By Lee Elder
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Aug. 14, 2010) – Tim Shaffer won the 50th Goodyear Knoxville Nationals presented by Lucas Oil with a finish fit for the Golden running of the world’s most prestigious sprint car race at Knoxville Raceway.
Shaffer slid in front of Donny Schatz’ smoking machine to take the lead with two laps remaining and won the $150,000 winner’s share of the purse for the race around the famed half mile Knoxville oval.
Schatz finished second, followed by Shane Stewart, Craig Dollansky and Kerry Madsen. Dollansky started 24th after advancing to the main event through the B Main. Madsen started 11th.
“To take the checkered flag at the Knoxville Nationals is an indescribable feeling,” Shaffer said.
Goodyear is the Official Tiremaker at Knoxville Raceway. The race was 50 laps, 10 laps longer than usual and the race was run with a break just past halfway.
“I put new tires on the car (at the break),” Shaffer said. “I couldn’t decide whether to change the tires because the car was getting faster and faster. (His crew chief) said, ‘No, we’re going to change them,’ and we did.”
Shaffer started the second half of the event in fourth place behind Sammy Swindell, Schatz and Steve Kinser. Shaffer was still fourth when the drama began with four laps to go.
“What a historic night of racing,” said Goodyear marketing manager Justin Fantozzi. “They raced high, low and in the middle. I want to thank our engineering staff, our logistics folks, and Compeitition Tire West for all of their efforts. Also a special thanks to Graham Tire for their involvement; truely bringing to fruition the phrase of racing everyday to win customers everyday. There are a lot of components that have to come together to have such a successful event.”
Swindell, who led most of the race, crashed in turn four. Schatz was leading when the race restarted, but his car had started trailing smoke. Sensing his chance to capture the biggest race of his career, Shaffer charged after the stricken Schatz and grabbed the lead, sliding in front of Schatz as they rushed toward the final two laps.
Schatz said, “I don’t know if I burned the motor up racing Sammy, but I just couldn’t go (at the end). Tim deserved to win that race. He was smart with his tires and smart with his car.”
Officially, Swindell led the first 44 laps. Schatz led lap 45 before Swindell got back in front for two laps, then Schatz led the 48th circuit and Shaffer led the final two trips around the Knoxville venue. The final frantic laps were run on the slippery, knife’s edge of control.
“The tires were awesome,” Shaffer said. “I could run them anywhere I wanted.”
The top three finishers used Goodyear’s G100 tread compound, the softest of the sprint car compounds offered by Goodyear.
More information about Goodyear Racing is available at www.racegoodyear.com. More information about the 50th Goodyear Knoxville Nationals is available at www.knoxvilleraceway.com.