Brooke Tatnell confirms place among 11 Aussies at Knoxville Nationals
Australian Sprintcar Champion, Brooke Tatnell has confirmed he will take part in the unofficial World Championship of Sprintcar Racing – the Goodyear Knoxville Nationals, which get underway this Thursday morning Australian time (Wednesday night American).
Tatnell – who just a week ago was looking likely to sit on the sidelines – came to a last minute agreement with car owner, J.D. Johnson and renowned Crew Chief and car owner, Guy Forbrook to race in the event.
He raced in the car on Sunday night in the ‘Capitani Classic’ at Knoxville, setting quickest time and finishing 20th.
“There is no other guy here that I would rather race with than Guy Forbrook,” Tatnell said of the wheelchair bound Forbrook after setting the pole time on Sunday night. “If you’re going to go around here you need to do it with the best and he’s one of the best at Knoxville. The car has so much power, I just need to hang onto the thing.”
The Missouri-based Sydney-sider was in doubt until being thrown the lifeline by the Johnson/Forbrook combination after damaging the 410ci motor that he runs in his regular, privately run 1AU ride. He is expected to line-up in the Thursday evening (US time) qualifiers.
In total, Australia will be represented at the Nationals with 11 entries within the 100 strong field vying for the $US 1 million purse on offer.
New South Wales makes up the bulk of the Australian entries, led by Tatnell and World of Outlaws regular, Kerry Madsen. Madsen – with the West Australian owned Keneric Racing machine underneath him and ex-pat Australian Rob Hart tuning the car – has been running consistently in the top 10 in the Outlaws throughout 2012 and is the highest placed Australian ever at the Nationals with his fifth placing in 2010.
The St. Marys native will line up in the star-studded Wednesday evening (Thursday morning Australian time) qualifiers. Joining him will be Lynton Jeffrey – who currently sits seventh in the Knoxville Raceway 410ci Track Championship, another Sydney racer in Marty Perovich making his now annual trek to the home of Sprintcar racing, emerging Sydney racer, Glen Saville, largely unheralded West Australian Trevor Reynolds and the venerable Western Sydney-sider, Bruce White.
A further four Aussies will take part in Thursday night’s (Friday morning Australian time) qualification event.
Young Queenslander, James McFadden who has taken the American scene by storm since arriving there less than two weeks ago, is arguably the strongest placed Australian on the second qualifying night.
Getting his first view of Knoxville on Sunday night, McFadden gave a great account of himself and by coming through the first B-Main, was able to get plenty of track time around the daunting half mile, finishing 17th in the A-Main. The lack of experience on the unforgiving Marion County Fairgrounds should not count against the youngster – it is to be remembered that he set the quickest time on debut in a stacked World Series Sprintcars field at Victoria’s Premier Speedway, Warrnambool.
He is joined by Ian Madsen – who has been once again basing himself at the Knoxville Raceway during the Australian winter. The younger Madsen sits sixth in the Knoxville Raceway Track Championship – not too far from the Championship lead.
Young Victorian, Jamie Veal could spring a surprise among the Australian contingent. From a family with a rich heritage in the sport, Veal warmed up for the Nationals with a berth in the 360ci Nationals and the Capitani Classic aboard the Oval Express/Premier Speedway machine. Another Victorian in Domain Ramsay will complete the Australian line-up on Thursday night.
On paper, the Wednesday night field would appear to be the toughest of both qualifying nights. The Aussies will have to contend with five times and defending Champion, Donny Schatz, 12 times Knoxville Champion, Steve Kinser and current Outlaws points leader, Craig Dollansky.
Having said that, Thursday’s field is no less stacked with talent.
It is headlined by four times Champion, Danny Lasoski and the cantankerous 1983 Champion, Sammy Swindell. Twice World of Outlaws Champion, Jason Meyers and 2005 winner, Kraig Kinser will line-up, so too multiple Knoxville Track Champion, Terry McCarl and the always exciting Tyler Walker.
Friday night (Saturday Australian time) features the $10,000 to win traditional Speed Sport World Challenge, where drivers have qualified through the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Warrnambool and other events in North America.
Saturday night is made up with the ‘alphabet run’ from the E-Main right through to the $150,000 to win Championship Main Event.
Live audio webcast will be available from local Knoxville Station KNIA-KRLS via www.kniakrls.com or video at http://knoxville.turn2media.com.