain for 12 months.
The Queenslander, who owns a home in the UK, believes he didn’t deserve to be left on the shelf, fearing for his future. He said: “Hopefully I’ll know a little more today, but my future is uncertain and if I don’t have a team place, I might have to go home, which is obviously quite unfair in my opinion.
“I don’t really see what I have done wrong to deserve being dropped. I haven’t said anything bad about the club. I have been the top scorer in the team most meetings. I have moved from No.4 to No.1, taken over that role and been scoring well at No.1.
“If I’m not trying, how am I No.1? How have I put two points on my average? Tell me that.
“I feel quite upset. If Buster had called me on Thursday and said ‘we’re getting rid of you.’ I would have said ‘okay, that’s fine’ and jumped on the phone to someone else.
“I can pretty much guarantee I would have ended up somewhere like Poole – a club desperate for riders at the moment. There are plenty of spaces available, so the manner with which it has been dealt with is quite unprofessional.
“I raced for Buster in 2005, 2006 and last year. Where’s the loyalty? I haven’t said anything bad about the club or anyone. I held on to my tongue when I read Buster’s statements. It’s not just that one statement where he has been aiming it towards certain people. It’s quite disappointing really.
“I’m mostly disappointed in not having the chance to go to another club. Finding out you’ve lost your job after the cut-off date could cost me my visa. There is still plenty of time left in the season, but my season has been cut short through spite.”
The 29-year-old was also disappointed with what he feels was a lack of communication from Chapman over the issues at the club.
He said: “I didn’t have anything bad to say really. Things don’t always go smoothly at every track or workplace. We had a few problems with the track, but I was ready to work on stuff with everybody.
“If Buster had some problems or concerns about me, and I don’t know what he is thinking, I’m only a phone call away.
“The only phone call I’ve received from Buster this year was on Monday when he told me he was taking me out of the one-to-seven. That’s the only time he has spoken to me this year.”
Batchelor was also set to miss Stars’ home clash with Rye House on July 19 due to fears over a possible broken scaphoid after he crashed while guesting for Swindon at Leicester two days earlier.
Despite claims to the contrary, he insists his withdrawal from the Pirates fixture was a genuine injury concern, and he was issued a medical certificate when he was forced out.
He said: “In heat six, I crashed. I was on a 5-1 with Thomas Jorgensen and we knew the conditions weren’t great before that. We were out on a 5-1 and I was waving to him to slow down. I was on the outside and he was on the inside.
“We did about three laps and then coming around the third and fourth corner on to the last lap, he passed me and so did Paul Starke. Then they both crashed on the next corner. I crashed into them.
“The track was that grippy I couldn’t even lay the bike down. It was a really awkward crash because I was trying to go down, but couldn’t. I ended up straightening up and hitting the fence. I kind of rolled my wrist backwards really awkwardly.
“I went into the ambulance and saw the medical crew. They were worried the wrist might be hurt and they wanted me to pull out of the meeting.
“I got them to give me a couple of minutes to ice it and see how it felt. It was quite shaky and sore. I couldn’t squeeze the handlebars, so they pulled me out of the meeting and told me to get it checked out, which I did the following day.
“Nothing was broken; it was just ligament damage and swelling to my thumb and first three fingers. It was the whole hand.
“I had a guest booking already from Swindon at Belle Vue. I’d had it booked in for ages, so I thought ‘why not? It’s a good track up there and if it’s a good track, it’s a lot easier to hold on.’”
While Batchelor had withdrawn from the Pirates meeting, he backs his former team mates for expressing their worries over track conditions.
He said: “I stand by everybody. If I wasn’t withdrawn from the meeting, it would have been me standing up with them. I back everybody 100 percent. It was all the guys – it wasn’t just one particular guy.
“Chris is the one who copped the brunt of it and it maybe is a little bit unfair to him. It wasn’t just him. Everyone was taking a stand and rightly so because the track conditions weren’t right.
“There are seven of us there. I have been racing since I was five and that’s nearly 25 years. With Chris and the other guys in the team, that’s a lot of experience and trophies between all of us. Our opinion should count for something.”
Finding out you’ve lost your job after the cut-off date could cost me my visa. There is still plenty of time left in the season, but my season has been cut short through spite.